I Mountain Bike Adventures
It could be the stuff of your wildest dreams — or your worst nightmares — mountain biking round S-bends with 3km drops in the most inaccessible regions ofthe Indian Himalayas. Crowned the Roof Of The World. this prince of adventure holidays is just one trip on offer from a company putting mountain biking on the world map.
Exodus Mountain Bike Adventures are designed to suit your temperament. fitness and experience. The only stipulations are that you are reasonably fit and can ride a bike — neither mountain biking experience or ownership of a bike is necessary for most trips.
Each party ofcyclists has its own tour guide and a support vehicle to carry personal belongings and equipment. The trips are tailored to your needs. whether you want a completely hotel- based holiday or a self-help camping trip. Terrain ranges from country lanes with a 7() per cent downhill emphasis. to high-altitude rocky tracks in remote regions. Cyclists can choose to have full-time vehicle support. allowing them to cycle as much or as little as they like. or part-time vehicle support. where stretches of up to l()km are cycled with only the help of a guide. The toughest option involves vehicle support for baggage only.
Prices range from about £415 for the Normandy Raid. a six-day. hotel-based trip around the Southern Normandy. to about £1720 for The Andean Adventure. a spectacular seventeen-day tour in the Venezuelan Andes. Included are return flights from a UK airport to the destination airport and all necessary domestic flights. Accommodation. most meals and all sightseeing tours are also included. All trips have a qualified mountain bike guide. with local guides. cooks and camp helpers where appropriate.
However. no trip is guaranteed fail safe and the Exodus brochure comes
Life ain’t a beach
If you crave something different from a holiday, look further than the shelves of package holidays on offer. Kathleen Morgan highlights some alternatives to whet
with a travel warning. stating mountain biking is a dangerous sport — even with the correct safety equipment. Travellers should prepare themselves for unpredictable weather, politics and transport arrangements in some of the regions covered.
For information about Exodus Mountain Bike Adventures and UK mountain bike hire centres. contact Exodus at 9 Weir Road. Balham. London SW12 0L7: 018/ 675 5550.
i I The Dingle dolphin
; It started more than ten years ago. when
a bottlenosed dolphin began frequenting the harbour mouth of a small fishing village on Ireland‘s west
; coast. The quaint sea front of Dingle, i County Kerry was to be transformed by 5 the presence of the ﬂippered celebrity.
Funghi. as he is affectionately known by the locals. has cornered the Dingle tourist market. attracting visitors from around Ireland and. the UK. This is no ordinary ‘spot the dolphin from the
back of a pleasure boat‘ experience —
j the 350kg aquastar encourages
audience participation. Funghi decides
g i | l l
where and when. but he will swim with anyone who dares step into his watery world. Visitors can hire wet suits and other equipment and either swim from Slaidin beach near Dingle harbour. or take a fishing boat out to meet the dolphin.
Completely wild and reliant on human beings for company alone. the fully mature dolphin could leave Dingle as abruptly as he arrived — the locals have no control over this God-given tourist attraction. That is what makes swimming with Funghi such a unique experience. says Graham Tirnrnins. one of several incomers who moved to Dingle simply to be near the dolphin. Tirnrnins heads Seventh Wave. a dolphin research. education and conservation project funded largely by hiring out diving equipment. .
Dingle harbour has become the centre of a small industry surrounding its resident dolphin
Wetsuits. diving masks. snorkels and other accessories can be hired for £9—£ll for three hours. £ l4—£l8 ovemight and ﬁll—£54 for a week. Value for money depends on how much Funghi takes to you. but Seventh Wave publicity suggests this dolphin rarer forgets a friendly face.
F or infor‘rttation about the Dingle dolphin and hiring diving equipment. ('ontaet Seventh Wave on 010353 6651548. For information on travel to. and aeeimtmodation in Ding/e. ('()Ilf(l(‘l The Irish 'l'out'ist Board on 0/ 7/ 493 320/ or Cork tourist office on 010353 2127325].
I Kumuka Expeditions to Africa lfyou have a holiday in mind. forget this one. but if you are after the expedition of a lifetime. Kurnuka trips to Africa will reach the parts most package tours have no hope of touching. Adventure is the name of the game as groups of I8—40-year-olds. equipped with camping gear. local tour guides. personal drivers and four-wheel drive trucks penetrate Africa‘s cultural and environmental heartland.
Trips can last from four days. taking in Masai Mara game park and the lakes. to a mammoth ten weeks. with the aptly named Grand African Explorer. For those dedicated to getting behind western stereotypes of Africa. the ultimate tour absorbs ten countries. from Kenya to Zimbabwe and includes a gorilla trek. whitewater rafting and trips to the Serengeti National Park. This is no peel-off-wrapper-and- consume holiday - travellers are expected to actively participate. sharing everything from regular camp duties to a few drinks with Masai tribesrnen.
‘This is not for people who want their tents put up for them and their washing-up done.‘ warns Karnuka marketing manager Paul Goldstein.
Prices range from £198 for the shortest trips to £ 14-15 for the heavyweights. Equipped with basic equipment and armed with the local knowledge of their tour guides. travellers can see Africa in the raw — its people. landscape and wildlife. You need only be reasonably lit and open- rninded to enjoy what could be the trip of a lifetime.
For information about trips to Atrii'a and South America. i‘ontar‘! Kamuka l;‘.\'pe(litlon.\‘ at 40 liar/s ('ourl Road. London. Wi’blz'J. 0/7] 937 8855.
82 The List l3-2t’i January NOS