Author: Lesley Stones

Lesley Stones

Lesley Stones is a former Brit who is now proudly South African. She started her career by reviewing rock bands for a national UK music paper, then worked for various newspapers before spending four fun-filled years in Cairo, where she ended up editing a technology magazine. A follow-the-sun policy took her to South Africa, where she became the Information Technology Editor for Business Day. After 12 years with the paper Lesley quit to go freelance, specialising in travel and leisure writing and being opinionated about life in general. She writes in a quirky, humorous style and her absolute passions are travel, theatre, the cinema, wining and dining.

If you’re tired of being clobbered by hotel bills, find traveling alone has lost its allure, or you long to see a city through the eyes of a local, it’s time to go CouchSurfing.

That’s the amazing international initiative where people open up their homes to travelers and show them around the local sights. Although a free bed is certainly a huge attraction, it’s not just a scheme for cheapskates. It’s also the best way …

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Adventurers have found many ways of conquering the legendary Cape to Cairo route – by pedal bike, motorbike, battered Land Rover or fragile aircraft. But if you really want to travel this fabled journey in style, climb aboard the Rovos Rail.

This South African train bills itself as the most luxurious in the world, and for once it isn’t over-the-top hyperbole. The exquisitely restored carriages cocoon you in a world far removed from reality, in …

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If you’ve never experienced an assault on all your senses simultaneously, take a trip to Cairo. Now the political turmoil is easing, yet Egypt’s always hectic capital is suffering from a severe drop in tourism triggered by the uprisings. Which makes it a great time to visit, since there are bargains to be had from the hotels and you’ll have the luxury of seeing its great attractions in almost splendid isolation.

But steel yourself, because …

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Imagine sticking a straw down the throat of a goldfish and blowing.

Then blowing some more. And you only stop blowing when the goggle-eyed fish looks as if it’s finally about to pop.

That’s what I was staring at in little plastic bags hanging outside the shops in Hong Kong’s aptly named Goldfish Street. Behind their massively misshapen heads were tiny fins that flapped aimlessly as they tried to steer the bulbous bulk around.  A …

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The sun was still asleep behind some distant peaks when I clomped out of the tiny town heading for the mountains. Soon it would be a blazing 35 degrees Celsius, and I didn’t want to be halfway up a mountain in that heat. Halfway down a mountain would be fine — but we were still on the upward trajectory.

The cunning plan was to complete the ascent in the shade, then take the sun-baked downhill …

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When a couple splits up, why is it that the woman decides to explore the world while the man morphs into a couch potato, festering in front of the TV?  If that sounds like an unfair generalisation, you’re obviously a man! Maybe the men want to stay at home and finally enjoy the silence, but years of personal research have convinced me that single women have far more get up and go.

Yet setting off …

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People will tell you there are tons of things to do in Mauritius.

Well, the Mauritian people will tell you that, then list dubious attractions like the stamp museum and a dodo skeleton. But trying to lure visitors to this gorgeous tropical island by conjuring up copious activities is missing the point. The point being that Mauritius isn’t the place to go if you want to do stuff. It’s the place to go to do …

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One of the nicest things about the world’s greatest art galleries is that they tend to be in the world’s greatest cities – which is incredibly convenient. Once you’ve walked through kilometres of galleries and squinted at countless treasures until your arty-farty quotient is exhausted, you can soak up the vibe of the city around you. Theatres, restaurants, pubs, clubs, parks and shops galore will inject new life into tired eyes and feet, so you’re …

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A million words of poetry and prose have been penned to describe the wonders of Petra, the ancient city that lay forgotten for centuries beyond a secret mountain gorge.

Artists and photographers strive to capture the mystical beauty of this pink-tinged city carved into desert sandstone. Every guidebook to Jordan bristles with views of Petra’s magnificent monuments, now considered one of the seven modern Wonders of the World. Heck, even Indiana Jones swung through the …

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I KNEW I’d had too much to drink when everyone in the room began to look attractive — all 5,000 of them.

That tall, blond Germanic look can quiver my heart even when it’s perfectly sober. Yet perhaps sinking a bottle and a half of wine single-handedly was bordering on the excessive. But what’s a girl to do when the waiter refuses to prance around delivering one pathetic glass of wine at a time because …

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Holidays have become all about the destination, not the journey. We cram ourselves into an airplane, jet off for a couple of weeks in a different culture, and often return more exhausted than when we went away. Maybe that’s because we’re forgetting that life is a journey, not a destination.

Yet in today’s fast-paced, instant-access world, there are still amazing journeys to be had if you take a trip on a freighter ship. Deep within …

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It’s always the weird sights that grab my attention on holiday.

While other tourists are admiring a gaudy temple in Ho Chi Mihn City, I’m fascinated by a frog.

He’s supposed to be compliantly waiting for death in a metal bowl in a pavement market. But this is Adventure Frog. He suddenly springs clean out of the bowl and starts hopping for freedom down the street. The stallholder leaps up and gives chase, plonking him …

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You can drive for hours through the deserts of Namibia without ever seeing another vehicle.But if it’s absolute isolation you’re after, try cycling through the country. You won’t see many other humans, but every pedal you push will be making a difference to the planet.
The personal challenge and the chance to contribute to conservation has inspired a very different type of holiday for 15 intrepid adventurers who will cycle 350km through the Namibian wilderness …

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When you’re bored of the beach and had all the sightseeing you can stomach, it’s time to re-vamp your vacations.
If packing for your holiday feels like a duty rather than a delight, bid arrivederci to the mundane and plan a holiday with pizzazz.
If you crave something different in 2011, here are some weird, wacky or just plain daft ideas guaranteed to revive the most jaded traveller. You can even swap purely hedonistic holidays …

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