Based in Willingham

Helen Bateman

Available for new enquiries

It's Nice To Meet You

Sustainable Travel Expert

We all travel for different reasons; perhaps to lose ourselves on a sun drenched beach, or to find ourselves in a far off land. Some travel to walk in the footsteps of those who have gone before, whilst others to blaze new trails. Travel provides us with those meaningful moments that last a lifetime.

I will craft your holiday with all the care and attention you deserve, using first hand experience. Having worked as a tour leader of overlanding tours all over Africa, Asia and the Americas, I appreciate the finer details of what makes a trip memorable and have plenty of insights to share. I've camped in the Okavango delta, danced at Rio Carnival, hiked the Himalayas and cycled in Europe. I've driven from Beijing to Istanbul, sailed a felluca on the Nile, paddled the Amazon and slept in the Serengeti. Travel is my greatest passion, and I'd love nothing more than to share this with you.

I specialise in active adventures, safaris, family holidays and bespoke, tailor-made experiences in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Because I'm independent and not tied to any particular operator, I work with local suppliers from all over the world. Whatever your aspirations for your holiday, I will work with you to plan your perfect trip.

I'm passionate about sustainable travel and was selected as one of TTG's Sustainable Travel Ambassadors in 2023, completing a programme of training to build my knowledge to support eco-conscious traveller. I have teamed up with Trees 4 Travel and plant a tree for every client who travels with me, this is matched by the project, to grow our impact even further. I have most recently completed the Sustainable Travel Masterclass with Kiwano and have joined their community of ambassadors.

I know how important it is to feel confident your travel plans are in safe hands, which is why at Travel Counsellors we offer full financial protection on every element of your booking through our financial trust and ATOL bond. We are always here when you need us, with 24/7 support for you whilst on your travels. We have a 5-star Trust Pilot score, award winning customer service and were named Money Saving Expert's number one travel company for looking after customers during the pandemic.

I am always excited to talk travel, whether you know exactly what you're looking for, or you need some inspiration. I am available at a time to suit you whether that be in the evenings or over the weekend, so let's get planning your dream holiday.

I look forward to working with you.


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I design tailor-made holidays to suit your interests, style and aspirations. I take care of everything - so you can put your feet up and enjoy your holiday.

Sustainable travel tips


Here are a couple of ideas for how to travel more sustainably.

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Here are my top tips for planning your safari trip in Africa.

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I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.

The charm of Suriname

13 March 2024

Hidden well away from the tourist trail at the very far north of South America between Venezuela and Brazil, are the Guianas, and in the middle of the three is the former Dutch Colony of Suriname. The country is one of the least populated in the world, and yet is home to a hugely diverse group of people - from the indigenous Amerindians, to Creoles and Marrons, Dutch settlers and other Europeans, as well Indian and Chinese who came across in 19th Century for contract work. Mosques stand side by side with Hindu temples, Paramaribo houses one of the largest wooden buildings in the western hemisphere, in the form of the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral. A trip into the jungles of Suriname allow you to visit the Amerindian villages, whilst the streets of Paramaribo are full of colonial architecture and historic buildings. One of the smallest countries in South America, Suriname sits on the Guiana Shield, the worlds largest expanse of undisturbed tropical rainforest. Over 90% of it is forest and home to big cats such as jaguar and puma, over 1000 bird species, Caiman, Giant River Otters, as well as hundreds of reptiles and amphibians. There’s no questions that Suriname is the wildlife photographers dream! When to go? Suriname is typically hot, with temperatures of up to 30 degrees, but sea and river breezes make this more enjoyable. There’s two rainy seasons - from November to February and May to August. However its not uncommon to experience rain even in the dry seasons. The rains tend to be heavy and last a few hours, but they notably lower the temperature, so if you don’t mind getting wet, they can be quite pleasant. March to April and September to December are the dryer seasons, with Turtle viewing in March and April. What to do? Any visit to Suriname would include a visit to the capital, Paramaribo, or Parbo, as its also known locally. This pretty UNESCO listed city is home to great restaurants, cafes, stunning wooden buildings and loads of friendly locals. I’d recommend heading out on a boat trip to see the Dolphins playing in the Suriname River, go with who will take you out for a few hours at Sunset, fill you with drinks and local snacks and even visit a local village on the other side of the river! Take a boat into the jungle interior from a little village called Atjoni, where you can spend a couple of nights in Cabins on the banks of the Suriname river, visiting remote villages, trekking jungle trails or simply sitting by the river watching the kingfishers diving for fish. You could hire a bike and make your own way across the river from Leonsberg to the Commewijne plantation area and explore on your own (about 15usd, including bike hire and chartering your own boat), which makes for a relaxing afternoon. Alternatively join an organised full day tour where you’ll learn the history of the Plantations, sample Javanese Cuisine and taste some of the local rum! run a ‘The Sugar Trail’ tour. For Food… When in Suriname you have to sample some of the local options, such as Bakabana, which are deep fried plantains, served with peanut sauce as a dessert, Satao - an Indonesian style soup with shredded potato and bean sprouts and Loempia - Surinamese Spring rolls! The influence of the Hindustani people (forming 27% of the population), descendants of the Indian workers from the 19th century means Rotis, Pakoras and Samosas are daily staples! You also don’t have to look far for great Chinese food, since there’s a huge number of ‘old’ and ‘new’ Chinese migrants here, who dominate the supermarket scene. A good option for lunch if you don’t mind the relaxed service is De Waag, on the waterfront, who serve great pastas, salads in a lovely open courtyard. There’s a lively bar and restaurant area not far from Fort Zeelandia where you can grab a bite to eat and enjoy a few drinks in one of the open bars.

