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Tim Richards
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Africa & the Middle East



Ten Places That Celebrate Nelson Mandela
Traveller
, 12 July 2018

"The most famous inmate of this former island prison was South African freedom fighter and president Nelson Mandela, who was born 100 years ago this year. An excursion to this museum in Table Bay reveals the grim reality of his time behind bars. Visitors to Robben are taken by bus to key sites, including the lime quarry where political prisoners laboured, before a former inmate leads the way through the cell blocks. It's a fascinating insight into a heroic struggle..."

Detailing sites in South Africa associated with the life of freedom fighter and president, Nelson Mandela.

[Read the full article here]

Cape Grace Review
Traveller
, 2 July 2018

"Cape Grace is in a prime position for sampling the tourist delights of Cape Town, situated within the city's historic Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. This complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment wraps around docks and marinas, with great views of both the sea and Table Mountain. With its plentiful security staff, the waterfront is a safe space for a stroll and is often thronged with pleasure seekers, giving it a festive atmosphere..."

Reviewing a luxury hotel at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa.

[Read the full article here]

Cape Town to Pretoria by Train – Diamond Empires to Shanty Towns
Traveller
, 18 June 2018

"A young man in a suit stands at the entrance, proffering a tray of champagne glasses. Beyond him, the 52 passengers on this two-night trip are settling in among the deep sofas, high ceilings and chandeliers, drinking bubbly and enjoying salmon or cucumber sandwiches. The day before, I'd been at this same station on a solo excursion to the city's south via the suburban train network, keeping an eye on my valuables and avoiding slashed train seats. Today's ride is clearly in a different class altogether..."

Taking the luxurious Pride of Africa train from Cape Town to Pretoria, South Africa.

[Read the full article here]

The Real Westeros (and Beyond)
The Sunday Age

 7 May
2017

"The spectacular settings in Game of Thrones are shot at locations across two continents. Seek these out on your next overseas quest...." (This was originally a text box as part of a longer article in print.)
 
Listing filming locations of the popular fantasy TV series
Game of Thrones, including locations in Morocco.

[Read the full article here]

Top 10: Comedy Clubs Around the World
Traveller
, 7 October 2016

"The supposedly uptight island state may not seem an obvious stop on the laughter circuit, but since 2010 this weekly comedy night founded by Pakistani stand-up comedian Umar Rana has featured upcoming locals to great success. Masala alumni have gone on to success in international tours, so this is the place to spot Asian comic talents on the rise..."

Listing great comedy venues in the USA
, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Singapore.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

Airline Review: Emirates Economy
Traveller
, 18 December 2015

"The system's programmers had fun shaking up the usual menu options, with  categories including Middle Earth, Film Club, Disney Classics and Arabic Cinema. The TV collection contains tired comedy stayers such as Big Bang Theory, along with Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and dramas such as Fargo, The Code and The Fall..."

Reviewing the economy experience on a flight from Dubai to Frankfurt
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

A Boy and a Coin
Traveller (The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
),
17 October
2015

"The small boy shyly held out a coin to us, neatly reversing the tradition of baksheesh, whereby visitors would tip locals for providing services. We had to laugh at the gesture. We'd just come from Cairo, the world capital of baksheesh, a busy, ancient, exciting city where the timely exchange of loose change helped everyone get through their days. Things were different here on a quiet hilltop in western Syria, in the spring of 1994..."

Reflecting on the tragedy of the Syrian civil war, and happier times two decades before
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Lost in the Old Port of Muscat
The Sunday Age
, 1 March 2014

"Here and there I can spot old fortifications the same colour as the hills, as if their turrets have sprouted from the bare rock. The most spectacular martial remnant is the remains of a fort built by the Portuguese after conquering Muscat in the 16th century. There are the graceful lines of Islamic art here too, in the modern shelters along the foreshore, their domes criss-crossed by geometric patterns; and the beautiful patterned blue minaret of the mosque at the centre of the corniche..."

