While deserts often evoke an image of arid and inhospitable landscapes, they can also be awe-inspiring. From the bubbling basins of Ethiopia to the monumental landscapes of the American southwest, here are the most otherworldly and captivating stretches of sand our planet has to offer.
Tours, as far as I'm concerned, are like Marmite -- you either love them or hate them. (For the non-Brits out there, change Marmite to rap music, smoking or black coffee and you'll get my point.)
Unfortunately, it seems I am in the hate camp.
"So, how are you finding Africa?" asked the man next to me as our bus careered around a blind corner, narrowly avoiding a huge lorry laden with bricks in the oncoming lane. "Wonderful," I answered, ducking the box of live chicks thrown towards me by the force of the turn.
Tracking rehabilitated cheetahs and leopards through the African bush as they learn to hunt and survive again in the wild. Riding on the backs of rescued elephants on a sunset stroll to their favourite watering hole, where they finally feel safe from poachers...
If you've ever dreamed of going on an African safari, you've heard of the "Big Five": the Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhinoceros. We asked five top guides for the animal that they would most like to spot in the wild. Here is their Elusive Big Five list.
Africa has long set the seductive tone for globetrotting artists, explorers and romantics. So, if looking to up your romance ante, there is no better place on the planet to stage a romantic rendezvous than in an idyllic African oasis.
Compassion alone will not do the trick. Economic incentives for conservation, superb science, and improved governance for everything from a climate change treaty to enforcement of anti-poaching laws are critical parts of the solution.