There’s more to Brazil than meets the eye

13 March 2024

We’ve all heard of Rio Carnival and the mighty Iguacu falls, some of us may have even been lucky enough to search for Jaguar in the Pantanal, but Brazil has much more to offer those travellers venturing off the tourist trail – especially those in search of great, unspoilt hiking trails. Brazil is home to some of the most impressive and isolated National Parks in the world. There are nearly 70 national parks, with intriguing grottoes and caverns, mountains, vast savannahs and mighty forests and vast bird and wildlife. Among my favourite national parks are the Chapada Diamantina and the Chapada dos Veadeiros, few people have even heard of these parks, let alone visited them, but they are well worth the journey. Perhaps one of the biggest draws to walking the trails in these parks is the quantity of inviting pools and rivers, perfectly placed for a refreshing dip. This region of Brazil enjoys a great climate, and it’s a fantastic place to camp, to enjoy a camp fire and star gaze. The Chapada Diamantina has got to be one of the most stunning parks in the world; below the surface it contains large underground cave systems and rock formations, crystal clear pools and grottoes; perfect for a morning exploration. Above ground you can kayak, hike, bike and ride your way around the mountains. The gateway town of Lencois is a beautifully colourful town, full of great places to eat and wander. Chapada dos Veadeiros sharing the same parallel as Machu Picchu and rumoured to have mystic powers, perhaps endorsed by the huge amount of quartz rock formations. The park hosts a huge number of waterfalls and plentiful wildlife. If you’re in the area, a few things we think you shouldn’t miss out on: 1. Try the acarajé- Bahia’s signature street food; a fried fritter of black eyed beans and shrimp. 2. Catch a Capoeira show on in the cultural capital of Salvador 3. Wander the colonial streets of Ouro Preto and treat yourself to a real Brazilian coffee or hot chocolate in the town square.

My Sustainable Travel Pledge

03 November 2023

I'm a passionate advocate for the environment and committed to embedding sustainability into my life and business. It's important to recognise the impact of travel on the planet, but also that tourism has an incredible role to play in contributing to worldwide sustainable development. I want to proactively offer holidays which are good for people and planet through my business and as an individual I recognise the need to be more mindful and transparent in my personal travel planning. This is my Sustainable Travel Pledge... SLOW TRAVEL To travel slower and overland as far as I can, to make the most of the adventure. COMMUNITY To seek out opportunities to learn about local life, and support local economies by eating and staying in locally owned establishments. I will promote activity which serves communities first and which has a positive impact on the environment. PLASTICS and WASTE I will avoid plastics by carrying reusable bags and water bottles. I will be mindful of food waste within the tourism industry and promote hotels and suppliers which are actively reducing waste. WILDLIFE I will not visit, promote or sell unethical wildlife attractions. I will be an advocate for animals by sharing neutral advice with my clients and promoting a world free from animal exploitation. LOCAL PRODUCE I will eat locally sourced produce as far as possible & enjoy the local cuisine when I travel. CARBON I will plan my travel and activity more mindfully, looking for the most sustainable travel options and keeping a record of my travel carbon footprint, so that I can seek to reduce it year on year.

