Mauritius: a guide to

The southern Indian Ocean island nation has a mixed heritage, offering a unique blend of two continents’ cultures

Mont choisy beach at sundown

Just 14 hours away: The magical sunsets we long for in the winter time are not always as far off as one might think (all photos: Allan Kortbæk)

While destinations such as Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia continue to top the charts when it comes to popularity, so too do some of the impacts of excess tourism in these countries, whose visitor numbers put immense pressure on local resources.

Unique combination
Luckily, the world still remains vast, with a plethora of destinations to explore. Mauritius may not be the first country on your mind, when one conjures up dreamy visions of your next trip, but perhaps it should and could be a great alternative to some of the overly-visited and documented chart-topping destinations du jour.

Mauritius is a mere 14-hour or so plane ride away from Denmark (including a brief stopover in Dubai, for instance) and offers all the comforts, sun, sea, sand and amusement that the likes of Thailand and Vietnam do, albeit with far fewer crowds and a lot more charm and uniqueness.

After visiting the Seychelles earlier this year, I had high hopes for my recent trip to Mauritius and thought much of it would be a comparable experience.

In truth, the two island paradises are very different to one another. While it is true that the Seychelles is the more raw, unspoiled and quiet of the two, Mauritius brings a rich Indian heritage and well-developed infrastructure to the table, giving it the unique feel of a veritable African nation with a strong multicultural foundation.

Here is my quick guide to what to see and do in Mauritius.

Mont Choisy Beach by day

Mauritius: need to know
Mauritius is a safe and stable African country in the Indian Ocean, located close to the smaller Reunion Island (which is actually one of France´s départements.)

Over 50 percent of the population are of Indian descent and you will find a compelling mix of cultures and religions here. Mauritian Creole, French and English are widely spoken by almost everyone, everywhere.

Living standards, by comparison to most other African countries, are generally high, and inequality is not as widespread as it is elsewhere on the continent.

You´ll probably fly to Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport in the former capital of Mahébourg.

While the main island of Mauritius is small enough for you to live anywhere on it and be able to comfortably drive from one place to another, I recommend staggering your trip into phases, allowing you to experience different areas in depth.

Renting a car and hitting the road is probably easiest, though you can also travel by taxi and, if you’re feeling adventurous, by bus.

Dive to the ocean floor with Blue Safari

The East

The east of Mauritius is a great place to start your trip after you land. The area around Grand River South East is one you’ll want to visit a fair bit if you find yourself in this quadrant. Rent a boat tour via Kersley & Azur (kersleyboattours@gmail.com; +230 5756 1954)  just outside Mahébourg and you´ll get to see some of the small, uninhabited coral islands of the east and ‘The Dalblair’, a 1902 shipwreck.

You’ll also have the option of sailing up the Grand River delta to the small but sweet Grand River South East waterfall. Your boat ride will also probably take you to Isle Aux Cerfs, a small island off the east coast, which is unremarkably touristy on its main beach, but much quieter further down (past the golf course).

Contrary to popular belief, it is practically impossible to walk from one end of the island to another, so check out the south side by boat if this option is available to you.

While you’re around Mahébourg, don your snorkel mask and flippers and swim in the pristine waters of Blue Bay Marine Park – one of the best snorkeling spots I have ever come across.

Recommended hotel
Laguna Beach Hotel & Spa – a decent hotel that’s not too big and whose staff are extremely helpful and professional. Their buffet is scrumptious and rich in Creole delights – where possible, select the half-board option, as this gives you the benefit of breakfast and dinner included in your stay.

The view of the small harbour near Laguna Beach Hotel & Spa

The North

The North of Mauritius is more populated than the quiet east and home to some of the island’s revered beaches.

A good base would be the area around the beaches of Trou Aux Biches and Mont Choisy: two long, expansive stretches of sand on the northwest shoreline. The former has a great mix of locals and a few tourists on it and is a great sundowner spot, while the latter is also a public beach but is located at the foot of the Trou Aux Biches Beachcomber Resort and Spa, which takes some shine off it, despite the beautiful palm-fringed edge.

Further north check out the town of Grand Baie (the bazaar is a nifty spot to buy artefacts) and Perybere Beach – a favourite among the locals.

While in the north, one bucket list activity you definitely want to try is the Blue Safari sub scooter, which you will find at the northern fringe of the Trou Aux Biches beach. This three-metre dive to the ocean floor in an electric-powered underwater scooter is definitely one of the most amazing things you´ll do in your lifetime.

