Entries by Justin Wateridge

Pompeii: a glimpse of Roman life

Pompeii is the second most visited site in Italy after the Colosseum in Rome – six years ago there were 2.2 million visitors – last year there were 3.6 million. The 170-acre site of 2,000 buildings is bursting and bustling; a melting pot – as it was in 79AD with a population of 20,000 before […]

Heroes – Justin Wateridge

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944. Without the success of the Normandy landings, there might never have been VE day. On D-Day, and throughout WWII, there were many unsung heroes to whom we owe so much. As Mahatma Gandhi said so eloquently, “You may never know what results come of […]

Sri Lanka Travel and the FCO – Justin Wateridge

In response to: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/asia/sri-lanka/articles/sri-lanka-travel-advice-flights-fco/ Whilst the safety of our clients is paramount, Sri Lanka, a country that has endured over 30 years of civil war and suffered a tragic tsunami, will now be devastated by FCO advice which lets tourists hide behind their insurance policies. Despite working tirelessly to look after its visitors, especially in […]

Diversity – Justin Wateridge

Theopportunityisnowhere. What do you see? The opportunity is nowhere? Or, do you see it as, the opportunity is now here? We all see the world differently. That is not a bad thing. I’m lucky enough to have travelled a lot. It is a privilege I do not take for granted. With every country visited, I […]

Respecting nature’s cycle

The marine biologist Rachel Carson wrote simply and prophetically that, “In nature, nothing exists alone.” The other summer, I was rafting on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho. I was struck by the extent to which the hillsides were denuded, having been ravaged by forest fires. For my rafting guide, the explanation […]

Climate Justice

There is a depressing inertia to see beyond the short and medium term when it comes to talking about climate change and global warming. Yet the problems are clear and present. The greatest sadness being that the vulnerable most affected by climate change have done least to contribute towards global warming. At the end of […]

Brexit-assured holidays: FAQs

Will the price of my holiday be affected? Once you book with us, the cost of your holiday is guaranteed to stay the same, with no hidden surcharges or extras – so you’re completely protected from currency fluctuations. Will my flights be affected? The UK and EU governments have confirmed that flights will still operate […]

Our Carbon Footprint

Making a difference both locally and globally is engrained in all that we do at Steppes. We believe that travel is a force for positive good in so many different ways, from breaking down barriers and prejudice, to raising awareness of conservation issues and funding various projects around the world. That is not to say […]

Copan with David Sedat

“Archaeology validates the political dynasties,” explained David Sedat, world-renowned archaeologist and leading expert on the Mayan site of Copan in Honduras. Copan was at its zenith from 400 – 800 AD with anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 people living in a 24 square kilometre area on the valley floor. In its heyday Copan was economically […]


The Wider Earth

The small temporary stage at the Natural History Museum belies the artful and creative production played out on it. I am particularly gripped when at the end of act one, the HMS Beagle is deluged in a storm. This play – The Wider Earth traces Darwin’s journey. Both his physical journey aboard the Beagle and […]

Thirty years of travel

Thirty years ago, one of the joys of travelling – other than joy of travel itself – was going to a post restante to receive mail, not of the electronic variety. It was a real frisson. The thrill of receiving news from home. The dilemma of whether to open letters there and then or go […]

Borders on the edge

Castillo de San Felipe de Lara, a sixteenth century Spanish fort, proudly guards the mouth of Lake Izabal, the largest body of water in Guatemala. From here I head downstream down the Rio Dulce and through the scenic Rio Dulce Canyon to the small port of Lívingston and the Caribbean Sea. Rio Dulce is a […]

Lamanai – the best twenty-four hours?

“Under six foot is cute. Over six foot is not cute,” said my guide, Ruben, with understated Belizean charm. Ruben was referring to the capture, survey and release that we would be taking part in that evening as part of research into Morelet’s crocodile. We were in Lamanai in north-western Belize.  Twenty-four hours earlier we […]

Unearthing Albania

When Shakespeare chose Illyria as the setting for Twelfth Night, he is said to have done so partly because his audience would have considered it to be a mysterious land, about which they would not have much knowledge. Little has changed in what now is Albania. The name derives from alba, the Latin word for white, […]



Kaziranga is in the north-eastern state of Assam; it is famed for its one-horned rhinoceros and the density of its tiger population: here there are more tigers per square kilometre than anywhere else in India. However, due the fecundity of its flora, sightings of the latter are harder to come by but that is no […]



