Shaun is a Web Content Editor for the Audley website. He has travelled extensively, including Europe and further afield to Canada, USA (including Alaska), New Zealand, Australia, The Middle East, plus over a dozen countries covering East and West Africa. The highlights of his travels include camping in the desert near the little known pyramids of Meroe in Sudan, visiting Mountain Gorillas in Democratic Republic of Congo and sea kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park in New Zealand. Working on the website day-to-day continues to fire his interest in travel and a motorcycle trip through South America along the lines of "The Motorcycle Diaries" remains an ambition.
Articles by Shaun Embury
Nelson Mandela is one of the iconic figures of the modern era and a new film based on his 1994 autobiography ‘Long Walk to Freedom’ will be premiering to UK audiences in January. It’s this recent history of apartheid that not only holds a fascination for many movie goers, but also a sizable number of visitors who travel to this fascinating country each year. With this in mind our South Africa specialists have just put together a brand new itinerary.
In Mandela’s Footsteps charts some of the most significant places Nelson Mandela has been linked to. In fact in some cases you literally can walk in the footsteps of the man himself; the most famous (or infamous) perhaps being in the prison on Robben Island, off the coast of Cape Town. Mandela was incarcerated here for two decades during the apartheid era.
The itinerary starts in Johannesburg. Here you will visit the Apartheid Museum, which offers an experience which is both informative but also humbling. There are displays of photographs, film and texts which lead you through the years of segregation. In addition you will visit Constitution Hill. Or if you’d prefer an alternative option is a guided tour of the township of Soweto.
The itinerary also visits places in and around the beautiful Drakensberg mountain range. Here you will visit the iconic battlefields, the site of numerous struggles between the Boer, Zulu and British armies.
Even among the stunning scenery of the Drakensberg you are never far away from symbols of the apartheid era and it’s here you will visit the Nelson Mandela national monument, marking the site of his capture before he was imprisoned.
The trip finishes in Cape Town and a visit to the aforementioned Robben Island.
If you would like to find out more please call our South Africa specialists on 01993 838 550 for more information or contact us online. Alternatively view our South Africa itinerary ideas, all of which can be tailored to your individual requirements.
Last Friday, myself and 24 other employees sat in the Waterwheel Room here at Audley and spent the next 30 minutes engrossed by what our guest speaker had to say.
His name was Will Travers and those of you who have seen the classic 1966 wildlife film Born Free, the name will probably sound familiar. This is because Will Travers is the son of actor and actress Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, who played George and Joy Adamson, the real-life couple who raised Elsa the lioness in that famous film.
In fact such was the interest around the company when it was announced that he was coming in to speak, Will kindly agreed to do two talks one after the other to meet demand, thus accommodating 50 people in total. I’m sure had we had more room we could have easily doubled this audience again.
You will have seen in the news recently the devastation caused the typhoon which hit the Philippines. It was the largest typhoon ever to hit land and as a result has affected over 11 million people, displacing some 700,000 from their homes.
Our Southeast Asia (SEA) team have over the years raised numerous amounts for all sorts of good causes in this part of the world but I would say they have surpassed even their own high standards by raising a whopping £817 for this particular appeal.
They did this by making 163 baguettes, bagels and wraps with various delicious fillings such as smoked salmon, pork, turkey and Chicken adobo – an authentic Filipino national dish. Audley’s SEA Manager, Natalie Lewis, said of the event:
Thanks to everyone in SEA who chopped salad, rolled wraps, stuffed bread with rice, poured gravy, took money, provided ingredients and gave up their time to make the event such a success.
If you would like to make a contribution to the aid efforts in the Philippines, please visit the Disasters Emergency Committee website.
I’m assuming a lot of people won’t automatically associate Burma with wildlife (I know I probably wouldn’t), instead perhaps focusing their attention on those perennial favourites in Southeast Asia like Malaysian Borneo and Indonesia, both of which are the last bastions of the wild orang-utan.
This could be a mistake though because more than half of Burma is still covered in pristine rainforest, which in turn, is a haven to some large and exotic wildlife. And this is the point of the new BBC wildlife series Wild Burma: Nature’s Lost Kingdom.
This series of three 60 minute documentaries will see scientists and filmmakers travelling deep into the country’s dense forests, searching for what’s left of rare animals like the Asian elephant and some of the world’s most unusual big cats: the clouded leopard and the Asian golden cat. The expedition even hopes to find out if tigers are still present in Karen State in Southern Burma.
It’s fair to say that our clients who travel to Burma do so mainly for cultural reasons. For example, they want to see ancient Buddhist temples and monasteries in places like Pagan, or to go walking or trekking in scenic remote regions like Kengtung, which is home to a variety of indigenous tribal groups. Indeed there are a whole host of interesting things to see and do. Burma is even suitable for honeymooners or those with families.
While Audley don’t currently offer travel deep into the isolated regions seen in this series, we do have plans in the near future to lead trips to Putao in the remote north of the country (see main picture).
We therefore hope this latest offering from the BBC’s Natural History Unit, both sparks your interest in Burma’s little-known flora and fauna, but also highlights the possibilities of travel in this extraordinary country.
I don’t yet have a date for the start of the series so in the meantime here’s a link to a preview on the BBC website.
Call our Burma specialists on 01993 838 105 for more information about Audley tailor-made trips to this fascinating country, or contact us online. Alternatively view our first-timers guide to Burma to see what you could be missing.