Animal Welfare Policy

03 November 2023

My vision is that all animals encountered on a holiday booked with me are free from exploitation, neglect and cruelty. I support an end to the capture of animals from the wild for the purposes of entertainment, and encourage the conservation of natural habitats and their wildlife. I will not promote, sell, nor endorse any attractions that have animals in captivity, or where animals are kept for the sole purpose of entertainment. This does not include ‘protected areas’ such as national parks or reserves where animals are free to roam and express natural behaviours. Our customers will be encouraged to report bad practice where any of the guidelines outlined below are not adhered to. The Five Freedoms Animal attractions and wildlife excursions will be measured against the Five Freedoms outlined in ABTA’s Global Welfare Guidance for Animals in Tourism. 1. Feeding: There is an absence of prolonged hunger or thirst in all animals. 2. Housing: All animals are kept in sufficient housing where they have access to comfort while resting, thermal comfort, and ease of movement. 3. Health: There is absence of injury, disease, or pain induced by inappropriate housing or management. 4. Behaviour: Animals are able to express natural behaviours, including social behaviours, in a positive emotional state, with positive human-animal relationship. Non-natural behaviours are not encouraged nor induced. 5. Protection from Fear: There is an absence of general fear or distress, and animals are able to seek privacy or refuge. There is an absence of surgical or physical modification other than for genuine medical reasons, and animals are regularly checked by specialised veterinarians. Protection of Endangered Animals Animal attractions and wildlife excursions must comply with CITES requirements (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), which is legally binding. 1. Trade of elephants (live or dead) and elephant parts is illegal 2. Trade of tigers (live or dead) and tiger parts is illegal 3. Trade of primates (live or dead) and primate parts is illegal 4. Trade of marine animals (live or dead) and marine animal parts is illegal Unless there is a conservation breeding program in place, elephants, tigers, primates and marine mammals should not be acquired from the wild. Animals in the Wild Animal viewing and wildlife excursions where animals are in their natural environment or a protected area, will be measured against the following practices. 1. Rules and guidelines are in place to protect vulnerable ecosystems e.g. waste management. 2. A safe distance should be kept, with disturbing sounds kept to a minimum 3. For marine wildlife, a vessel distance of minimum 100m to any whale and 50m to any dolphin must be maintained 4. Feeding should be limited, encouraging animals to practice natural feeding behaviours e.g. hunting and foraging 5. Free-roaming animals in wild should never be touched or picked up Working Animals in Tourism Working animals in tourism can include: • Equine including horses, donkeys and ponies, used to pull/carry loads or people • Camels, used to transport goods or people • Sled dogs, used to transport goods or people The promotion of practices involving working animals will be measured by animal welfare in relation to the principles of the Five Freedoms, in addition to: 1. Animals should have regular rest periods of at least 1 hour between working periods 2. Animals should only work within their physical capabilities (loads are not in excess of 15% of their body weight) 3. Equipment should be well maintained, fit appropriately, and removed during rest periods 4. Tethering is discouraged and should be limited to a few hours a day. Animals should be able to exercise movement without putting tension on the tether, and reach basic resources such as food, water and shade 5. Young, pregnant, ill or injured animals should not be ridden or required to carry loads We recognise that many working animals in tourism provide the sole income for their owner and their families, and that this has been a long tradition within their communities. We support the training and education of communities to ensure a sustainable livelihood whilst providing appropriate care and management of healthy, working animals. Unacceptable Practices We consider the following practices as unacceptable, both in captive environments and in the wild. 1. Animal performances based on non-natural behaviour e.g. elephant parades 2. Animals used as photographic props involving bad practice e.g. tiger declawing 3. Animals used for begging e.g. dancing bears, snake charming 4. Animal breeding for commercial trade 5. Trophy hunting 6. Unlicensed zoos Ultimately, I believe that wildlife should be free from exploitation and disturbance. I will always offer neutral information and advice about ethical wildlife viewing to help protect and care for animals. I want to ensure that travellers are able to enjoy their holidays and that tourism is a force for good. Our Animal Welfare Policy has been established on guidance taken from The Travel Foundation, ABTA, CITES and the Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Planning your dream honeymoon

02 July 2023

Planning a honeymoon is an exciting and memorable experience. As your personal travel advisor, I'm here to help you make the most of this special journey. Here are five tips to consider when planning your dream honeymoon: 1. Choosing your Destination: A honeymoon is your opportunity to take that trip of a lifetime, so it’s important to consider the weather and travel season before setting the date for your big day. Are you looking for a relaxing beach getaway, a cultural adventure, or an adrenaline-packed honeymoon? Discuss your options and narrow down destinations that cater to your desires. 2. Start Early: Begin the planning process as early as possible. Honeymoons are popular, and the best accommodations and flights tend to book up quickly. By starting early, you'll have a better chance of securing your preferred destinations, hotels, and activities. 3. Set a Realistic Budget: Determine your honeymoon budget upfront. It's essential to have a clear idea of how much you're willing to spend on accommodations, transportation, meals, and activities. With a budget in mind, you can make informed decisions and prioritise what's most important to you. 4. Consider a Honeymoon Gift Registry: A registry allows your friends and family to contribute towards the cost of your honeymoon. This ensures that you don’t end up with too many toasters, and your loved ones know they’re contributing to a trip of a lifetime. 5. Plan for Some Downtime: While it's tempting to fill your itinerary with non-stop activities, you will no doubt appreciate some time to relax after your big day. 6. Personalise Your Experience: Add special touches to make your honeymoon truly unforgettable. Remember, your honeymoon is all about celebrating your love and starting your journey together as a married couple. With careful planning and attention to detail, your dream honeymoon will become a cherished memory that will last a lifetime. I am here to take all the hassle away from your honeymoon planning, so please give me a call any time to discuss it.