For years I have argued that tourism is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success in a classic example of the tragedy of the commons. Namely that tourism is not looking after the goose that lays the golden egg and is in danger of over-exploiting that which its success has been based […]



The grandeur and glitz of Mumbai airport seems more than a three-hour flight away as I emerge out of the single building brick terminal of Jorhat in northern Assam. The airport’s simplicity a gauge of the way of life in Assam that I am about to experience. Assam is in the north-east of India. An […]

OSCAR Foundation

“The moment that I kicked a football I forgot everything.” As witnessed at the bustling fish market at Sasson dock earlier that morning, work in the fishing industry is hard. The fishermen spend days out at sea in unseaworthy vessels and return with an ever-decreasing catch. The market itself is full of smells and sounds […]

Gjirokastra castle clock tower

Unearthing Albania

When Shakespeare chose Illyria as the setting for Twelfth Night, he is said to have done so partly because his audience would have considered it to be a mysterious land, about which they would not have much knowledge. Little has changed in what now is Albania. The name derives from alba, the Latin word for […]

All plastic recovered from stomach of one Albatross chick

The War on Plastics

The image above was taken by photographer Mandy Barker, it powerfully illustrates the problem of single-use plastic and our throwaway society. The photo is of 200 pieces of plastic. All found in the stomach of a young albatross chick. Single-use plastic is both a global problem – the image of the polar bear below was […]

Head Hunters of Nagaland


A hunter from Nagaland was asked by his birding group what a certain bird was. He looked up, shot the bird and as it fell to the ground replied, “A dead bird.” Such a remark has connotations of a wild west feel, which are certainly true of this frontier province in the north-east of India. […]

The Day of Rage

15th March 2011 saw the beginning of the uprising against the Assad regime in Syria. That day was yesterday seven years ago. The war rages on. It has been claimed that 220,00 people have been killed and 7.6 million displaced. Yet despite all the violence, many still have hope. Many still keep faith. I am […]

“Hey Bear” – Kodiak Bear Viewing in Alaska

The float plane roars and Keller eases back on the throttle. The immensity of the scenery below unfolds. Primordial nature. Wilderness. Muted hues. We are flying over Kodiak Island, Alaska’s emerald isle. The name conjures up images of mystery, grandeur and power. At the heart of that mystique is the mighty Kodiak Bear, that I […]

The Happiness Index

The Happiness Index

January is over. Purportedly the least popular month of the year – this might possibly have something to do with Blue Monday. Personally I think that January gets a bad rap. For me it is positive month. We celebrate fresh starts and promise to do more of what makes us happy. It is a month in […]

The Age of Exploration

Out Of This World

  The Age of Exploration Today, the 27th of January, marks many various landmarks in recent history. The birth of television in 1926, the end of the siege of Leningrad, the end of the Vietnam War and my wife’s birthday. I would like you to cast your minds back to two events just before my wife’s […]

A Wave of Change

A Wave of Change

  Next week sees the departure of our ultimate whale watching trip to Baja California, the best whale watching destination in the world. On board is Jo Ruxton, the irrepressible producer of the documentary film A Plastic Ocean and also Bonnie Monteleone, the Director of Science for the Plastic Ocean Project. Alongside the world famous Art Taylor, they will be […]

The XX Factor

The XX Factor

Women’s Suffrage around the World A century ago with the Representation of the People Act 1918, an Act of Parliament was passed in the UK granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities. About 8.4 million women gained the vote. Educating […]

Positive Language

Positive Language

Impossible, I’m Possible You may or may not have made a few New Year Resolutions this year. I have made one: to be more positive. Too often resolutions are based on what is wrong with our lives as opposed to what is right. They are based on fear – giving something up – and hence […]

, , Brand Bolivia

Brand Bolivia

The immigration officer smiled welcomingly, stamped my passport and waved me into his country, more interested in the music which was blaring out of his phone. This low key and unassuming start to my short stay in Bolivia in no way prepared me for the heights that I was to scale. Bolivia is a rougher […]

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Elephants – Worth more alive than dead

Whilst I am not an advocate of hunting, I can see a commercial argument for it in marginalised areas. However, I was nevertheless very disappointed to read yesterday that the Trump administration will allow American hunters to import elephant trophies to the US, reversing an Obama-era 2014 ban. A US Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman […]