Exploring the souq and alleyways of Muttrah, the port district of Muscat, Oman
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Flight Test: Qantas Premium Economy
Traveller (The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
),
28 February
2015

"Situated upstairs behind business class, premium economy proves much more comfortable than economy. In many ways, it's similar to business class, with tables and video screens hidden beneath fixed armrests, which then swivel up as required. The seats are wide enough to comfortably seat me and my wife, both people who struggle with the tight conditions in economy. The seats are firm, but there's plenty of legroom..."

Reviewing the premium economy experience on a flight from Melbourne to Dubai
.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

In the Heat of the Night
The Sun-Herald
, 1 February 2015

"I hadn't thought to pack a suit jacket for a destination where the daily maximum routinely passes 40 degrees in summer. In these temperatures, shorts and T-shirts were what I had in mind. However, it's a jacket I must find, if I'm to enter the Royal Opera House Muscat for tonight's performance. Opened in 2011, this cultural institution was a personal project of Oman's ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said..."

Attending a night of noisy entertainment at the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

High Life in Oman
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
1 November
2014

"When you peer over the lip of an infinity pool in our part of the world, you're usually looking at a scenic jungle or a wide blue ocean. Maybe both. Not at Jabal Akhdar, 2000 metres above sea level in the Al Hajar mountains of Oman. Within eyeshot of pool's edge at the new Alila Jabal Akhdar resort, opened in May, there's almost no greenery at all. Instead, I'm looking down into a spectacular gorge which drops more than 400 metres between bare rocky slopes..."

Reviewing the impressive new Alila Jabal Akhdar resort in Oman
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Postcard: Turtles Hatching in Oman
The Sun-Herald, 7 September 2014

"I'm standing beneath the brightest full moon I've ever seen, on the easternmost point of the Arabian Peninsula. The sand beneath my boots is soft and yielding as I turn to look over the Indian Ocean. Somewhere over there, a long way away, is Australia. And in the waters between are green sea turtles, heading this way to lay their eggs. The place is Ras al Jinz, on the coast of Oman, one of the few places in the world that sea turtles visit all year round..."

Observing turtles in the wild from a beach in Oman
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

First World Problems: Luxury Guests' Gripes in the World's Worst Cities
Fairfax Traveller
, 12 August 2014

"'No man is an island,' wrote the Elizabethan poet John Donne. But this may not be true of hotels. Every traveller knows that accommodation can be either a reflection of the city around it, or a refuge from its challenges. A hotel can seem like an embassy from another world – with a carefully orchestrated serenity aided by decor, light, sound and even scent. Nowhere is this contrast stronger than in the world’s 'least liveable' cities..."

Contrasting travellers' online
hotel reviews with cities they're visiting in Africa and Asia.
Available for republication (print only).

[Read the full article here]

The Omani Road Less Travelled
Issimo Magazine, 2 August 2014

"I have Robert Frost’s famous poem on my mind as I stand on the ramparts of Nakhal Fort in Oman. From the sand-coloured walls of this old fortification, the edge of the city of Muscat is on the horizon, a collection of low pale buildings dotted with greenery. As inviting as it is, however, I’m turning my back on the capital and heading inland with a small group aboard a 4WD vehicle, toward stark mountains, vast sandy deserts and deserted beaches..."

Investigating the dramatic landscapes of this Middle Eastern nation.
Available for republication (print and Web).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Flight Test: Oman Air
The Age & Sydney Morning Herald
,
7 June
2014

"An early lunch is served an hour into the flight, with a choice of chicken, seafood or a vegetarian dish, each served with rice. I snag the last serve of chicken. It doesn't look like much, but turns out to be surprisingly tasty. In fact, it's delicious and thankfully much spicier than you expect airline food to be, which I attribute to the Thai catering staff at our point of origin..."