Reasons to book with me

21 June 2023

Here are some fantastic reasons why you should choose to travel with Helen Bateman Travel. 1. Personalised attention: As your trusted travel advisor, I'll take the time to understand your preferences, needs, and budget, ensuring your holiday is tailor-made just for you. 2. Expert guidance: With my extensive knowledge and experience in the travel industry, I can provide you with insider tips, hidden gems, and recommendations for the best destinations, accommodations, and activities. 3. Stress-free planning: Let's face it, planning a holiday can be overwhelming. But worry not! I'll handle all the nitty-gritty details, from flights and accommodations to transfers, insurance and excursions, saving you time & energy, so you can relax & look forward to your trip. 4. Exclusive deals and discounts: As a UK-based travel agent & tour operator, I have access to a wide network of trusted suppliers and partnerships, allowing me to secure fantastic deals and discounts that you won't find elsewhere. 5. Safety and security: Your well-being is my top priority. I'll ensure that all the accommodations, airlines, and tour operators I recommend uphold the highest standards of safety. By operating through Travel Counsellors, I ensure all your bookings are secure and protected, so you can focus on making lasting memories. 6. Ongoing support: From the moment you book until you return home, I'm just a phone call or email away. Whether you have a question, need assistance, or encounter any unexpected issues, I'll be there to support you every step of the way. 7. The MyTC app makes managing your travel plans effortless. Allowing for secure payments, keeping all your documents in one place, live flight updates – MyTC puts everything you need right at your fingertips. 8. Responsible Travel: I have recently joined TTG's Sustainable Travel Ambassador programme, involving a whole range of training to improve my own knowledge of sustainable tourism to ensure that the tours I recommend make a positive impact in the countries they visit. So, why wait? Let's start planning your dream holiday together.

Sustainable Travel

21 June 2023

I believe that travel can be a force for good in the world, and when done well, can offer many benefits, such as supporting local businesses, supporting wildlife, environment and habitat conservation, preserving cultural heritage & contributing to long-term economic stability. As travellers, we have a chance to learn about different cultures, customs and perspectives and engage in meaningful interactions with local communities and their lands. Here are some ideas for travelling more sustainably; 1. Pack light - bringing fewer things means less weight for transportation, which in turn reduces carbon emissions. Plus, it's easier to get around without lugging around a ton of stuff! 2. Ditch the plastic - bring a reusable water bottle and refill it whenever you can. You can use a water-to-go bottle which filters any water you choose to use. Take a cotton bag with you on trips to markets and shops. 3. Slow down - consider taking a train or a bus to travel overland where possible. You'll get to see the scenery and reduce your carbon footprint. Plus, you won't have to deal with all the airport hassle. 4. Stay local, support small businesses - opt for local accommodations, shops, tours and restaurants. Not only will you experience authentic hospitality, but you'll also be supporting the local economy. 5. Explore on foot or bike - a fantastic way to discover hidden gems and connect with the local culture. 6. Choose eco-friendly activities - seek out tours and experiences that prioritise sustainability and respect for nature. Whether it's hiking, wildlife watching, or visiting eco-friendly attractions, you'll be making memories while leaving a minimal impact on the environment. 7. Respect the local environment and culture - treat the places you visit as if they were your own home. Take away any rubbish you take into national parks, stay on designated paths, and be mindful of local customs and traditions.

Winter sun in the Canaries

25 February 2023

My parents have been jetting off to the Canary islands almost every winter since their retirement, and for good reason. The island is bathed in gentle sunshine for much of the winter, enjoying longer hours of daylight and offers the ideal escape from our icy paths and chilly winds. Luckily for me, my parents had once again booked a spacious villa with extra bedrooms, allowing me to join them for a week of fun in the sun. We stayed in the south of Gran Canaria in Puerto Pico, which sits in a small valley leading to a golden beach, lined with laid-back cafes. Swimming in the sea is a delight, if a little fresh, due to being in a semi-enclosed bay. From the harbour it’s possible to head out on all manner of boat trips; dolphin watching, canoeing, jet-skiing, glass bottom boats and sailing. We took the hourly ferry across to the pretty fishing village of Puerto de Mogán. With its small sheltered beach, canals and painted villas, it is affectionately known as ‘little Venice’ and offers a selection of cafes and restaurants around its marina. It’s easy to lose a couple of hours with a glass or two of sangria and tapas of Canarian potatoes, Padron peppers and fried cheese. For families, you’ll no doubt be drawn to the Angry Birds play park, where the kids can be blasted with foam, splash about, clamber across elaborate climbing frames and generally have a great time. The restaurants all have the typical offering of tasty food, but some of the standouts for me were along the marina view area; Rhodos Palace featuring a Greek menu (be sure to book ahead) and next door Restaurant Grill J&J, offering pizzas, steak and BBQ. For breakfast or lunch, the Golden Beach offers friendly service, good food and is right on the beach. So as I head back to Suffolk, as if playing holiday tag, my brother and his family head out from Newcastle for their turn. Right after them groups of my parent’s friends gather, switching golf and spa days in the north east, for cocktails and sunbathing in GC. Gran Canaria would seem to have become a home from home for the Batemans. Can I help you plan your trip to Gran Canaria? Please get in touch to talk through some of the options available on the island. #travel #GranCanaria #GreatDestination #puertorico #puertomogan #wintersun #makingmemories #helenbatemantravel

