Get geological during a trip to these volcanic wonders.
Text by Vincent Leung, photo by Alcina Charlie, Vanuatu Tourism Office
Since the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010, people have learned to not judge Iceland by its name. The North Atlantic island sits on a volcanic hotspot in the rift between two diverging tectonic plates and has more than 200 volcanoes, 35 of which are still active. Its turbulent geology has blessed the country with stunning landscapes and abundant
natural resources. The best way to get to grips with Iceland’s fiery character is on a guided tour. Try hiking to a volcanic crater, horse riding under the Northern Lights, feasting on bread and eggs cooked in a hot spring or spelunking among the icicles in old lava tunnels.
For a better understanding of volcanology, the Eldfjallasafn Volcano Museum in Stykkishólmur is open from May to September, displaying rocks, artefacts and artworks collected worldwide, and organises geological excursions through the surrounding landscape. Soaking in the Blue Lagoon near the capital Reykjavík is another hotspot for travellers. The geothermal spa is rich in minerals and offers the best natural skincare one can ask for.
On the other side of the globe, the South Pacific volcano Mount Yasur on Tanna island in Vanuatu is one of the most active in the world. Easy accessibility and close monitoring make it a popular destination for lava watching. Follow a guide on an evening tour to peer over the edge of the smoking crater and witness the liquid magma dance for a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There’s even a post box nearby – the only one on a live volcano – for visitors to share the moment with friends. Other activities include sandboarding on volcanic ash.
Icelandic Tourist Board
Vanuatu Tourism Office
Photo by Lenita du Plessis
A spin-off from the famous Burning Man festival in Nevada, the seventh annual AfrikaBurn art festival will be held next to South Africa’s Tankwa Karoo National Park in the Northern Cape province from April 28 to May 4. Encouraging active participation from all visitors, the gathering features mutant vehicles, fancy theme camps, improv on multiple stages and art installations of all scales, some of which will be set alight. To join in, fill out a Burner Bio at www.afrikaburn.com.
Tickets from Quicket, www.quicket.co.za
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival presented by Shell
Photo by Douglas Mason
The Big Easy gets its dancing shoes on for the 45th annual music festival from April 25 to May 4. This year’s star-studded line-up includes Eric Clapton, Christina Aguilera,a Santana and Arcade Fire. New Orleans’ unique culture comes under the spotlight at pop-up pavilions offering intriguing insight into the heritage of Louisiana and its Native American tribes. Local and African crafts will also be represented in the marketplaces.