Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Aus, Namibia: Outstanding Food in an Out-of-the-Way Locale That Translates to “Out”

On the recommendation of our travel agent at &Beyond, my brother, sister-in-law, and I broke up our drive through southern Namibia with a stop for lunch in the little town of Aus, with a population of less than 800. It seemed an odd place to find sustenance: hot and arid (but with the coldest winters ever recorded in the country), lonely and quiet. Even the name could be a deterrent: In German, aus means “out”; in the local Khoekhoe language, it means “place of the snakes.” Despite all that, we found the terrifically charming Bahnhof Hotel and its fantastic restaurant to be both welcoming and memorable. Read more >

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An Easy — and Wonderful — Introduction to Namibia at Windhoek’s Villa Vista Guesthouse

Villa Vista Guesthouse, Windhoek, NamibiaAfter spending nearly a full day traveling in economy class on airplanes, flying from New York to Windhoek, Namibia, via Johannesburg, the first thing I wanted to see after hopping in my rental car and driving a half hour into the city was a restful bed. Fortunately, I had made reservations at Villa Vista Guesthouse, where everything from large, comfortable rooms to delightful breakfasts with a view assured me of a hassle-free and amiable entry into the first African country I ever visited. Read more about this terrific accommodation >


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Namibia’s Diverse Attractions Promise Something for Everyone

Sunset, Swakopmund, NamibiaUpon landing in Windhoek on my very first day in Africa, I knew this would be a markedly different type of vacation. After all, it’s not every day that you spy a family of baboons along the road just outside the airport of a capital city or a couple of feral horses galloping through a punishing landscape. Over the next two weeks, surprises and indelible moments unfolded (you will never be unable to forget the frisson you feel the first time you see a 20-foot-tall giraffe pop up from behind a tree just a few feet from your car), and Namibia very quickly started to surpass all my expectations. With a broad range of sites and activities, from lolling about on lazy afternoons on a beach along the Atlantic Ocean to skydiving over the orange dunes of the Namib Desert, this country in southwestern Africa offers plenty of activities for everyone. Read about the top five things to see and do in Namibia >


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Oceanside Luxury in Swakopmund, Namibia

Strand Hotel, Swakopmund, NamibiaEnticingly comfortable rooms and luxurious suites, with satellite TV and Wi-Fi, proper tea service, great air conditioning, and well-designed bathrooms. Three restaurants, a lobby bar, and a beer garden. Relaxing lounges. Private parking. Superior staff and knowledgeable activities directors. Gym and full-service spa. It could be a list of requirements from guests at hotels in the world’s most-visited cities. But this is not New York, for example, or Tokyo. This is Swakopmund, Namibia, and you’ve just checked in to the Strand Hotel, a fine four-star hotel with gorgeous nightly sunsets and just about everything you could possibly want in a hotel. Read more >


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The Eeriest Places on Earth

Nevada City, MontanaIf you’re planning to visit a fabricated haunted house for Halloween, or to attend a party in a costume that’s anything but frightening, I have an alternative: Go to an authentic ghost town. These abandoned places teem with vacated, decaying buildings and with the spirits of a long-vanished population. You’re unlikely to run into a vampire or a sexy French maid; a rolling tumbleweed is more probable, or the hint of an odd susurration carried on the wind that blows through the silence of these eerie, deserted places. You can find them all over the globe, from Chile to Italy to Japan, and they will give you a thrill, and a chill, like no other locations in the world. Read about the top five ghost towns >


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Silence and Stars at Namibia’s Desert Homestead Outpost

Desert Homestead Outpost, Sesriem, NamibiaThe nearest town, the rather small settlement of Sesriem, was about 25 miles away, a drive through unspoiled nature with nary a soul around. The isolation of Desert Homestead Outpost here in southern Namibia is part of its broad appeal, providing a chance to forgo televisions, computers, and telephones, and immerse yourself in natural beauty and quiet. Throw in superb lodgings, warm service, and outstanding food, and you have one of the most remarkable accommodations in Namibia. Read more >


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When Orange Is More Than Your Morning Juice

Puente del Inca, ArgentinaFor those of us who live in certain climates, autumn brings a joyful change of season, when comfortably brisk days replace oppressive summer heat, and green foliage gives way to all-too-brief displays of flashy colors — especially a vibrant orange. If you don’t reside in a locale that’s blessed with this annual switch, you can get your fix of orange with an intricately carved jack-o-lantern or a Cincinnati Bengals game. And if you’re not privy to any of this, there are still plenty of oranges around the world that will capture your attention. Read more about my top five oranges >