The Gambia Experience has launched its new brochure marking 32 years of operation to West Africa. Offering the widest choice of UK flights, with a flying time of around 6 hours between London and Banjul, the operator presents an extensive collection of holidays and adventures enabling visitors to experience more than simply the country's sunshine and golden sands.
Catering for all tastes and budgets, accommodation ranges from value beach hotels, all-inclusive and spa resorts to indulgent luxury hideaways, floating river lodges, wildlife and nature reserves within Luxury, Unique and Classic collections. Boat trips, overland excursions and home cooking days in a typical Gambian household are among experiences available through the company for private parties and groups.
Key locations to observe species of exotic birds and wildlife are included – from hotel gardens, nature reserves, the riverside or in the African bush, guided tours can be tailored for a minimum of two people.
To further showcase the region's waterways, The Gambia Experience has added a Rivers of West Africa mega yacht cruise, with four and seven-night itineraries departing early 2020 from Banjul.
For a memorable safari experience observing game, the company presents Fathala Wildlife Reserve in neighbouring Senegal, offering day trips and overnight stays or longer.
Featured hotels in beach resorts of north and south Senegal are now integrated within Gambia hotel collections and can provide a perfect add-on to a Gambia holiday or, as a stand-alone holiday with flights in and out of Dakar.
The Gambia Experience's product manager Karen Durham commented: “Capturing this colourful country through our collection of holidays, excursions and tours we can provide our customers with the perfect introduction to unspoiled Africa. We are thrilled to present some great multi-centre options alongside holiday extensions and excursion opportunities, including a Rivers of West Africa Cruise which adds another dimension to our exciting range of experiences."
More information at www.gambia.co.uk
Land of the Giants
At least twenty mountains in the St. Elias Range exceed 4,000 metres, a few exceed 5,000 metres, but towering over them all is Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak at 5,959 metres.
Then there's the mighty Yukon River stretching for over 1,800 miles.
Vast regions, varied ecosystems and relatively sparse human population make the Yukon a haven for some of North America's most impressive species - grizzly and black bears, wolves, caribou, moose, muskox and millions of migratory birds.
Almost 80% of the Yukon remains pristine wilderness with just over 10% of the territory fully protected.
All three North American bears: black, grizzly and polar are found in the Yukon, but you are much more likely to see a black bear than a grizzly. Black bears live in forested areas, but grizzly bears range from southern forested areas and across the tundra to the Arctic Ocean. Polar bears are seen on the North Slope and Herschel Island. The Yukon grizzly bear population is one of Canada's largest and most stable in North America and the Alsek River corridor in Kluane National Park UNESCO World Heritage Site has been designated a special preservation area. Shorter summers in the north mean that grizzlies must be as efficient as possible in preparing for their long winter hibernation. In the Yukon, grizzlies depend on thick crops of berries and seasonal runs of salmon to fatten up. In an autumn feeding frenzy, a grizzly can eat 200,000 berries in a single day!
Whether you're an ardent birder or a casual wildlife watcher, the Yukon's flyway comes alive as trumpeter swans, geese, sandhill cranes and other migratory birds travel to and from nesting grounds. Birders converge in the Yukon to search for species including harlequin duck, northern hawk owl, wandering tattler, gyrfalcon and three kinds of ptarmigan.
Yukon is also home to approximately 130,000 – 150,000 caribou in one of North America's last remaining large animal herds. The herd was nominated as one of the seven wonders of Canada a few years ago.
Although the Yukon offers some of Canada's most accessible wilderness, civilisation is never far away in one of the Yukon's ten communities. It also enjoys a culture of rich northern tradition and First Nation (native) customs and beliefs.
Fancy a visit? See Canadian Sky and Wildlife Worldwide
Kluane National Park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and largest internationally protected area on the planet. It is home to the largest non-polar icefields in the world and 17 of Canada's 20 tallest mountains including Mount Logan, Canada's highest peak. Ancient glaciers feed the Alsek River that flows through the sprawling Alsek Valley and dall sheep, mountain goats, caribou, wolves, grizzlies and black bears roam the massive park.
Flightseeing tours are a quick way to get deep into the park. Land and step out onto a glacier to take in the vast surroundings. Some adventurers experience Kluane by rafting a Canadian Heritage River to see grizzlies, eagles and glaciers. Paddling Kathleen Lake which has campsites, a day-use site and trails, is slower paced but every bit as wonderful. See wildflowers on a stroll along the lakeshore or hike up to the cirque of King's Throne for far reaching views of the lake and landscape.
Besides spectacular scenery in the Kluane Region, the First Nation cultures wait to be explored.
For 5,000 years the Champagne area has been occupied by Indigenous people. The site just off the Alaska Highway is also home to Long Ago Peoples Place, an authentic recreation of a traditional First Nations village. Pay a visit to learn about the Southern Tutchone history and culture, enjoy bannock, hear stories and feel the connection to the land.
A scenic drive leads from Haines Junction to the Kluane Museum of Natural History in Burwash Landing on the shores of Kluane Lake. The museum's fascinating exhibits include many that offer another look at the traditional way of life of the area's Southern Tutchone people.
Just before the Canada-US border is Beaver Creek home to the White River First Nation. Archeological evidence shows people have lived in this area for 10,000 years. The Visitor Information Centre displays examples of intricate beadwork and other traditional crafts.
Besides these interesting stops along the highway, First Nation tour operators offer unique, immersive experiences. Hear captivating legends, learn about living off the land and spot wildlife and medicinal plants.
Interested in visiting? see www.windowsonthewild.com and www.audleytravel.com
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. Website gillypickup.co.uk