Running rivers in Namibia, far from the sand dunes of the Skeleton Coast

While most travelers to Namibia head for the Skeleton Coast and world-highest sand dunes, Tim Johnson takes his chances on a trip along the Zambezi, Okavango, Kwando and Chobe rivers.

All was calm and peaceful—eerily quiet, you could say—before the hippos came for us. Sliding into the soft mud and tall grasses on the right bank of the Kwando River, a semicircle forms quietly, conspiratorially, the heads of these gray beasts lurking just above the water line.

Almost cartoonishly ill-tempered, hippos are huge, and irritable by nature. And these ones, a half-dozen or so in total, snorting and shooting water from their nostrils and yawning—all signs of aggression, according to our guide and boat-driver Higlee—are slowly closing the circle, striding toward us, their mighty, semi-aquatic legs unseen below the murky waters.

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This survival school can help you survive the Australian wilderness

If you’ve ever watched those survival shows on TV and thought, “That looks easy”, you are wrong. Oliver Pelling went on a survival course deep in the Australian bush—and technically died twice.

Janna is swearing at me. She doesn’t think I’ve been following the coordinates properly. I don’t think I have either. I have led us into the mouth of Peril itself, and Peril is hungry.

I try and focus on my compass. We are deep in a particularly obnoxious part of the Victorian bush, fighting our way through thick and prickly scrubland. It’s cold and sunset is fast approaching, which means we’re nearly in a not-insignificant amount of trouble. To make matters worse, I’m beginning to feel a bit peckish.

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In search of the alternative Big Five: A Swedish seafood safari

Is this the maritime version of the Serengeti? Our featured contributor Lola Akinmade Åkerström tracks down Sweden’s own ‘Big Five’ on a seafood safari and follows her dinner from the ocean to her plate.

Martin looks over his shoulder to make sure we have properly braced ourselves as we stand scattered on the back hull of his weathered fishing trawler. Huddled alongside his cargo of about two dozen wooden fish traps were a handful of travelers, me included, donning bright yellow fishermen’s jackets and rain pants we’d borrowed from his fishing shed.

Despite our costume attempts, we clearly looked out of place on his rustic boat. With a grin of amusement, local fisherman Martin Olofsson pulled us further away from Smögen, a postcard-perfect fishing village where he has been running Smögens Fiske & Skärgårdsturer for decades alongside his father, Tommy.

The Olofsson family history of fishing dates back to the 1700s and they mostly harvest crayfish and langoustines from the depths of one of the world’s cleanest water sources—the North Atlantic Ocean, also known as the North Sea.

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A very memorable day on a very unremarkable hike

A day’s walking isn’t just about that one panoramic view; it’s all the little things and thoughts that make it unique and unrepeatable. Leon McCarron slows down and charts a day’s hike, in all its miniscule, minor and molecular detail.

Perhaps it’s the early light that wakes me, filtering in and diffracted through tent fabric. Or maybe it’s the dawn chorus that rises and falls outside, at once deafening yet so easy to miss if one isn’t listening. Both are gentle nudges into morning; tranquil, calm. I roll over, onto a large rock under my sleeping bag and swear loudly to myself.

The peace is gone.

The morning routine is second nature by now; outside to pee, back inside for coffee in the (tent) porch, granola and milk in a steel pot, raspberries on top. Then, pack my sleeping bag and camping mat, pile everything else in on top of them in the pack and finally, bring down the tent.

Mornings here are fresh. A light wind blows and the birds have stopped serenading. There’s a brief moment of assessments: Do I need sunglasses yet? Is it cold enough for a second layer? And finally: movement. I’m off, boots laced and soles on the trail. I clean my teeth as I walk. I enjoy the efficiency and minimalism of it all; I relish the ritualism. It is another day on the road.

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A Welsh colony in Patagonia? Yes. Welcome to the Welsh Wild West

Thanks to an intrepid group of Welsh explorers setting sail from their homeland in 1865, a small slice of Argentinean Patagonia will forever be Wales. John Malathronas investigates.

A sign in Spanish hangs on a Monterrey pine: “Malacara, let your memory live with my heirs”. Clery Evans—one of those heirs—points at a corralled grave, the focal point of a large, landscaped garden.

I look down and read: “Here lie the remains of my horse Malacara that saved my life during an Indian attack in the Valley of the Martyrs on 4-3-84 as I was returning from the cordillera.”

Yes, despite the presence of Monterrey pines, I’m not in California. Although I’m surrounded by a well-tended lawn, I’m nowhere near the home shires. I’m in the small town of Trevelin high up in the Argentine Andes and, well, this is the grave of a horse.

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Forget Whistler, this is Tajikistan’s untouched, off-piste playground

For a skiing expedition with a twist, adventurer Huw Kingston journeyed to Tajikistan’s remote Fann Mountains, where you’re more likely to spy untouched glaciers than you are any other travelers. Because there are none.

“Fancy skiing in the Fann Mountains?” my friend Dave asked me. “Doesn’t seem like anybody ever has.”

I’m not very good at saying no.

Fast forward a few months and a long-haul flight later, and we find ourselves at Dushanbe airport, loading our ski bags and packs into two small, beat-up cars that were neither Uber nor taxi. You are perhaps at your most vulnerable arriving at the airport in a new country at an ungodly hour.

With the streets of Dushanbe deserted, our drivers are free to put the pedal to the literal metal, and they race to deposit us, at the first hint of dawn, to Hotel Tajikistan, to sleep off our jetlag.

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Stressed? Landscape photography could help you relax

Landscape photography is more than just capturing beautiful images—it’s a way to re-connect with nature and get a little headspace in a fast-moving digital world, says Graeme Green.

“Photography is, for me, about being outside and experiencing the planet,” photographer Antony Spencer says. “It’s about experiencing places and feeling like you can still get lost in a world.”

In the digital age of smartphones and social media, where it can feel like every inch of the planet has been snapped and shared, it is still possible to get ‘lost’ and find unique locations to produce original photographs. Spencer, who won the prestigious Landscape Photographer of the Year award back in 2010, travels around the world, from Cornwall to Colorado, often guiding tours to little known corners.

Over the years, previously ‘unexplored’ areas of Norway and Iceland have, he says, started to become more popular with photographers, pushing him towards lesser known locations in Greenland, or using helicopters to access tourist-free glaciers and river deltas in Iceland. “One of the reasons I was drawn to landscapes is because I have a major fascination with the outside world,” says Spencer. “It’s also a chance to slow down in a world that is so fast-paced. The world changes all the time, perhaps not always for the better. Having a chance to slow down is more and more important.”

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