Nothing beats a local introduction to a misunderstood place, and for that, I owe everything to Meruschka.
Elephants are big creatures, weighing up to 15,000 lbs (much more than a car), and while they are intelligent and gentle, they can also be potentially dangerous to humans, simply because they are so big, versus our own species which is relatively small.
Limestone caves are like McDonalds—they’re pretty much all the same and they’re pretty much everywhere. I admit that my job lands me in some pretty special situations (in the lap of a panda, next to mountain gorillas, or among several thousand baby fur seals), but nothing prepared me for the marvelous wonder and utter cuteness of a little newborn ostrich as it breaks out its giant shell. South Africa offers some of the very best scuba diving in the world, and in my opinion, any passionate diver should make it a priority to travel here and explore the extraordinary underwater landscapes on offer. A jigsaw puzzle of crocuses blooms in front of Copenhagen's Rosenborg Castle, which was built in the 17th century by Denmark’s King Christian IV as a summer retreat—and soon became his preferred residence year-round.Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). Street musicians entertain shoppers outside Torvehallerne, a specialty food market in central Copenhagen that opened two years ago.
Clean lines and open spaces, hallmarks of the Danish aesthetic, define Copenhagen's Opera House. Young patrons linger outside the Copenhagen Opera House, designed by the acclaimed Danish architect Henning Larsen and opened in 2005.
At the Georg Jensen showroom in Copenhagen, sinuous Cobra candlesticks brighten a tabletop. A French bulldog enjoys city sights and smells from his perch on a Copenhagen cargo bicycle.
The same colorful buildings that lined Copenhagen’s Nyhavn ("new harbor") 250 years ago are still welcoming visitors there today. The only vessels allowed into this small harbor are members of the Association of Wooden Boats, or guests with boats of historical interest.
Curving lines and a multistory atrium mark the modern Black Diamond wing of Denmark’s Royal Library, which overlooks Copenhagen’s waterfront. Olives are the headliners at Stig’s Oliven, one of many produce vendors in the Torvehallerne market. Dominating Copenhagen’s Hojbro Square is a statue of warrior-bishop Absalon, credited with founding the city. In 1167 Absalon ordered a fortified castle to be built in the little fishing village that later became known as Copenhagen. National Geographic Traveler’s director of photography, Dan Westergren, has the distinct pleasure (and sometimes pain) of choosing which photographs run in the magazine. The award-winning photographers assigned to our stories come back from the field with such a rich variety of images that it can be hard, if not impossible, to make the final cut.
Honolulu natives George and Kent Kam, brothers, paddle a double-outrigger canoe off Waikiki Beach.
A Samburu warrior gazes out at the mountains from a manmade pool at Sarara Camp, a conservation trust that partners with the indigenous community in Kenya.
Author Mark Jenkins in the process of scaling Devils Tower, one of America’s most ancient sites of worship, in the Black Hills of Wyoming. In Vimianzo, Galicia, wild horses are rounded up and wrestled to the ground by bare-handed men and women so their manes and tails can be trimmed, a tradition known as Rapa das Bestas (taming of the beasts). Quechua women, wearing the dress and hat typical of the Patacancha region, spin vicuna wool into yarn in the Peruvian highlands.
An equestrienne rides sidesaddle in traditional rodeo style at Rancho Santa Emilia, just outside San Miguel de Allende. Models compose their own tableau during a photo shoot in front of the boldly designed new wing of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.
A towering ice arch offers up the ultimate photo op to a group of travelers on a National Geographic Expedition through Antarctica. Some of the photos are great but some of them seem to look quite ordinary… Don’t you think?


