Our People
  • Amy snow biking Our Team

    Steppes Travel is made by the people who work here. Incredible holidays are made possible because of their vast travel experience and the great enthusiasm they bring to their work.

  • Chris Packham Our Tour Experts

    We carefully select our experts based on their knowledge, companionship and influence, ensuring that you can travel with the most knowledgeable leaders in the field.

Swimming with turtles, Maldives

Katie Benden

  • Europe, Middle East and Indian subcontinent

My Favourite Countries

  • Iran
  • Jordan
  • Oman
  • Israel
  • Lebanon
  • Maldives
  • Russia
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Greece
  • Iceland
  • Spain
  • Croatia
  • Montenegro

The excitement of travelling the world has always hugely appealed. Largely cemented from my first solo trip to Egypt and the Middle East. The crazy hustle and bustle of Cairo was a huge assault on the senses, scrambling through the claustrophobic tunnels of the Great pyramid took me out of my comfort zone and I was left humbled by the warm hospitality of the Nubian people in Aswan as we shared dinner together.

Now over 20 years later, I have travelled to most of Middle East. Highlights include camping with the Bedouin in the deserts of Libya, exploring ancient Baalbeck in Lebanon and walking the siq to the treasury in Petra. Now, since having a young daughter you will often find me exploring my other love which is Europe. Nothing can beat exploring the rural countryside of Italy and the ancient sites in the Peloponnese, hiring a car with no set agenda and just enjoying the anticipation of what little hidden gem we might come across next.

Northen Lights, Jokulsarlon Lagoon, Iceland
Iceland
Kate Hitchen
Kate Hitchen,
Haukadalur Geothermal Area, Golden Circle, Iceland
Haukadalur Geothermal Area, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland
Reykjavik, Iceland

A Week in Iceland

Seeing the Northern Lights is high on my “To-do list” and for the next two winters, they are promising to be more spectacular than ever and whilst never guaranteed, are likely to be more frequent and more vivid than usual. I just hoped that luck would be on my aside this trip and I would get to see them!

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Puglia in Italy
Puglia, Italy
Masseria Torre Maizza Pool
Masseria Torre Maizza, Puglia, Italy
Ostuni, Puglia, Italy
Ostuni, Puglia

Family Friendly Puglia

Somewhere easy going and as stress-free as possible. I had heard so much about Puglia and having explored much of Italy, I was keen to experience Puglia first-hand. This southern region of Italy is still relatively unknown and often overlooked.

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Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Morocco
Ait Ben Haddou, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Morocco
Exterior View, Kasbah Tamadot, Asni, Morocco
Kasbah Tamadot, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Kasbah village, Atlas Mountains, Morocco
Morocco

Journeying through the Atlas Mountains

A long and windy drive in a 4×4 took me through ever-changing landscapes from rocky escarpments, with boulders the size of buses, clinging precariously to the sides of the mountains; barren landscapes with colours changing from red to orange to brown and grey. Hillsides dotted with date palms and small Berber villages blend seamlessly with the colours of the land surrounding them.

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Santa Maria della Salute, Canal Grande, Venice, Italy
Canal Grande, Venice, Italy

The Hidden Sides of Venice

Avoid the maddening crowds of Saint Marks square and find serenity in the backstreets of Venice. Dine in a gorgeous family run bistro, where the menu that day is determined on what they bought at the market that morning. Grab some Cichetti, (delicious fresh finger foods served in traditional taverns) and sit on an embankment and watch the gondoliers gracefully navigate their way through the narrow canals.

Visit the Galleria Accademia, a treasure trove of Venetian painting, less crowded than the Doge’s Palace. Head to Burano island, but forego the masses heading towards the glass factory and take a boat ride to nearby Mazzorbo, and discover a secret vineyard located on an island in the heart of the lagoon. Enclosed by ancient walls and towered over by a 13th century bell tower, this island has stood the test of time and also has a fabulous Michelin starred restaurant.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay, Musandam, Oman
Six Senses Zighy Bay, Northern Oman and Musandam, Oman

My Favourite Hotel

This is a tough one but seeing as I often rate a hotel on the quality of their breakfast, I would have to choose the Six Senses Zighy Bay. It is incredible! And the location is also pretty special too.

View of Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy
Rome, Italy

My Favourite City

My favourite city has to be Rome. I have been three times and each time; I manage to find something new to see and do. I love how you can walk everywhere, and you can get away from the crowds if you try. From off the beaten track churches with hidden tunnels to finding the next best gelato shop.

My Favourite Experiences

Cycling through Puglia

First time on a bicycle in 25 years – passing by ancient olive trees, open farmland, authentic Italy.

Dune bashing in Wahiba Sands

Experiencing the roller coaster-like thrill of climbing up and sliding down giant sand dunes in a 4×4.

Sailing the Nile on a felucca

Sleeping beneath the stars, singing round the campfire on the banks of the Nile.

Swimming with turtles in the Maldives

One I have ticked off my bucket list, after conquering my fear of wearing a snorkel.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise sets us apart. So too our curiosity. A curiosity of the world and of you, and your passions. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary?


Why Steppes