My life in travel: Rageh Omaar

'On safari in Kruger National Park, we ate breakfast beside a pod of hippos'

Journalist Rageh Omaar joined ITV News this year as special correspondent (itv.com/news)

First holiday memory?

On the beach in Mogadishu in Somalia, where I was born. It is one of the most beautiful stretches on the Indian Ocean coast: white sand, warm turquoise water and we had the place to ourselves. It was a very different city to what it is now. It's going through a protracted period of insecurity.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

The Erme Estuary in Devon, because we go every summer and have a lovely week there. Also the Black Mountains, because I love walking in the Brecon Beacons.

Best holiday?

Leaving South Africa at the end of my assignment as Africa correspondent for the BBC. Our friends threw a huge leaving party, which left us with very sore heads. Afterwards, my wife and I went for a three-day safari in Kruger National Park. I'll never forget: we had breakfast near a pod of hippos, on a fresh linen tablecloth, beneath a baobab tree.

What have you learnt from your travels?

There's nothing so extraordinary as people. Human beings are a curious, surprising, funny and sometimes maddening breed.

Ideal travelling companion?

My family. My kids have been travelling since they were six months old so nothing fazes them. They've been to places in Africa that few foreign correspondents have ventured to.

Greatest travel luxury?

A good restaurant. When you have your 20-odd days of leave a year, the last thing you want to do is be in the kitchen every night.

Holiday reading?

Because I read so much for work, I take a holiday from reading. My sneaky thing is to borrow books from my kids, like Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl, which are easy and remind me of childhood.

Where has seduced you?

Rural Tuscany. There's a lovely bit around San Gimignano. I love disappearing into an agriturismo, lolling about and visiting little villages. It's such a beautiful, evocative landscape.

Better to travel or arrive?

Before 9/11, I would have said travel. But I think the "war on terror" and the need for added security have killed the romance of travel.

Worst travel experience?

In my line of work, border crossings are always difficult. I remember driving for hours through the night to get to the crossing between Jordan and Iraq, and having to turn back because one of my colleagues didn't have a visa.

Best hotel?

South Africa has had some nice ones in the Cape winelands. We stayed at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek which was pretty amazing. Also, Villa La Massa outside Florence, where I went for my honeymoon.

Best meal abroad?

Osteria Alla Piazza on the road to Siena. The village it's in, Le Piazze, is a hamlet of about four houses, but people come from all around for the restaurant. The food is amazing. The bistecca alla fiorentina (rare T-bone steak) is the speciality.

Favourite city?

Istanbul. I went for the first time about four years ago and immediately fell in love with it. It's everything a city should be: surprising, ancient, diverse and enchanting. A truly magical place.

Where next?

Rural Tuscany again for my summer holidays, staying just outside Castellina in Chianti.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Day In a Page

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor