Roughly two hours from Marrakesh, the ancient port of Essaouira on the West coast of Africa was first made popular during the sixties, when Mick Jagger and Maria Callas spent time there. Since then, Essaouira has upped its game, offering luxury hotels alongside atmospheric traditional Riad’s. The 10 kilometres of sandy beaches, water-sports, fine restaurants, a Sofitel Hotel and a Gary Player golf course mean Essaouira has joined the 21st century, but neither has it lost any of its bohemian charm. A traditional walled medina, fish shacks on the beach, the scent of spices in the air, and the maze of ancient winding streets tick all the boxes for a charming and authentic holiday experience. Known for a laid back vibe with friendly locals, even the souk is known for the lack of aggressive sales techniques commonly seen in Marrakesh.
With six assembly facilities, World Bicycle Relief is empowering people across Africa. So far, we’ve provided bikes in Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, South Africa, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Where will you take us next?
JOURNEY: 3 – 4 hours flying from London. There are no direct flights to Essaouira from the UK, so fly from Manchester, Gatwick or Heathrow to Marrakech then transfer by Bus or Train.
Tanzania and Zanzibar
Tanzania and Zanzibar
Located on the East of Africa, here you’ll find some of the most secluded beaches in the world. The true beach lover will be able to indulge in some true me time, stretched out on the sands, or swimming in the azure Indian Ocean, beneath endless blue skies and year-round temperatures of around 30 degrees. The islands of Tanzania and Zanzibar include Unguja, Pemba, and Mafia Island, renowned as one of the best diving destinations on the East African coast. Apart from endless white sands and snorkelling and diving opportunities, Unguja boasts historic palaces and forts, while Pemba is an uninhabited island paradise popular with honeymooners, rich in spice plantations and coconut tree studded unspoilt beaches. A visit to any of these islands will have you reconsidering the rat race and dreaming of your very own hut on the beach, in true Robinson Crusoe style.
Journey: 10 – 15 hours from the UK. BA fly direct to Dar-es-Salaam, or via Amsterdam with KLM or Kenya Airways.
Mozambique has put its troubled history to rest, and Tofo has earned a great reputation as a tourist destination largely for its beautiful sandy beaches. That said, it also boasts great nightlife, a laid back atmosphere, and good restaurants – only 20km from the historic port city and airport of Inhambane. Holiday in Tofo, and you can enjoy horse riding, deep sea fishing, and surfing, or scuba dive with the Manta Rays, whale sharks and dolphins in the balmy waters of the Indian Ocean.
Journey: No direct flights between the UK and Mozambique. Southern Mozambique is accessed from South Africa.
Bill Turner is an athlete, entrepreneur and freelance writer who specialises in guest blogging. He enjoys spending time with his dogs and family when he’s not traveling for business.
Just west of Glasgow is a part of the world that looks like something out of a postcard. Drive half an hour out of the city and you’ll find yourself at Loch Lomond. It’s the where the highlands and lowlands meet and it is stunning. A visit to Loch Lomond should be on anyone’s travel agenda as it’s the chance to see somewhere that seems to have remained unspoiled over time. And it’s not just a place for people who like to go for a nice walk. There’s a lot to see and do in an area that has national park status and really shows it off.
If you’re someone who likes to be active then this is the perfect place for you to breathe in some pristine Scottish air and get the heart pumping. You can get your hiking boots on and walk between the mountains, go cycling on dirt tracks, climb up some Bens (the Scottish term for small mountains) and even do a spot of bird watching if it takes your fancy.
Loch Lomond is also a great place for people who like to get their toes wet. The range of water sports on offer is fantastic. Drive by the loch any day of the week and you’ll usually see people taking it easy in a canoe or wiling away their afternoon with a bit of fishing (although you need a local permit to catch anything).
There’s always a sailboat or two making most of the conditions and you’d be surprised at the brave people who like to take a dip anytime of the year. In the summer you’ll usually come across packed out beaches watching on as water-skiers move around the water at breakneck speed.
For those who like to take it a little easier, you are spoiled for choice when it comes to finding a relaxing place to stay. Many couples use a trip to Loch Lomond as an excuse for a spa break and golf weekend break. There’s Loch Lomond Golf Club, which hosted the Scottish Open for 10 years and proves to be a great challenge for any visitor. One of the more exciting courses is The Carrick. It’s a 71-par course that has some holes nestled right in between mountains. You’ll never play a game in an area as beautiful.
If you or the other half isn’t much of a golf fan, a day spent getting the best beauty treatments might be more up their street. Get in to a fluffy robe and spend some time at Carrick Spa where you can get ‘Advanced Enzyme Facials’, salt scrubs, Swedish massages and luxury pedicures with hot stones. You’ll walk out feeling like a whole new person.
And when you feel a bit peckish you have to visit the institution that is the Wee Blether Tea Room. It might look like a bit of a tourist trip when you see people snapping the signs outside, but head in and you’ll get some of the best tasting cakes and tray bakes ever made. And their tea is obviously quite good too.
You’ll be surprised at how much you can get up to with a short break to one of the most beautifully serene places in the UK. You can at least get a few rounds of golf in and make sure it counts as fresh air.
Gary Gallagher is a writer who like to showcase the best getaway spots in the UK. He likes helping people find out about places they’d never even think about going to.
Long-distance runners could be risking their health by drinking too much water, experts have warned.
Most people are aware of the dangers of dehydration, and the need to keep drinking during exercise.
But drinking too much water, plus a loss of sodium, can cause a potentially fatal condition called hyponatremia, or water intoxication.
It is the keen amateur who is most at risk. Elite runners such as Paula Radcliffe move too fast to drink too much.
People who do an hour or two in a gym or go to an exercise class are not likely to develop hyponatremia – because they are exercising for a relatively short time and are unlikely to drink too much.
But experts say the need to keep drinking water during work-outs has been “over-stressed”.
‘Wrong, wrong, wrong’
Concerns over hyponatremia have led USA Track and Field, the body which governs athletes and running in America, to issue new guidelines for long-distance runners.
Dr David Martin, an exercise psychologist from
y, who studied joggers’ drinking habits, said the change was overdue.
He examined the causes of illness in fun-runners since 1985 and found 70 cases of hyponatremia, many more than from dehydration.
He told a national newspaper: “We are very worried about the increasingly large group of people who are taking up running for the first time and who are told the party line Make sure you drink, You can’t drink too much. Carry water with you or you will get dehydrated. Don’t worry about the heat, just drink more’.