Blue Safari also offers a submarine service that takes you down to a depth of 35 metres in a larger craft, and this too is a memorable experience.

Recommended hotel
Mystik Lifestyle Hotel – a boutique hotel with immaculately designed rooms and the famous #33 restaurant, which serves up some of the best seafood in these parts.

The epic Chamarel Falls -a must see on any trip to Mauritius

The West and the South

The vast majority of activities on your trip, depending on what you go for, will probably be in the west of Mauritius – for instance in or near the town of Flic En Flac, a great base from which to cruise the shoreline and wander south and inland.

Flic En Flac is home to numerous restaurants and a comfortable stretch of beach. From here, explore the rugged interior of Mauritius with a day trip to the Black River Gorges National Park, where sights such as the iconic ‘7 Coloured Earths’, Alexandra Falls and the Chamarel Waterfall await.

Hire a taxi or up your hill-driving game as the roads here are sinuous, narrow and not for the fainthearted.

Varangue Sur Morne is a fantastic restaurant to have lunch at on your way back down from the national park. Here, you´ll find a scrumptious selection of local treats and some of the best service on the island.

For something slightly less flashy, head to Restaurant Chamarel, which is further down the slopes and offers a stunning panoramic view of the west coast from above.

If you’re into your watersports, you’ll find no shortage of them in the west and down south.

Surf on Mauritius’ rugged south coast

For stand-up paddle and kitesurfing, head to Yoaneye Kite Centre by Le Morne. The swell on the northerly section of Le Morne is regular and easy to paddle-surf on, but be careful not to drift too far downstream with the current, as getting back takes a while.

The seven colours of Chamarel – one of nature´s icons

Kitesurfing takes place further south of Le Morne, where consistent wind makes it one of the most popular spots to fly at.

As you wander further south, the coastline becomes rugged and more poignant.

Surfers looking for a good break will want to stick to the area around Le Morne, but as an alternative consider driving down the scenic beach road to the small settlement of Bel Ombre, where KiteGlobing is located – it is worth it! This is both a surf and kitesurfing hotspot.

For thrill-seekers looking for a taste of adventure on the waves, Sea Kart Mauritius offers an epic opportunity for you to pilot your own 110 bhp speedboat (no boat licence required). This powerful craft skims the surface at speeds of up to 80 km/h and is the closest thing you will find to a jet ski (since these are banned in Mauritius).

Last, but not least in the west, get yourself out of bed early and head out to spot dolphins as they surface in the morning.

Whilst among these great creatures of the deep, try not to disturb them with loud noises and splashes as they are actually sleeping (using half their brain to stay awake and the other to snooze).

Jet across the ocean in a Seakart

You’ll find numerous boat operators to cruise out to see the dolphins with, but for the sake of these creatures and their well-being, I recommend going out to see them on a stand-up paddle board, surf board or the like.

Recommended hotel
The 4.5-star Villasun is located some distance away from the beach in Flic en Flac, but a free shuttle service ad libitum is available to ferry you back and forth. Some meals are available on the premises, although shopping and cooking for yourself in the state-of-the-art ensuite kitchen is the way to go.

Dolphins off the coast of Le Morne

Why a Trip to The Belgian Grand Prix Should Be Your First Formula 1 Experience

Why a Trip to The Belgian Grand Prix Should Be Your First Formula 1 Experience

Original article written for Yakondi, available here.

When it comes to ticking things off one’s Bucket List, there is little that compares to the thrill of a Formula 1 Grand Prix. As a lifelong fan of Formula 1 fan, I had been looking forward to my first Grand Prix experience for a long time, having driven around the Monaco Grand Prix street circuit earlier this year. In the aftermath of this casual drive (the Monaco Grand Prix takes place on public roads,) the urge to see one of the 20 races on the calendar was stronger than ever.

I chose to experience the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa Francorchamps, as one of the races closest to Copenhagen, where I live, and faced by exorbitant accommodation prices in and around Liege, Belgium, I ended up spending 2 days in one of the best Airbnb stays I’ve been on in the border region of Eiffel, Germany.

