Mark recently joined Audley as a Web Content Editor. He has worked in a variety of web editorial and digital marketing roles, ranging from online retail and publishing to academia. He is currently looking after content for Australasia, North Africa & the Middle East, Canada & The USA and North Asia & Russia on the Audley website. He has travelled throughout Europe and parts of north Africa and his favourite travel experiences include visiting the pyramids at Giza, the temples at Luxor and Karnak, and the amphitheatre of El Jem in Tunisia. Next on his lengthy wish list of places he'd like to visit are Japan, China, India and Peru.
Articles by Mark Jeffries
Take a classic cruise aboard one of the river’s most stylish ships
There is a new ship navigating the Nile this year. The M/S Mayfair is one of the latest cruise ships to take to Egypt’s iconic river. Built in 2012, the Mayfair offers chic accommodation with a boutique feel, plus great service and food.
Being shown tonight and tomorrow night at 9pm on BBC1 and BBC One HD is a new two-part documentary entitled ‘Great Bear Stakeout‘.
Over the next two nights it will follow the lives of grizzly bears in the Alaskan wilderness as they come out of hibernation and are thrown together in a frenzy of feeding, fighting and mating. It will also focus on a first-time mother and her cub as they fight to survive in this harsh environment.
Lucy from Audley shares her experiences of her recent trip to Japan.
”When I was offered the opportunity to visit Tokyo and Kyoto on a FAM trip (the chance given to all Audley staff to travel to a country and uncover new areas, hotels and excursions as well as make sure that existing ones are up to scratch), I was a little unsure. In all honesty, Japan was not at the top of my travel wish list, however the more I looked into it, the more excited I became with the idea of experiencing a culture so different from my own.
Katie, one of our Product Executives highlights a couple of music festivals to watch out for when planning a trip to Morocco.
“June 20th sees the start of the 15th Gnaoua International Music Festival, held in various locations around the bohemian port-town of Essaouira in Morocco. Featuring artists from all over Morocco and other African countries, and as far away as Cuba and Pakistan. The music is lively and varied and brings a new energy to this World Heritage town.
The main part of the festival is free to the public and is hosted on outdoor stages across the town, from the main medina to the beach itself. Other venues, such as a 19th century tower terrace in the town ramparts and stages within traditional riads, charge entrance fees but are more intimate concerts.
A very different kind of Moroccan festival is traditionally held over one weekend during the first couple of weeks in May, in the Valley of Roses in the Ouarzazate area. This is an annual rose festival, during which time the roses grown in the area are culled for perfume making. Local Berber tribes from the area come to the town to sell their crafts as well as to meet and celebrate with various traditional dances, swordplay, indigenous music and snake-charming.”
- Rose Festival at Kelaa M’Gouna: 3rd – 5th May 2013
- Gnaoua International Music Festival: 20th – 23rd June 2013
To find out about a tailor-made trip to Morocco with Audley, call one of our specialists on 01993 838 420 or contact us online.
Australians aren’t just passionate about sport, they’re completely obsessed with it. And 2013 is a good time to witness this, as Australia hosts a wealth of sporting events to get the pulse racing.
The eagerly anticipated British and Irish Lions rugby tour to Australia in June and July sees fixtures in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Then the Aussie Rules final series kicks off in September, with thousands of fans packing into the MCG stadium in Melbourne. The entire city takes on a lively atmosphere as excited fans cheer their teams to victory. It is a truly unique Australian experience.
The Melbourne Cup Carnival is one of the most vibrant horse-racing events in the world. This festival of horse racing and fashion culminates in November with the Melbourne Cup race itself. Most of Australia stops to watch or listen to the race, but there’s nothing like being there among the 100,000-plus crowd.
To speak to one of our Audley specialists about incorporating a sporting event into a tailor-made trip to Australia, please call 01993 838 810, or contact us online.