Reviewing the economy class experience aboard the Middle Eastern airline
.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

A Line in the Sand
The Sunday Age
, 5 January 2014

"I'm sitting inside a Bedouin tent as the pestle strikes the metal mortar, making it ring. The man in traditional robe and headdress crushing roasted coffee beans by an open hearth is Abu Khilim, and the ringing sound tells his neighbours it's coffee time. It's a tradition practised for generations in Wadi Feynan, a dry rocky valley within Jordan's Dana Biosphere Reserve. There are goats bleating outside the tent, and it feels like we're lost in the wilderness..."

Detailing an unconventional environmentally-friendly hotel in the desert of Jordan.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.


The Rum Run
The Sunday Age
, 13 October 2013

"They may have swapped camels for jeeps, but our drivers don't believe in keeping things tame. As we tear across the desert in convoy, with some passengers perched on seating on the vehicles' open trays, they zigzag from one sandy track to another. Both speed and excitement builds, as new vistas open up around us. Strangely, these vast rocky mounds seem familiar, and then I realise why - I'm being incongruously reminded of the backdrops of classic Hollywood westerns..."

Tearing through the breathtaking desert landscape of Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Between Rocks and a Holy Place
The Age, 20 April 2013

"Like Moses, I'm standing atop Mount Nebo, hoping for a glimpse of the Promised Land. Though he never reached it, at least the prophet had good viewing weather: according to the Bible, he saw 'the whole land... as far as the Mediterranean Sea'. From the lookout, all I can see are dry, stony hills and a dusty horizon. So I step inside the adjacent museum, an attractive structure of rough stone walls, next to a church built around the remains of a 6th-century Byzantine basilica..."

Musing on the intersection of art and archaeology in Madaba, Jordan.
Available for republication (print only).
Images available.

[Read the full article here]

Escape for Artists in Morocco Retreat
The Age, 22 May 2012

"While popular uprisings have shaken the Middle East over the past year, the relatively unaffected North African kingdom of Morocco has remained a destination for Western travellers. It's in this country's remote desert hinterland that Melbourne woman Karen Hadfield has established an artists' retreat, within the village of Tissardmine near the Algerian border..."

Interviewing the creator of a remote artists' retreat in Saharan Morocco.
Available for republication (print only)

Petra: Attractions Carved in Stone
Arabia Travel, February 2006

"There is noise from the horses and people, but also beauty: strains of reds and purples running through the walls above and around you. You walk on, tiring, then suddenly there is a glimpse of something different. You turn the final corner to see the graceful lines of the Khazneh - the Treasury - carved out of the rockface dead ahead. In the morning sun the facade glows a subtle reddish brown. It's a stunning sight..."

The secrets of stunning Petra, Jordan, an ancient city carved out of the desert rock.
Available for republication (print and Web).


Exploring the High Road to Damascus
The Canberra Times, 7 April 1996

"Aleppo (Halab to the locals) has all the air of intrigue appropriate to the Arab world's northernmost city. Claimed to be the oldest settlement in the world, it has been part of every empire in the Middle East.  Egyptians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks and French have all ruled here at one time or other, creating layers of history."

The little known but spectacular attractions of Syria.
Available for republication (print and Web).

More travel writing: 
Australia | Pacific |
Europe | Asia | Americas
Travel: Africa
& the Middle East

I'm a member of the Australian Society of Travel Writers. This page contains examples of my travel writing, organised by location. Each entry includes a sample paragraph, and indications of available rights.

I also have a selection of high-quality digital images available, depicting a variety of international locations. 
See examples of my travel photography.

If you'd like to republish one of these pieces, or would like a new piece written about the same location, please get in touch via the contacts below:

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All articles in this archive are available for republication (fee to be negotiated). Articles can be rewritten to meet your style or length requirements. Please contact me by email with your query.

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postal:
Tim Richards
507/225 Elizabeth St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Australia

email:
tim@iwriter.com.au

phone:
0411-242327
(international +61-411-242327)

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