Here are some of my tips and tricks for how to get to and experience the Belgian Grand Prix, for anyone who wants to experience a Formula 1 race – fans and newbies alike.I visited The Belgian Grand Prix with my family and we sat on The Kemmel Straight

I visited The Belgian Grand Prix with my family and we sat on The Kemmel Straight @Kortbaek_Travels

The Belgian Grand Prix in a Nutshell

The Belgian Grand Prix is one of the quintessential classics on the F1 calendar, snaking through lush forests in The Ardennes Forest for around 7 kilometres, thereby making it the longest circuit in the series.

Unlike some of the more modern circuits, Spa retains a rustic appeal that gives it an iconic, festival-esque feel. Spa is all about Pommes Frites, sausages and an overdose of Mayonnaise in changing weather conditions where the sun shines on one part of the circuit while there’s a downpour on the other. For this reason, pack your bag with essentials such as brollies, rain anoraks and wellies – it has rained at Spa at some point or other in each race for many years now.Fans galore: Spa Francorchamps is all about mingling with the fans of other racing teams

Fans galore: Spa Francorchamps is all about mingling with the fans of other racing teams @ Kortbaek_Travels

Beverages and refreshments at Spa are very pricey for what’s on offer (a small portion of Pommes Frites, for example, costs 7 Euros, while a micro-cup of coffee retails for 5.5 Euros). Packing light snacks and refreshments of your own is, therefore, a good idea, just make sure they are in plastic, not glass containers if you want to get let past security.

Spa’s proximity to The Netherlands also means that the event is visited by legions of Max Verstappen fans, clad in the orange colours of Holland or Red Bull Racing’s distinct dark blue shade. Personally, I’m a Mercedes fan and support Lewis Hamilton but there is an undeniably special feeling of sportsmanship between the fans of different teams at Spa Francorchamps.There are Dutch Formula 1 fans aplenty at The Belgian Grand Prix

There are Dutch Formula 1 fans aplenty at The Belgian Grand Prix @Kortbaek_Travels

Where to Stay & How to get there

Even if you are early, accommodation prices at Spa skyrocket around the time of the annual Formula 1 race. Everything tends to get fully booked very quickly so your best option, rather than struggling to find somewhere to stay in Liege or the surrounding area is to look in neighbouring Germany (if you’re travelling by car).

We found one of the best Airbnb stays (Charmantes Ferienhaus) I’ve had the pleasure of buying – located in Simmerath, in the middle of the lush Eifel National Park. Located a mere 43 km away in the mountains, our Airbnb stay was the perfect antidote to the roars and skids of motors at Spa. Do yourself a favour and explore the Eifel National Park area while you’re there – it is one of Germany’s undiscovered pearls!

As we drove from Denmark, a trip down the autobahn was the easiest way to get to Spa. A tip for travellers coming from Scandinavia and Northern Europe would be to avoid hitting Hamburg and the Elb Tunnel area on a Friday, which tends to be one of the peak traffic days, particularly during the summer, when roadworks slow things down even more.

For those flying – Brussels or Cologne are the closest airports to Spa and I can recommend finding tickets via the convenient and easy-to-use metasearch tool, Momondo, who are also a really cool company when it comes to pushing for a more open and tolerant world through travel. You can also use Momondo to find hotel stays and car hire.

Find a flight with Momondo

Find a hotel with Momondo

Rent a car via Momondo

Getting tickets for The Belgian Grand Prix

Starting with the basics – Formula 1 tickets can be bought directly from the official Formula 1 webpage and in the case of The Belgian Grand Prix, retail for 125 EUR for Bronze tickets valid for the whole weekend. Since I drove there by car, we also included parking tickets for all days of the Grand Prix – which, including postage of the tickets and payment charges, ended up at 174 EUR per person.  Some would argue otherwise, but I think that Bronze tickets (there are also silver and Gold available) are more than ideal when it comes to experiencing a race at Spa Francorchamps.

Where to sit at The Belgian Grand Prix

Blink and you'll miss it. A Mercedes racer streaks past The Kemmel Straight at over 300 Kph!

Blink and you’ll miss it. A Mercedes racer streaks past The Kemmel Straight at over 300 Kph! @Kortbaek_Travels

Spa Francorchamps has many different seating options for all ticket holders. As it’s a long circuit, it can take time to navigate from one area of the track to another, so have a good idea of where you would like to sit before race day.

Bronze tickets give you access to all race sessions from Friday through to Sunday so there is ample time to check out different areas of the circuit. Wherever you do sit though, I recommend that you have a  good view of one of the many giant broadcast screens so you can follow the race on the rest of the circuit.