If you’re heading to New York in the next month or so and would like to combine the culture of the USA with Southern Asia, then you might be interested in an exhibition that’s currently showing at the Guggenheim museum, entitled ‘No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia’.
If you’re planning a trip to Egypt and want to find out about its ancient history, or have already visited this incredible country, and have become fascinated by its past as a result, then you might want to tune in this evening to the new BBC2 series, ‘Ancient Egypt – Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings’.
This new two-part series follows Egyptologist, Dr Joann Fletcher as she delves into what life was like for ordinary citizens living 3,500 years ago in the Valley of the Kings.
Our North Africa and Middle East team review Channel 4’s new series, Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast and share their love of Moroccan cuisine, which featured in the first episode.
“Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mediterranean Feast, which was shown on Channel 4 last Sunday (24th February) was another reminder to the North Africa and Middle East team here at Audley as to why we love visiting the region. This is a four part series which sees the chef visit the northern Mediterranean, including Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia and Israel. On Sunday, Ottolenghi visited Morocco, treating us to a riot of flavours, colours and cookery techniques. From Marrakesh to the High Atlas mountains, and then on to Essaouira, Yotam did a wonderful job of showcasing the huge range of Moroccan food available on a visit to the country. From grilled lamb with fresh herbs and spices, prepared on the roof of a traditional riad in Marrakesh, to rustic cooking in the home of a Berber family in High Atlas, and fresh fish balls prepared on a traditional blue boat on the coast. This was a wonderful reminder that Moroccan cuisine really is a melting pot of many different influences, tastes and flavours. Much more than a pot of hummus from the local supermarket!
Cookery courses are a wonderful way to really get under the skin of a country and these can be easily included as part of a trip to Morocco. Our favourite is at the La Maison Arabe in Marrakesh where local chefs will not only teach you the art of traditional home cooking, as Yotam experienced, but also include a trip into the medina where you can select and buy your ingredients. His trip closely matches our classic Marrakesh, Mountains and coast itinerary, so if food is your thing, this is certainly a journey to consider!
If you missed the programme then it’s available to watch online through Channel 4′s on demand service, but be warned it will make you hungry!”
- Episode one (Sunday 24th February): Morocco
- Episode Two (Sunday 3rd March): Istanbul
- Episode Three (Sunday 10th March): Tunisia
- Episode Four (Sunday 17th March): Israel
To find out about a tailor-made trip to Morocco or other destinations in North Africa and the Middle East with Audley, call one of our specialists on 01993 838 400 or contact us online.
Audley specialist Helen recently travelled to the Nelson region, one of her favourite parts of New Zealand to refresh her knowledge of the area and take a look at the work of the Friends of Flora charity.
“I went to New Zealand in November for three weeks on a ‘familiarisation’ trip with Audley to refresh my knowledge of all the wonderful accommodation that we use out there, and of course remind myself just how beautiful a country it really is. I was lucky enough to stay in some really wonderful places along the way, both in terms of the accommodation and the location. I was particularly pleased to be going to the Nelson region, not only because it’s one of my favourite parts of New Zealand, but also because for two years Audley supported a local charity there – Friends of Flora. Run by volunteers the charity works to protect native species in the nearby Kahurangi National Park, and in particular around the Flora Stream catchment area. One of their main objectives is to eradicate pests and create a safer environment within which the iconic Kiwi bird can once again flourish.
The chairman of Friends of Flora is Peter Adams, who also owns The Resurgence lodge with his wife Clare. The Resurgence is a luxury, eco-lodge right on the edge of the Kahurangi National Park, and the bush setting is quite fantastic. Overlooking nothing but trees and with the call of endemic Tui in the air I was lucky enough to enjoy a couple of nights here.
The Kiwi is a rare and elusive bird and whilst I didn’t see one during my stay I was delighted to hear shortly afterwards that a baby kiwi was born in the area, proving that the tireless work of the charity has been worthwhile.”
To find out about a tailor-made trip to New Zealand with Audley, call one of our specialists on 01993 838 820 or contact us online.