Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town has all the luxuries of modern cities, yet retains an inexpensive economy. It is dominated by the spectacular Table Mountain, which on most days has a veil of white cloud covering the summit. It is possible to hike to the top or to take a cable car ride, both of which provide spectacular views. Once on top and if conditions are right, one can be blessed with unprecedented views of Cape Town and the adjacent mountains ranges.

Be prepared for the drastic change in temperature. Cape Town can be bitter cold on one day, followed by baking heat the next. A hike over the top of Table Mountain can result in cloud-free exposure to the sun – and at altitude – so sun protection and water are essential.

Okasaki, Japan

Okasaki is one of the smaller cities, situated on the largest Japanese island of Honshu. Although it is a modern city, it still retains a large proportion of small, traditional houses. Okasaki benefits from an almost crime-free environment, and it was extremely pleasurable to be able to walk around the city late at night to see Japanese couples, both young and old, enjoying the tranquil city nights.

I stayed near the Yahagi River, and it was well stocked with carp which responded to feeding alongside ducks and geese. The Otagawa River is the main river tributary in Osaki, and worth a visit in the early morning.

The food takes some getting used to, and it is one of the few places that I have been in the world where many of the culinary items on offer are unrecognisable. Unfortunately, the tastes of some of the weirdest items were a big disappointment, being rather bland or just plain grotesque. However, Japan is still a great experience for those wanting to try something new.

Photos from this expedition.