I personally recommend sitting on the famous Kemmel Straight, just after the high-speed turns of Eau Rouge and Raidillon – two of the best corners in Formula 1, where downforce levels on the cars can be up to five times their weight (Eau Rouge.) The Kemmel Straight is one of the main overtaking opportunities at The Belgian Grand Prix, where speeds of up to 340 kph are clocked, with the drivers on full throttle for 20 seconds, so expect action on this part of the circuit.

Other good spots to sit at for Bronze ticket holders include the grassy hill at Pouhon and the Bus Stop chicane, which feeds into the pit lane entry.One of the Renaults' whizzes by on The Kemmel Straight

One of the Renaults’ whizzes by on The Kemmel Straight @Kortbaek_Travels

Parking at The Belgium Grand Prix

Parking tickets are a must if you are to get the most of your Spa experience and come included in your ticket price if you select them as add-ons. We parked close to the circuit entry by Combes Gate. There are four entry Gates to Spa in total -be prepared for waiting times and security checks as you go through them.

Dismal parking administration once the race is done means that you should be prepared to spend up to 3 hours waiting to get out of the parking lot itself, as Europe’s best “every man for himself get out of the parking spot” contest kicks in, with each car squirming for the same outlet. While Spa’s rustic charm has its merits, this is one the elements of this experience we could have done without and something that the organisers must look to address in future years.Parking chaos at the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix

Parking chaos at the 2018 Belgian Grand Prix @Kortbaek_Travels

What session to attend?

A Formula 1 weekend packs experiences of all sorts in for the entire family. In addition to race day, you will probably also want to see some of the practice sessions on Friday and Saturday and of course, qualifying on Saturday. There are also Formula 3000 and GP2 races (seeding series for Formula 1 where some of tomorrow’s stars are doing their best to carve a name for themselves in motorsport). It goes without saying that on race day, the best seats in the house belong to the early birds, so get up in good time and find your spot.

This being Spa, be prepared to walk some distance to take a leak every now and again as things fill up very quickly. I can also advise bringing or buying something to sit on – either camping chairs or simply foam plates, as it can be wet, muddy and uncomfortable to sit at some areas of Spa. The build-up to the race is also an event in itself. As such, get your lunch well before the Driver’s parade around the track (the closest most people will ever come to their racing idols) so you can also experience this element of the race.Mercede's Lewis Hamilton waves to the ground during the driver's parade

Mercede’s Lewis Hamilton waves to the ground during the driver’s parade @Kortbaek_Travels

We were unfortunate enough to have Disc Jockey, two Twerkers and a very bad MC across the track from us who, tasked with warming the crowd up, did a very poor job of churning out a mix of cheesy requests, loud, unbearable hard dance music and dance moves that should probably never have seen the light of day. This dynamic quartet also managed to disconnect the sound from the paddock and race commentary and were eventually booed off by most of the spectators.

A full map of the track can be found below or via the link in the caption.Map Courtesy of Spa Francorchamps.be

Map Courtesy of Spa Francorchamps.be

The Belgium Grand Prix 2018 – a Roundup

Renault had a bad race at Spa, with Nico Hulkenberg causing a turn 1 melee at the start of the race

Renault had a bad race at Spa, with Nico Hulkenberg causing a turn 1 melee at the start of the race @Kortbaek_Travels

After a tense Saturday qualifying session which saw the rain wreak havoc late on in the session, Mercedes were well-poised to put in a strong showing at The Belgian Grand Prix. Come race day on Sunday, however, and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel had other plans. Powered by the best-performing engine of all the cars in the field, he took the lead on The Kemmel Straight early on, flying past Lewis Hamilton and going on to build an unassailable advantage lap by lap.

Further down the advancing pack, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg missed his braking point by some distance into the first corner, sending Fernando Alonso’s Orange McLaren hurtling over the Sauber of Charles Leclerc – an incident that brought out the yellow flags and spiced things up for the spectators. Vettel went on to win, followed by Hamilton and Max Verstappen in his Red Bull racer, some distance off the pace but on the podium in front of his legions nonetheless.

What to bring with you on your trip to Spa Francorchamps

Be prepared for a bit of everything at The Belgian Grand Prix!