Twilight descends over San Miguel de Allende in the central Mexican state of Guanajuato.Read more about Mexico and writer Peter McBride’s quest to track down a famous ancestor in “The Granny Diaries” in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). In San Miguel de Allende, kids dress up to celebrate both Halloween and the Day of the Dead. The church and former monastery of San Francisco de Asis, built by the Spanish in the 17th century, still presides over the historic center of Queretaro, although the monastery now functions as the Museo Regional.Read more about Mexico and writer Peter McBride’s quest to track down a famous ancestor in “The Granny Diaries” in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). The steeple of San Francisco de Asis rises above cloisters ringing a former monastery courtyard in Queretaro, Mexico, the city that was home to Mexico’s revolutionary heroine, La Corregidora.Read more about Mexico and writer Peter McBride’s quest to track down a famous ancestor in “The Granny Diaries” in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). Hidden behind a plain white exterior near the town of San Miguel de Allende is the Sanctuary of Jesus Nazareno de Atotonilco, with walls covered in exuberant murals completed 200 years ago.
In Guanajuato’s Jardin de la Union, a young mariachi riffs on a guitar while his grandfather drums up their next gig. In Guanajuato, writer Peter McBride says, "It is November 1, El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), the first of two days of countrywide celebrations.
At a rodeo at a local ranch near San Miguel de Allende, writer Peter McBride found “an elegant nod to the 1800s, down to such details as horse stalls crafted with hand-hewn timbers.
Relive the adventures of Andrew Evans, who explored Maya sites in southern Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula. One minute I am watching a thousand black-feathered ostriches kicking up the pink dust of the dry Karoo. The man motioned at me from behind the table, lulling me away from the security line at Johannesburg’s Oliver Reginald Tambo International Airport—and so I grabbed my bags and dropped them on the table. On one of the first fine days of spring, author Bruce Schoenfeld found city residents “outside in force, strolling with baby carriages and chatting at cafes.
Author Bruce Schoenfeld says: “I could spend my time in Copenhagen walking the same streets, returning to the same museums, even eating at the same restaurants.
Wavy lines and swimming herring encircle the base of the statue, symbolizing the herring industry, upon which Copenhagen built its wealth.Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here).
So we asked Dan to make an even tougher call: out of all the photos that ran in every single issue of Traveler last year, which were his favorites and why? Urban pictures tend to look alike, and it can be challenging to capture something distinctive. Once we learned that the lake was not as impressive as it had once been, everyone worried that what they would find there would be terribly underwhelming.
His idea was that Devils Tower and the Yosemite Valley were America’s Notre Dame (which provided inspiration for the title of the resulting feature story).
Dave managed to show not only the tradition of falconry in Abu Dhabi, but the varied color and beauty of the desert at its best. Along the way it also became his duty to bring back photographs that would evoke a feeling of old Mexico. Catherine was able to take advantage of a commercial being filmed in front of the Tel Aviv Museum of Art to make an engaging picture. This is a beautiful spot, but if the light was evenly distributed throughout the photo, the village in the foreground would make the view a little junky and busy. One problem photographically is that they are so stunning that it’s pretty easy for a photographer to settle too easily and just take a picture that shows the whole valley and its amazing sweep of green stair steps.
Because of this, photo editors are starting to act jaded when presented with the cold, blue views provided by a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula. Each issue of National Geographic Traveler features superb photography, lively stories and features and a wide range of practical travel advice. November 1 is called All Saints Day, which in many towns is more for the kids, with lots of costumes and candy.


Writer Peter McBride finds beguiling music everywhere: “A man in the audience stands, toasts the rodeo, downs a tequila shot, and begins to sing a ballad of the brokenhearted. Daily we add hundreds of pictures, dozens of videos, flash games, celebrities and other great stuff.
Many must be strangers to each other—it’s a city of more than a million people, after all—but the nods and smiles I see when two groups pass make it seem as if they all know one another, at least by sight.”Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here).
Author Bruce Schoenfeld notes, “From culinary innovation to furniture design to high tech, Danes seem to find imaginative ways to advance the state of the art across disciplines.”Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). Like all textured cities, rich in history and context, Copenhagen rewards familiarity.”Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). A new theater, the Royal Danish Playhouse, opened in 2008 and shimmers along the near bank of the waterfront. It’s hard to go wrong when you’re photographing an outrigger ride with someone that has such an interesting job title! Pete told me about an interesting wildlife camp that they would pass on the way to their final destination. The difference of course is that the visitor doesn’t experience Europe’s great cathedrals by climbing them! By photographing the woman near an open window or door, she was able to show the weaver and her colorful clothes, but also the light, fading as it reaches farther into the dwelling, and how it highlights the second figure just enough to reinforce the activity, but not distract from the primary subject. The museum is an important landmark in the city, and this view makes me stop and look; it also says something about the vibrancy of the city. But, at the time of year she was there, if she waited until the afternoon light struck only the main subject of the scene, the rock would stand out, almost as if by magic, from the water that surrounds it. Ray shot this photo after sundown, allowing the blue sky to add its hue to the overall image, making the picture go beyond the typical rice terrace cliche.
However, Cotton and Sisse brought back a picture for the magazine that could not be ignored. November 2 is the more somber day of remembrance.Read more about Mexico and writer Peter McBride’s quest to track down a famous ancestor in “The Granny Diaries” in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). Sombrero-clad churros gallop through explosions of red earth as escaramuzas (horsewomen) ride sidesaddle in swishy Spanish dresses. Out the windows—the theater’s glass skin—I could see Copenhagen’s compact downtown."Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). I plan to visit a few, mostly to confirm my hunch that the mad scientists at work in the city’s kitchens are the latest manifestation of a creative streak in the national character.”Read more about Copenhagen in "Danish Modern" in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). Husband-and-wife photographer team Sisse and Cotton were faced with the difficult task of making the city look beautiful, while trying to convey a mysterious, spooky feeling. We used it for an online feature about Abu Dhabi, but it didn’t make the cut for the magazine. I really like the way it serves as a close up and distant landscape picture at the same time.
Bulls snort and mariachis trumpet.”Read more about Mexico and McBride’s quest to track down a famous ancestor in “The Granny Diaries” in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here). I must point out that it was not by accident that they booked a room overlooking Castle Square, the most visited square in Warsaw.
I head back downtown at dusk."Read more about Mexico and McBride’s quest to track down a famous ancestor in “The Granny Diaries” in the November 2013 issue of National Geographic Traveler (subscribe here).



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