Ubud, Bali

“Daddy, I’m not sure that I can cycle for twenty-four kilometres,” were the apprehensive words of my usually gung-ho eight-year old. The requisite distance having been covered and several hours later, he – as was all our party – was beaming with exhilaration on what was one of the most magical days that we have […]

, Gorilla, Rwanda ST

The Cost of Conservation

Yesterday, the Rwanda Development Board announced that the price of gorilla permits would be increasing from US$ 750 to US $1,500. Ms. Clare Akamanzi, CEO of the Rwanda Development Board, is reported to have said that “We have raised the price of permits in order to ensure sustainability of conservation initiatives and enhance visitors’ experience. […]

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Discovering Zakouma

‘Venez et visiter Parc National de Zakouma’ announces a billboard displaying a small herd of elephant as I step off the plane in N’Djamena, Chad. The elephants are the poster boys of Zakouma and a rare conservation success story. Their numbers spiralled down from an estimated 4,000 in 2005 to around 450 in 2012. However […]

, Anemones at Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay: Sea Anemones and Sushi

“Have you ever had your finger nibbled by a sea anemone?” Hanli enthuses. An afternoon walk along the seaside has turned into an eye-opening voyage of discovery. Perhaps unsurprising given that I am with Hanli Prinsloo, world champion free diver and passionate ambassador for our oceans. Hanli’s childlike enthusiasm is infectious. I eagerly share in […]


Discover Djibouti

“Djibouti means ‘the place where the monster was killed’,” Akram, my guide informed me. An unfortunate epithet for this small gem of a country tucked in between Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somaliland. That having been said, there is little to hold you in Djibouti City or its environs where 7,000 foreign military are based. The tax […]

Steppes Travel Q & A with Jimmy Nelson

‘Before They Pass Away’ Photographer Jimmy Nelson has completed an odyssey of 13 journeys to 44 countries in an effort to bring to light the beauty and fragility of shrinking communities and tribes around the world. What inspired you to document these tribes? Having travelled for the whole of my life and often returning to […]


Just So Kenya

“You can lie out on a leafy branch and look like sunshine sifting through the leaves; and you can lie right across the centre of a path and look like nothing in particular,” the Ethiopian told the Leopard. “Think of that and purr!” – Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was on to something… In his Just So […]


Tree climbing in the Peruvian Jungle

“You just put your foot in the strap and stand up,” was Andy’s typically laconic description. “It’s quite straightforward really.” I looked at him quizzically, McEnroe-esque thoughts running through my mind. What on earth could be straightforward about climbing thirty-five metres up a tree in the middle of the jungle in darkest Peru? Paddington reference […]


Pro Canibus

The air is charged with the sound of howling huskies. My foot quivers on the snow brake. The dogs in front of me strain against their harnesses. It’s not a moment for misgivings or second thoughts.


The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

To all you film goers out there – The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has just been launched in cinemas. It follows a group of British retirees who decide to outsource their retirement to the less expensive and seemingly exotic India. They take up residence in what they believe to be a newly restored grand hotel. […]

, Female tiger, Tadoba, India

Tiger Tiger Burning Bright

*Panna Tiger Reserve witnesses a “global first” – the successful breeding of an orphaned tigress.* Fantastic news from one of my favourite National Parks. I first visited Panna in 2004 and was lucky enough to see my first tiger in the wild. I’d joined our ground breaking India Tiger Study Tour and was out in […]

Primate Conservation – Hope 4 Apes

Jarrod and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Hope 4 Apes event at the Lyceum last night as Steppes Discovery were donating travel vouchers as the top raffle prize to raise funds and awareness of Great apes and other species. All the leading luminaries on primate conservation were there, including Ian Redmond, […]

Beauty and the Beast

I watched a fascinating programme on BBC Four last night featuring the background behind one of the most important discoveries in primate behavioural study. This documentary covered the 50 year career of Jane Goodall, primatologist and conservationist. She followed a childhood ambition to work with animals in Africa when Dr Leakey sent her out to […]


Gorillas in my midst

Trekking up near vertical slopes of dense lush emerald green rainforest; our trackers hacked their way through this ancient jungle without breaking a sweat….meanwhile our group pushed on – with gritted teeth and pure determination as the walkie talkie crackled to life and our guide said “Gorillas up ahead!” Everyone smiled and quickened their pace, […]