Be prepared for a bit of everything at The Belgian Grand Prix! @Kortbaek_Travels

Last but not least, as with most of the content I will be producing, here is a list of what to bring with you on your trip:

  • An anorak / waterproof jacket
  • Wellington boots for the fainthearted
  • Camping seats or foam pads for your bum
  • Sunglasses
  • A good camera
  • Earplugs
  • Snacks and beverages
  • Merch to support your favourite team (obviously)

The Seychelles – What to see and do on the islands of The Seychelles

The Seychelles are a truly spectacular group of islands off the coast of Africa. Life here is placid and free of the stress and fusiness of Western civillasation yet it’s also a nation with one of the highest GDP per capita in Africa.

A country that defies the stereotypes and often lives in the shadow of other wrongfully hyped destinations such as The Maldives, The Seychelles were a natural travel choice after my trip to Hawaii. Here is a video from my journey to The Seychelles, plus a few pictures from paradise. I explored the islands of Mahe, Praslin and La Digue, each of which brim with their own distinct personality and panache.

Scroll to the bottom for  flight links.

Anse Severe – La Digue Island

La Digue is my favourite of the islands in The Seychelles. This small island paradise contains very few cars and most people use bikes to get from A to B. With almost no theft here, it’s not even neccessary to lock one’s bike. Anse Severe, on the Northeastern shore  of La Digue, not so far from the endearing Takamaka Cafe, is probably the best of all the many snorkelling spots on La Digue.

Recommendations for where to eat on La Digue:

Fish Trap Restaurant & Bar – La Passe

This establishment is located by the beach (in fact some of its tables are in the sand, hence its charm). Meals are plentiful and well-cooked but prepare to pay handsomely for them. The service is highly commendable and the bar area is quite cosy.

Cafe Takamaka

This family- run shack serves some of the best octopus i’ve eaten anywhere in the world, at a decent price and with all the crudeness, love and quirky touches you’d expect.

There are also cheap sandwiches and several other hot meals on offer. Beachside seating and a passing Aldabra tortoise on the side of the road added even more charm to this quaint place.

Gala Takeaway

This quaint takeaway serves up a riveting selection of dishes at great prices. We had the tuna salad and an avocado salad, both of which tasted great! The ladies in the kitchen know their stuff.

Ice cream scoops for a cool 15 rupees.

Where to stay on La Digue:

La Diguoise

Anse Gaulettes – La Digue Island

Venture north from Anse Severe and experience the rocky, untamed wilderness of this part of the island. Look out for wild Giant Aldabra Tortoises that wander the narrow roads (please don’t sit on them).

Anse Source D’Argent – La Digue Island

Anse Source D’Argent is the sort of place you’d shoot a Bacardi commercial – and many have been made here. This slice of paradise offers one of the Seychelles’ best and most picturesque beaches.

Wade around the rocks at the southern fringe of the beach around midday and you’ll end up on  Anse Pierrot which you will probably have all for yourself. Be sure to wander back up through the shallows before the tide comes in the afternoon or you’ll end up having to swim.

Anse Source D’Argent is part of L’Union Estate so you’ll have to pay a small fee to enter the area. Stop by the Giant Aldabra Tortoise enclosure where you’ll see some of these magnificent reptiles in action, quite literally.

If you’re thirsty, there’s a small beach bar at the start of the beach that serves a refreshing selection of fruit drinks and cocktails.

Grand Anse, La Digue Island

At some times of the year, Grand Anse is a great surfing spot as the waves hit the beach with verve. When I was here, however, the waves broke right by the beach and faded into the steep bank almost immediately. This didn’t stop the local body boarders from riding their luck at dusk though.

If you’re feeling adventurous, clamber over the rocks and make your way to Petite Anse, a more exposed beach that you can also access by following the rocky trail between the two beaches.

Getting to Grand Anse is only possible by bike and the path winds up and down the hillside so pedal carefully lest your chain fall off (speaking from experience 😉 .) You’ll also find a decent restaurant at Grand Anse.

Beau Vallon, Mahe Island

Mahe is the biggest of the islands of The Seychelles and Beau Vallon is to its capital what Copacabana is to Rio – a lively, riveting stretch of sand that everyone seems to love. Beau Vallon was the first beach I set foot on as I did away with my jet lag with an all-day snooze. Head to the hills to watch the sun dip over Silhoutte island in the distance at the end of each day.

Where to stay in Beau Vallon:

Villa Roscia

My girlfriend and I arrived at Mahe airport in the morning, where Paulo was on hand to pick us up. He’s attentive, flexible, amicable and goes the extra mile to ensure his guests are informed and have what they need at all times.