Good news! Audley’s second sponsored turtle nest on Borneo’s Lankayan Island has now hatched. This comes shortly after a successful hatching of our first nest only a few weeks ago (see my previous blog).
Greetings from Lankayan!
As promised in previous email, here comes the report of your second adopted nest.
Nest no.: 559
Incubated since: 26 August 2013
Number of eggs: 73 eggs
First emergence: 25 October 2013
Total babies produced: 36 baby turtles
The babies came out at around 7.30pm. We apologize for not being able to get a clear photo of the babies due to the dark conditions.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need more information.
Once again, thank you and we wish you a great day ahead!
Gan Sze Hoon
Reef Guardian/Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area (SIMCA) Sabah, Malaysia
To book a trip to Malaysian Borneo, including spending time on Lankayan Island, call one of our Borneo specialists on 01993 838 120 or contact us online.
Sometimes called “the land of a thousand rivers”, Kalimantan remains one of the least explored areas in Indonesia. Once known for its headhunting and cannibalism it is now famed for its rainforest wildlife, particularly the endangered orang-utan. But it hides, quite literally, an even rarer animal: the Sumatran rhino.
Over the past 50 years there have been occasional sightings but the only physical evidence has been a few footprints. Last month however, remote camera traps hidden deep in the rainforest captured the first ever footage of rhino, one of which was wallowing in a mud pool (see video above). Let’s hope the confirmation of its existence will now contribute heavily to its conservation.
We don’t, or rather, can’t send clients to the parts of Kalimantan where these rhino have been spotted as its simply not practical but we do offer trips to more accessible national parks on the island.
Tanjung Puting, situated in the southwest, is one such park and where you’ll have a chance of spotting primates, crocodiles and a rich array of birdlife. The best way to do this is by klotok boat, giving you a serene view of the unspoilt rainforest around you. After travelling this way through the day it also turns into your hotel at night!
If you are keen to visit our Indonesia specialists will highly recommend going to Camp Leakey, a remarkable orang-utan rehabilitation centre. Set up in the 1970′s this is possibly the most rewarding of the world’s four sanctuaries as the rehabilitated orang-utan you see are wild and free to roam around the park.
If you would like to find out more about an Audley tailor-made trip to see orang-utan, please ring one of our Indonesia specialists on 01993 838 110 or contact us online.
At the start of this year I posted this blog about how Rangoon’s colonial heritage is in danger of disappearing forever in a blitz of modern development. The blog explained how a group of local artists had clubbed together to buy one old building called the Secretariat, saving it from developers.
There now seems to be increasing awareness of the problem on these shores too as I bring your attention to a talk in London this October by Philip Davis and Zunetta Herbert. They will discuss the work of the Yangon Heritage Trust and how some of Burma’s historic buildings might be saved.
At The Gallery
77 Cowcross Street
Monday 28 October, 6.30pm
Email: [email protected]
Call our Burma specialists on 01993 838 105 for more information about Audley tailor-made trips to this fascinating country, or contact us online. Alternatively, view our first-timers guide to Burma, to see what you could be missing.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a charity based in Nairobi National Park which rehabilitate orphaned elephants and black rhinos. They do this in a very special way: the keepers spend 24 hours a day with the elephant orphans, feeding them, playing with them, teaching them and even sleeping with them.
Accordingly, the costs of running such an operation are high which is why our Africa department have decided to help out by sponsoring an orphaned elephant called Lemoyian (see video above of his rescue).
Audley Africa specialist Roz takes up the story:
Followers of this blog will know we are always on the lookout for new wildlife documentaries to preview, particularly those from the BBC who have set the benchmark high over the past few decades. We believe these are perfect if you’re considering a destination which is featured, or better still, you’re in the final stages of booking your trip with us. If this is the case these programs will certainly whet your appetite with a taste of what to expect.
Countdown To The Rains will therefore be required viewing for those who have Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park in their travel sights. Presented by Kate Humble and Simon King, it aims to capture the events along a one mile stretch of Luangwa River as it awaits the onset of the wet season.
The series begins on BBC Two on Sunday November 3rd.
My memories of South Luangwa
The South Luangwa National Park is one of my top three favourite safari destinations, the other two being the Okavango Delta in Botswana and the Ngorongoro Crater on the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania. But it was the Luangwa which left me with some of my most evocative memories of my time on safari in Africa, a time before I joined Audley.
I visited Southeast Asia with Audley in 2012 and one of the most striking things about that trip were the constant physical reminders I encountered of the Vietnam War (see my original blog post here).
Unfortunately it’s a fact that large numbers of bombs, bullets, shells and grenades did not explode and now lie undetected in some of the more remote and rural areas of the countries that were embroiled in that conflict. One which suffered more than most, despite the fact that most people are not even aware it was involved, was Laos.
Two million tons of bombs were dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973, which earned it the unenviable title of the most bombed country on earth. Today, an estimated 80 million cluster munitions remain scattered in and around thousands of villages in Laos. The result is that many ordinary villagers are maimed or killed, particularly children who are naturally inquisitive.
I’ve included the short video above by the charity Mines Advisory Group (MAG) which I hope explains the problem much better than I can.
It’s going to be a monumental task to clear all of this unexploded ordinance but that’s what MAG hopes to achieve one day. If you can, please make a donation via the MAG website to help them in their efforts.