Go see the stans

Coming up Central Asia beckons with a tour that includes historic Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva.

If the thought of time travel appeals, join Wild Frontiers in exploring the historic cities of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan that once welcomed traders and travellers taking the Silk Road. The 16-day trip begins in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and then meanders through Samarkand, Shakhrisabz, and Bukhara. Over the border in Uzbekistan, you'll have time to take in the sights of Darvaz, Konya Urgench and Khiva.

For history buffs with an interest in Islamic culture the highlights are almost too many to list: the reconstructed Bibi-Khanym mosque in Samarkand; the birthplace of Timur, Shakhrisabz; the ancient city of Merv, a centre of Islamic learning that once rivalled Damascus and Baghdad in eastern Turkmenistan; and, Khiva, the most intact of the old cities. Best of all, perhaps, there is a discount of US$312 (Dh1,144) on the trip, which now costs $3,419 (Dh12,558) per person, full-board, including guides and local transportation. It departs on May 21. To book, visit www.wildfrontiers.co.uk or call 0044 207 3968.

Next week sees the publication of a new walking guide to the Ukhahlamba-Drakensberg Park in South Africa by the specialist guide publisher Cicerone (www.cicerone.co.uk). April is a good time for long hikes through the park, which is a Unesco world heritage site thanks to rock dwellings and cave paintings made by the San people and the diversity of its wildlife. The book is aimed at people of all fitness levels. For more information about the park itself, visit www.southafrica.net.

The Amanyara resort on Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos islands is playing host to the freediver Tanya Streeter from February 20 to 27. Enjoy private lessons on breathing techniques as well as freediving and snorkelling sessions with the world-record holding diver from $150 (Dh551) for 45 minutes. A pavilion room at the resort costs from $1875 (Dh6,887) per night, including taxes. To book, visit www.amanresorts.com.


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