The property itself is modern, clean and even a tad edgy, with a small swimming pool at the bottom of the garden. A lot of attention has been paid to the details – USB and European power sockets being but a couple of observations of note.

Paulo’s wife and kids live on the ground floor and are very friendly ,making it an unparralled homestay with all the modcons you’d usually have to fork out a small fortune for at large hotels and resorts.

Do yourself a favour and sample the breakfast platter – fruits, bread, fresh crossaints, tea / coffee, yoghurt and lots more. There’s also tea / coffee on the balcony from 5 pm on, where you can watch the sun drop serenely over the ocean horizon.

Villa Roscia is located a stone’s throw away from the less touristy end of the endearing Beau Vallon beach. Jetty transfers (ferry to Praslin) also available at a fair fee. Highly recommended.

Anse Major Nature Trail, Mahe Island

There are hikes galore on many of the islands in The Seychelles and The Anse Major Nature Trail is one of Mahe Island’s most endearing.

Catch the bus from Beau Vallon police station to the small settlement of Danzilles and walk up to the end of the road from there. Watch out for Batman Studios on your left as you enter the trail (a tourist trap that lures bypassers in for a sight at their caged bats). The trail is easy to walk and is graced with lush vegetation on all sides as well as jaw-dropping vistas of Silhoutte island in the distance.

The tranquil Anse Major beach awaits you at the end of the trail. Grab a water taxi back to Beau Vallon for the full Anse Major Nature Trail experience.

Read more about the Anse Major Nature Trail here.

Anse Major, Mahe Island

Anse Lazio, Praslin Island

Praslin Island is the second-largest of the islands of The Seychelles. Life here is more quiet and sedate than it is in Mahe and its smaller size means that everything is much closer and easier to get to.

Anse Lazio is probably the most beautiful beach i’ve ever set foot on. This spectacular gem of a beach is best reached by car (or taxi) and is located on the north of Praslin. Crystalline waters, smooth (rounded) boulders and silky white sands give it a distinct look and feel.

Beneath these placid waters you will find all manner of colourful fish and marine life- tame  as they are in these parts. The left and right-hand sides Anse Lazio are best for snorkeling but watch out for sharks in the deeper waters.

I came within 12 feet of a Grey reef shark and though the odds of a shark attack are very low, being rounded by a 2-3 metre giant of the sea was a hair-raising if not unforgetable experience. Stay out of the water if you have even the slightest of cuts and treat the marine life with respect.

Where to eat on Praslin:

Pirogue Restaurant & Bar, Cote D’or

As the most centrally located restaurant in the small town, Pirogue pulls a crowd and serves up some decent dishes. It’s a great place – lunch offers are pretty decent, for dinner – prepare to wait for a table (or book in advance)

Where to stay on Praslin:

Villa Bedier, Cote D’or

Villa Beddier has all the amenties and mod cons you’ll need for a stay in C’ot D’or, Praslin. Book via their own webpage for the best prices but expect to pay in cash at the end of your stay. Look out for the complementary jetty drop-off at the end of your stay.

The rooms are well furnished and very spacious – spanning a long balcony, Master bedroom, toilet, kitchen and living room.

Located by the beach and in the heart of the little village, guests are endowed with several supermarkets, restaurants, ATMs and souvenir shops in close range.

Vallée de Mai, Praslin Island

If you’re looking for the garden of Eden – this is it. A giant palm forest that takes you back to the days when Africa was known as the massive continent of Gondwana, the place feels like a cross between Jurassic Park (minus the dinasaurs) and The Amazon.

The giant Coco De Mer palms are endemic to The Seychelles and bear a striking resemblance to both male and female genitalia.

Cote D’or Beach – Praslin Island

Cote   D’or Beach is an uderstated stretch of beach along the shore of the adjacent town, which is home to several cafes, restaurants and accomodation options.

Find a flight to The Seychelles with momondo & follow me on Instagram for more travel inspiration and tips

Gracias Cuba

In April 2017, I visited Cuba, a nation frozen in time, which (before that idiot Trump ascended the throne) was marketed as ” a place you have to see before it all changes.”

Cuba may be changing but I have no doubt that its soul will always remain true to its roots, for better or for worse.

And while Cuba is a photographer’s dream, make no mistake about it – this is a country in which travelling can be a veritable challenge, due to, amongst other things, two separate currencies for tourists and locals.