A long weekend in Venice

20 April 2023

Staying in the Castello area of Venice meant we could escape the tourist hubbub and enjoy a more laid-back vibe. Space to sip our Aperol Spritz overlooking the water, wander the quiet green Giardini (gardens) and streets around the Arsenale di Venezia. We could buy fruit and veg from boats that pulled up in the canal, a pleasant change from the 'Amazon by boat' deliveries. We loved just getting lost in Venice. We didn’t make a lot of plans, simply followed our noses along the maze of cobbled stoned streets and alleys, over bridges and into grander squares, marvelling at the incredible feat of Venetian architecture. Just being amongst the tall, imposing buildings is an inspiring experience and on every corner there’s a café waiting to serve you a coffee and tasty snack. When in Venice, its customary to go for an apertivo at a local bar to enjoy drinks and 'cicchetti'. As we had our fair share of rain, we were happy to partake. Across most of the tables in Venice you'll note the drink of choice is generally orange; a trademark Aperol spritz. The cicchetti served are a range of small snacks such as meatballs, crostini, sandwiches and pickled or baked seafood or vegetables. Cichetti is eaten at any time of the day and it will only set you back a few euros. Getting around in Venice is easy on foot, though there are many bridges and cobblestones, the vaporetto (water bus) is convenient, you can also catch water taxis or take a trip in a gondola, though be prepared for the eye watering prices. If you're interested in art, then you shouldn't miss a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood, which displays 20th Century European and American art. I would recommend taking a boat around the lagoon to the islands of Burano, Murano and Torcello, to see the brightly coloured houses, wonderful architecture and maybe go to a Murano glass workshop & wander the lace shops. Another highlight of a trip to Venice is a tour of St Mark's Basilica, one of the most incredible cathedrals in the world, to witness the marbles and mosaics. It is recommended to book ahead as the queues are enormous! On arrival at the Marco Polo airport, we opted to take the ATVO bus to the Piazzale Roma, which takes around 20 minutes. From there we caught a vaporetto (water bus) around to Castello, giving us a wonderful evening introduction to Venice by night. It's also possible to have an airport transfer arranged, where you'll be taken directly from the airport to the pier to meet a water taxi - taking any hassle out of the journey. Please get in touch if you're thinking of a trip to Venice, I'd love to help you plan it! #Travel #Helenbatemantravel #Italy #Venice

