Tag Archive madagascar

Where to go to get away from it all?

Go Get Away

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name.
At others, you want to get away from it all. So where do you go to get away from it all?

Easter Island

Easter IslandEaster Island is a drop in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is 3600km from Chile mainland and 4200km from Tahiti. This makes it possibly the most remote spots in the world. Not only that, it is a remarkable land where most things are imported and is one of the most amazing and famous archaeological sites in the world. Due to its remoteness it also offers an attitude of ingenuity. When I was there I saw a car that was made almost entirely from wood. It is a fascination for history buffs and underwater vulcanologists alike. Getting there is by plane from Tahiti or Chile.


AntarcticaThe Antarctic is one of the most pure places in the world. With an almost insignificant amount of pollution compared to anywhere else in the world, it is a remarkable place. However, it is the wildlife experiences that make it unique. Whilst the penguin populations and the accompanying smell can be overwhelming, it is the encounters with seals and whales that will be found in few other places in the world. Whilst kayaking I was fortunate to watch as three humpback whales swam under my kayak, eyeing me as they did. Getting there is normally by a 24 hour+ cruise or research vessel from Australia, New Zealand, Argentina or Chile.


MadagascarImagine a place where the language spoken is the incomprehensible Malagasy, you get off the small minibus for a meal break in a town with only dirt roads and less than half a dozen buildings. You enter the only restaurant and you are given a choice fish or beef – that’s it. When you get back on the minibus, you tread on a live chicken that someone has moved to the space where your feet went before you stepped off the bus. It is hot and humid, Africa hot and humid. The radio starts playing a song in French about the snow falling. The bus continues and we weave our way around the pot holes that overwhelm the road. The rain starts to inundate the road until the driver pulls to the side every so often when he can no longer see. It is pitch black apart from the lights from our vehicle. We spot some lights ahead. Men slept under shelters constructed of palm leaves with their heads dozing on tables lit by kerosene lamps. Getting there is via Africa or Mauritius.

Rurrenabaque, Bolivia

BoliviaFrom La Paz at 6000 metres, I quickly descended “Death Highway”, where little crosses marked the roadside where a 300 metre drop had taken people’s lives. On the other side, a steep cliff rose to the heaven. Truck tyres often slipped over the side. At one point I shared the back of an open truck with a local who had contracted malaria more than 20 times. From the back of the truck, we had 360 degree views that included glaciers and rainforests, sometimes at the same time. The trucks headlights did not work and we limped our way to Rurrenabaque under the light of the full moon. Once there, the wildlife was amazing with swarms of king parrots and monkeys chuckling in the trees. However, trying to get out was a little more difficult. I had a week to get back to Sydney. The only two ways out were via a military airline that crash landed the day before or back up the “Death Highway”. Getting there is by normally by plane via North or South America and then a 2+ day drive or a flight on a military airline.

Okapi Park, Democratic Republic of Congo

CongoImagine an animal that looks like a cross between a giraffe and a zebra? Well you’ve probably never heard of an okapi. However, it really does exist in Zaire. You want to trade empty containers for food or see some of the biggest populations of hippopotamus, Zaire is your getaway place. Getting there is via a flight from South Africa or Kenya to Kisangani and then a 5 hour overland drive to the park.