Mike Unwin

Mike Unwin has written for The Independent since 2008. He has a particular interest in wildlife and family travel and specialises in Sub-Saharan Africa, although has covered destinations as diverse as Cuba, Indonesia, Turkey and the Falkland Islands. Mike previously worked in publishing and is the author of 23 books, including children's books, wildlife guides and travel guides.

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White sand Christmas: the writer's daughter and nephew on the beach in Zanzibar

Go wild at Christmas time with a beach safari

Mike Unwin takes three generations of his family to Tanzania for the festive season, swapping 'Only Fools and Horses' for baboons and buffalo

Cuba is a country full of contradictions and unexpected surprises

Cuba: There's more to this island than icons of the revolution

A family holiday reveals how to capture the best images of a photogenic country, from cigar-rollers and Cadillacs to its mighty mountain ranges and cowboys, as Mike Unwin discovers

On the spot: Safari visitors feel cheated if they don’t see a leopard, one of the Big Five, on an African safari

Something To Declare: Africa’s wildlife A-listers go far beyond the ‘Big Five’

Our obsession with “Big” doubtless has some Freudian explanation. And scholars will probably explain how “Five” is hard-wired into our cultural psyche, from the wounds of Christ to the pillars of Islam. But why must this expression become the raison d’être of the African safari? Big Five experience, Big Five lodge, Big Five tea towel: it’s everywhere.

Wildlife at night

From darting bats to big cats, the natural world awakens as evening falls. Mike Unwin journeys to the dark side

Hold that pose: A yellow-footed rock wallaby joey seems fascinated by the lens

Something to declare: Zen and the art of amateur wildlife photography

"Wait, wait, wait … Nearly there …"

Great gathering: the Umhlanga reed dance

Swaziland: Africa’s nutshell nation

Change might be slow here, but it means that cultural traditions thrive, says Mike Unwin

Close encounter: A diver enters a cage to swim near great white sharks ... if there are any around

Mike Unwin: You want wildlife on demand? Prepare to be disappointed

Something to Declare

Traveller’s Guide: African walking safaris

Go one better than a game drive: with a hawk-eyed guide at your side, you can make tracks through the bush and meet the animals on their own terms. By Mike Unwin

Roll with it: tubing in the river near the Hacienda Guachipelín

Where the wild things are: Animal attraction in Costa Rica

Zip-lining down volcanoes? Close encounters with poison dart frogs? Don't worry: Costa Rica is surprisingly family friendly, says Mike Unwin

Bison statues in Winnipeg's Legislative Building

Trail of the unexpected: Winnipeg

Holiday at the heart of things in Canada.

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Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there