Getting off the Gringo Trail in Guyana

13 March 2024

There are few places in South America that can claim to have fewer visitors in a whole year, as Machu Picchu does in a day - welcome to Guyana. Georgetown, the capital, was built below sea level, so is protected from the Atlantic ocean by a 280 mile sea wall, and drained by a canal system designed by the Dutch, which releases excess water from the city’s Canals into the ocean at low tide. Georgetown houses a number of incredible architectural treasures from St George’s Cathedral, reputedly the tallest wooden building in the world at 143ft to The High Court, which has a rather battered statue of Queen Victoria outside, The Stabroek Market is also an interesting building, first designed to be a railway station, but following the removal of the railway line (it was sold to Nigeria after independence) it was decided that it should house the main Georgetown market - check out the four-faced clock tower. The famous Georgetown lighthouse, perhaps not prettiest landmark in town was built to guide ships into the Demerera River from the Atlantic, built in 1817, however when the Marriot Hotel was built, it obscured the lighthouse, so the beacon had to be moved to the roof of the Marriot (an even less pretty lighthouse). Check out Georgetown’s National Park and Botanical Gardens to see some birdlife and watch the local kids feeding grass to the resident manatees (water cows), who used to be kept in the Canals to help keep them clear. Guyana’s big claim to fame, is its spectacular waterfalls - Kaieteur Falls, which are one of the worlds highest single drop waterfalls, made even more impressive by their remoteness - the only ways to get here are a 5 day hike and boat or a 1hr flight in a light aircraft, on arrival you’ll spend two hours walking the short trail to the viewpoints, search for the tiny Golden frogs in the Tank Bromilieads and hopefully catch a glimpse of the Cock of the Rocks - we were lucky to see all three - but as the rainclouds rolled in, the waterfalls were covered in clouds and we got a complete soaking! Top tip - bring a dry bag to leave in the lodge so you can have a change of clothes, bring an umbrella and a waterproof pouch for your phone, passport and wallet. Regardless how good you think your waterproofs are - they’re no match for the Guyanese rains! Whilst I got away with doing the trail in flip flops, it probably would be advisable to wear something with a little more grip for the trail. Really Guyana is all about the interior, with only a dirt road to cross from Linden to Lethem and nearby Brazil, this pristine tropical rainforest is kept wild and undisturbed. No trip to Guyana would be complete without spending time exploring the jungle and savannah lodges. Guyana has a thriving Community Tourism initiative, with many lodges being run and managed by indigenous Amerindian communities who offer guided bird walks, community visits and wildlife spotting. Each lodge has its own appeal and claim to fame and differs from the next, so they are not in competition, but rather complement each other. So, from visiting the Caiman House to Giant River Otter research, from Community projects to bird watching, there’s a wide variety of activities. I’d recommend a visit to Surama Eco-Lodge, which is based in a small Savannah area surrounded by Surama Mountain on one side and Burro Burro Mountain on the other, the open communal area has stunning views and guests are kept company by the rather boisterous bright yellow and black weaver birds. En route to Surama, it’s even possible to trek a short trail to hopefully catch a glimpse of the iconic bright orange Cock of the Rock. Everything is solar powered here, even water is purified using solar power. Another must do in the Interior is the Iwokrama canopy walkway, 100ft above the jungle floor, it’s possible to sight Tucans and Macaws, and just soak up the atmosphere at bird level! It’s possible to see evidence of the big cats in the area with the aid of Camera traps here, Jaguar, Puma, Ocelots, all wander the jungle, but of course they are extremely illusive. Another rare sight is the Harpy Eagle, which hunts below the forest canopy for monkeys. Guests at the Atta Rainforest lodge will be taken on a jungle trail, with a couple of keen eyed guides and telescope to try to spot the bird life, despite the volume and diversity of the rainforest it is still remarkably difficult to spot the birds and monkeys, so when you do catch sight of a Red Howler Monkey or a Black Spider Monkey, it’s really very exciting. Even relaxing in a hammock around the camp, there are regular visits from Red Brockett Deer (we saw two and one youngster) as well as Red rumped Agoutis (a little like a giant Guinea pig). Things to know (based on UK FCDO advice for British passport holders, updated 13/03/24) - Guyana is South America's only English-speaking country! - Passports must have at least 6 months validity, after the date you arrive. - You don't need a visa to enter Guyana. - You can stay for 30 days, for more than this, you can apply for an extension. - Check the yellow fever requirements before travel (eg if you've travelled through a country listed as a transmission risk) To bring - Being in the rainforest, there’s one thing you’re sure to encounter even in the dry season is a lot of rain. This isn’t a problem, there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad preparation! The rains lower the temperature a little too which is always welcome. To make life a little easier though, things to remember are: Waterproof Poncho, Torch, Powerpacks, with all the solar energy here, be aware that there is not always electricity at the lodges. Flip flops / waterproof shoes, Waterproof pouch for phones and cameras, Even an umbrella will be useful here! Getting around - - International flights from London Gatwick to Georgetown take around 11.5 hours, with British Airways & a stop off in the Caribbean. - It's possible to take a minibus from Paramaribo to Georgetown (allow approx 12hrs) - Georgetown to Letham and onwards to Brazil is another 17 hours (departs Georgetown at 6pm - arrive Letham around 11am) - Georgetown to Iwokrama - 12 hours (using the Lethem minibuses) all travel is overnight to avoid the heat of the day! - Internal flights - in around an hour you can fly from Georgetown to the incredible Kaieteur Falls or Lethem to Georgetown. I'd recommend staying at least a week in Guyana and combining it with a visit to Suriname and possibly French Guiana.

