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
Princess Cruises has announced the activation of Ocean Medallion on six more of its ships in 2020:
· Ruby Princess on January 27
· Grand Princess on March 29
· Enchanted Princess on June 15, ship launch date
· Emerald Princess on August 16
· Coral Princess on October 16
· Island Princess on December 20
Enchanted Princess will be named in Southampton and enter service with the enhanced guest experience. It will then sail a season in the Mediterranean before heading to the Caribbean. The multi-award winning Medallion is now available on Caribbean Princess, Regal Princess and Royal Princess. It will be introduced on Crown Princess on July 24, making it the first ship with UK departures to have the benefit of Ocean Medallion, as Crown Princess is currently sailing a season around the British Isles.
Sky Princess, the line's next ship, will launch with the technology when it enters service on October 20, 2019. The ship will then spend a short season sailing the Mediterranean.
Ocean Medallion is intended to make every guest feel like a VIP and helps them relax and enjoy their cruise. The device is the same size as a 10 pence piece and replaces more traditional cruise cards.
The Medallion's technology makes it quicker and easier for guests to get on and off their ship. Once on board it opens doors when guests approach their cabin, ideal for anyone who has their hands full or is with small children. The Medallion's 'compass' feature means guests can find and stay connected on board, as well as navigate their way around the ship. It also allows guests to order drinks and snacks, plus holiday essentials such as suntan lotion and swimming goggles, directly to anywhere on board including their stateroom.
Tony Roberts, Princess Cruises' vice president UK and Europe, said: “The Ocean Medallion has proved a groundbreaking piece of travel technology and the feedback from guests, in terms of how it has helped enhance and improve their cruise, has been overwhelmingly positive. It's great news, both for our guests and crew, that we will be offering the Medallion on even more ships throughout next year. I've been fortunate enough to experience the Medallion first-hand and the simple, seamless service it provides means I'd thoroughly recommend it, whether people are already familiar with our ships or looking to dip their toe in the water for the first time.”
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
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