Here is what this beautiful nation had to offer us:

 

 

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Barcelona, Spain – A Visual Essay on Overtourism in the Catalan Capital

Barcelona is a fantastic city with plenty to offer every type of tourist, from palm-fringed beaches, to world-class cuisine and a rich cultural heritage.It is little surprise, therefore, that the Catalan capital is as popular as it is.

However, some would argue that there are too many tourists in Barcelona, so much so, that there have been numerous  protests against the rising tide.

I personally love Barcelona and I understand that tourism drives a big part of the local economy. However, I can certainly comprehend the voices of locals who are tired of unsustainable, mainstream tourism, which is rife throughout the city. Here are some of my images of excessive tourism and its pitfalls in Barcelona.

To quote Banksy, “This is not a photo opportunity”

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Barcelona, Spain – A Visual Essay on Street Art in The Catalan Capital

Barcelona’s street art, for me, is some of the best in Europe. The city’s Raval, Gòtic and Gràcia districts all contain plenty of powerful, sometimes obtrusive street art that reflects the tensions and strugges of the region.

Here are some of my photos of the Barcelona’s street art.

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Camera : Iphone 3

Locations: Parque Guell, Caixa Forum, Barri Raval, Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain. Visual Inspiration from Turó de la Rovira

The next article in my Barcelona series is a throwback to my last trip to the city in 2015 with 2 of my best friends. Barcelona was the first city of our road trip (we went on to Valencia and Ibiza thereafter). Thank you to our Catalan friends, Ares, Aina and Claudia, for hosting us.

The pics are from a lovely afternoon atop Turó de la Rovira (aka Bunkers del Carmel) – quite possibly the best place to get a 360 view of Barcelona.

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Barcelona, Spain: La Sagrada Familia

Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia has to be the epitomy of a work that will never be complete. While some may irk at its tendency to be covered in tarpaulins from time to time owing to the constant work on it, one can argue that it is this feature that makes it such a memorable place.

Work first began on La Sagrada Familia in the late 1800s. Catalan architecht Antoni Gaudí took charge of the design of the church in 1883 and worked on it for the next 43 years,  until his death in 1926. He was buried in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the crypt of the Sagrada Familia. Many more architechts have since taken  charge of the building process, which is estimated to come to an end later this century.

Here are my pictures of La Sagrada famila- a place of introspection, grandeur and bewilderment.

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Barcelona: No Tenim Por (We are not afraid)

While I was in Barcelona with my family, I was also unfortunately caught up in the van attack on Las Ramblas that left 15 people dead and wounded scores of innocent men, women and children. My stance towards this episode is that I am humbled to be alive and grateful for the gift of life that we so often take for granted.

But I am also angry and baffled – how can any one possibly contemplate an attack on the innocent of this nature and justify it in any way, religious or otherwise? The people that did this (most of whom got themselves shot dead) have no place in any culture – African, Spanish, Catalan, European or other. They know no religion, Islamic or other, and their affiliation to darkness paints an unspectacular if not worrying trail of dereliction in today’s society.

Here are the some of my pictures of the day time stood still in Barcelona.

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Barcelona, Spain – Architecture

Barcelona is always a city that inspires me. I’ve been to the Catalan capital several times now and endured everything from failed robberies in the Raval district to epic Monday nights out at Barcelona’s Apolo nightclub.

This time round, in the company of my family, my visit to Barcelona was a lot more sober. Yet, true to tradition, this city provided us with one remarkable twist of fate after another. Barcelona is also a city of contradictions – excessive tourism on the one hand and far-left protests against it on the other. Tourism in Barcelona is very much a double-edged sword – driving the local economy through massive annual earnings while eroding some of the city’s authenticity and heritage.

Barcelona is a city of contradictions – excessive tourism on the one hand and far-left protests against it on the other. Tourism in Barcelona is very much a double-edged sword – driving the local economy through massive annual earnings while eroding some of the city’s authenticity and heritage.

Similarly, in the midst of a decent city beach (La Barceloneta) that pulls many from far and wide, spectacular architechture and historic areas such as Barri Gòtic and Barri Gràcia, you will also find El Raval – a grimey quarter of town that is does has its charms but is definitely not the safest place to walk around in, particularly for women.

For now – here are the some of my pictures of Barcelona’s iconic architecture.

Casa Milà

Provença, 261-265, 08008 (Off Passeig de Gràcia)

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Casa Batlló

Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007

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Park Güell

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The Cityscape – as seen from Park Güell

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