Travelling slow in Kyrgyzstan

25 February 2023

It is impossible to be disappointed by Kyrgyzstan, with its alpine like valleys, high altitude lakes, mountain ranges, horsemanship and friendly local people. We entered Kyrgyzstan on the eastern edge from China, having setting off on our journey from Kashgar. After lots of border bureaucracy we crossed the 3752m Torugart Pass, which is enough to take your breath away, but remember to keep the camera handy. We spent our first night camping at a yurt camp near the old caravanserei at Tash Rabat. Here we had time to explore the old building and get acclimatised to a complete change of pace from western China. During our trip we stayed in the capital of Bishkek, before heading to the 'gorgeous' Ala Archa gorge to make camp and enjoy the hiking trails. Another breath-taking opportunity came soon after when we took to the white waters at Chong Kemin for rafting, needless to say the 1530m altitude ensured the waters were fresh! Next up was the Jeti Oguz valley for more camping, hiking and horse riding (where we met the lads in the photo) One of the most beautiful hikes takes you to the glacier, or nearer by you can explore the waterfalls. In Kochkor we met one of the famed Eagle hunters, with his beloved golden eagle. The hunters and their eagles have an amazing bond developed over long periods of time. My highlight was the super high (and chilly) Song Kul Lake, which is only accessible in summer due to the snows, so we were lucky to get there. We slept in yurts, all huddled together, making it surprisingly warm! During the day we witnessed some of the traditional Krygyz games which all involved displays of horsemanship. Most impressively, a ring is dropped on the floor and at full gallop the rider has to reach drop to pick it up - now the horses aren't that small - its was brilliant. Also on display was goat polo, the winning team taking home the winnings for dinner, wrestling from horse back and chasing each other around in return for anything from a kiss, to marriage (apparently)! Lower in the valleys we encountered walnut forests in Arslanbob, wild camped near incredible lakes (you can see we even took a dip whilst we waiting for dinner! What a trip - writing this, makes me want to go back as soon as possible!

Serengeti and Ngorongoro NP Safari

25 February 2023

We combined a visit to the Serengeti with the Ngorongoro crater for an incredible safari experience. Our first night was spent camping in the Serengeti, the second of the edge of the crater rim. We had sturdy dome tents, perfect for a night in the wild and each camping area had an enclosed cooking area to keep our sausages from being snaffled by a lion! The Ngorongoro crater is a conservation area in northern Tanzania and home Africa's 'big 5' (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino). During our safari we saw herds of wildebeests and zebras grazing the plains, along with elephants, hippos, rhinos, lions, hyenas, fox, ostrich and much more. The scenery is dramatic and it feels amazing to be in a basin surrounded by so much wildlife. - Don't forget an extra battery & SD card for the camera. - Wrap up warm for morning safaris - it's pretty chilly! - Wildlife viewing in the crater is excellent all year round - The peak of the wet season is March & April, when it is also colder. The peak visiting time is July to March. - June to October will give you the most sunshine #travel #tanzania #ngorongorocrater #safari #wildlife #wildlifephotography #helenbatemantravel

My customer stories

Sent by Jessica Cripps

Helen really knows how to find the perfect holiday destination that you’re looking for. She will support you through your choices and she will never guide you wrong.

Sent by Sian Clare

Helen has been fantastic. She really listens to what you want when planning your holiday. The whole process was very easy and hassle free, it took all the stress out of planning. The holiday to Costa Rica she has planned for us exceeds what we were hoping for. She is highly professional and conscientious and just lovely to deal with, I would highly recommend Helen if you to take the stress out of booking and have a fabulous holiday planned for you.

Sent by Ann Bateman

Helen organised the Theatre Break with accommodation quickly and efficiently. Could not ask for a better service.

Sent by Heidi Baker

I had never used a travel agent before so was a little unsure at first. Helen listed to what we wanted and found the perfect holiday to suit. She was fast to reply to messages and incredibly professional. I loved the way the information was laid out and sent to me. It’s comforting to know there is someone at the end of the phone should I have any questions. Will definitely be using her again in the future! Thank you Helen!

Sent by Sonia Withey

So patient with us as were quite demanding clients!

Sent by Antony Carter

Helen has been excellent. I will be using her again and recommending her to friends. Tony

Sent by James Bateson

Helen has been very helpful and always on hand for any questions, would happily recommend her!

Sent by Sally Dalby

I’m gave already recommended Helen to friends, great service!

Sent by Dylan Hughes

Absolute pleasure to deal with and would recommend her highly

Sent by Marie Skov

Great experience interacting with Helen. She provided be with different options, and guided me the chose what best fitted my needs.

Sent by Helen Ives

Very helpful all through the booking process. Even tried to ring Singapore on our behalf at 05.00!

Sent by Patrick Dodgson

Helen's dedication to her clients is truly remarkable. She goes above and beyond to ensure that every aspect of your travel plans is tailored to your exact preferences.

Sent by Camille Nickson

Helen was amazing in her knowledge, very helpful and patient with tailor making our trip.

Sent by Jill Styles

Great service.

Sent by Grace Carlin

We will always be using Helen from now on to book our holidays.

Sent by Emily Cushion

Very professional, very quick responses, excellent knowledge.

Sent by Susan Hutt

It was great to be able to discuss with Helen our ideas and to get her feed back. Talking to her made us feel more adventurous and the itinerary we came up with - with her considerable input - looks great.

Sent by Rachael Hosey

Helen was wonderful to book a holiday with and I would definitely recommend her services!

Sent by Karen Horsup

Really helpful and wanted to understand what we were really looking for as a family.

Sent by Vivian Greensmith

A totally unique, personal , affable, approachable Lady. Nothing has been too much effort matching our every request from the very beginning I met Helen. An absolute pleasure to speak with and I just want to say. Thank You so much for simply being kind and understanding .

Sent by Georgina Hayward

I'll never book another holiday again without using Helen!

Sent by Clair Prew

Outstanding help and support from Helen - delivered always in such a cheery and helpful manner. Would not hesitate to recommend. And the most wonderful personal touch of a thank you card received after in the post assuring us of on going support whenever needed. What a great level of personal and customer service

Sent by Alison Borrman

Helen has been superb in dealing with our family holiday. There were many changes made by us at the beginning as we are meeting our overseas family in the middle, which could have been difficult. However Helen was very patient with us and helped us with our options. Helen dealt with the whole booking process, from airport parking, tours at our destination and insurance. Making the experience very stress free. Nothing was a problem for Helen. The most relaxing holiday booking I’ve made. We cannot wait to go!

Sent by Joanne Calver

Helen was brilliant as we didn’t give her much to go on for a holiday. We just knew the dates which being February steered us to the Canaries for some sun. She was patient and listened to our needs and now we have booked what looks to be a great holiday. I downloaded the App and this means I can easily show friends and family what we have booked.?? Well done Helen.

Sent by Grace Carlin

Helen is just fabulous. Quick at responding and a great deal too, I cannot wait for our holiday.

Sent by Krystal Jones

Helen answers all queries quickly. Her emails are comprehensive and informative. She has a lovely manner and inspires confidence

Sent by Andrea Cushion

What a fab way to book a holiday! From the start Helen was there listening/suggesting/advising and we’ve ended up with a break to really look forward to. All sorted within a few…all we have to do is pay and pack. Thanks Helen. Xx

Sent by Victoria Nussbaumer

We in fact recommended Helen already to friends. Her knowledge on travel is unmatched, and she fully got what we wanted and allowed us to make changes until it was 100% perfect. We cannot wait to go on our adventure and explore Vietnam.

Sent by Beverley Snowball

Very quick friendly service! Helen has loads of personal experience which is always helpful. We are going to ask Helen to look at something in India for the end of the year. Thank you Helen x

Sent by Adrian Coe

Helen has shown great support and kindness in finding us what we hope is a fabulous trip, for me it’s taking the stress and hassle away from trying to gauge a super nice location based on what we wanted for this particular trip. I couldn't recommend her enough and for sure she will receive our future business.

Sent by Tim Lowe

We’d picked out a holiday before contacting Helen. She told us she could book the same holiday at the same price we could have done direct but her experience allowed her to offer an alternative holiday, which we wouldn’t have found without her involvement and which better suited our needs. I can’t recommend Helen and Travel Counsellors enough.

Sent by Lesley Dodgson

Helen inspires trust, confidence and commitment to detail when planning a short trip or an adventure of a lifetime. I have recommended her to my friends and family and am looking forward to holidays that she has organised for me.

Sent by Imogen Hayward

Friendly, efficient, patient and accommodating - fulfilled our brief and we can’t wait for our holiday!

Sent by Roz Beeson

After taking a trip with Helen in southern India I would not hesitate in recommending her as a travel advisor. She was a very good trip leader, professional but friendly, has excellent people management skills and had good knowledge about the locations we went to. She organised very good hotels and found incredible experiences for the group that no one would find on their own. Helen is so passionate about travel that it can’t help but rub off on those around her!!

Sent by Doreen Thomson

My first overlanding trip was run by Helen Bateman . There is no words to explain the amazing adventure we had. Thanks to the professional attention to detail and the time Helen spent making sure the trip was one we would never forget for all the right reasons. I would recommend letting Helen take care of planning your adventure, anyone can book you a flight and a hotel but with years of travelling experience, if you're looking for something different then she will make it happen.

Sent by Heather Grealy

My first Dragoman Overland trip, the best trip of my life time, was from Cape Town to Cairo, five months with Helski (otherwise known as Helen) as our Tour Leader come shared truck driver with Tim (what a combination) which Helen did so well. Five months, a long time on the road, but Helski was in her element. Very professional with her organising, bookkeeping, driving, keeping everything running smoothly no matter what, nothing seemed to faze her. The gorilla loop in Rwanda was the highlight for me! I'm sure, as Helen has travelled extensively around the world she has a wealth of knowledge that she can use to help travellers to organise their own special holidays.

Sent by Mike Hamilton

I travelled continuously from 2014-2017 and after a few years off I’ve been been back on the road since early 2022. In all that time I’ve met a LOT of people — both fellow travellers and travel professionals— and I can honestly say that Helen is the most professional, organized, resourceful, unflappable and all-around decent person I’ve met. Not “one of” but the one! She was tour leader and co-driver for the 90 days that I spent on the Silk Road, travelling between Beijing and Istanbul on an overland truck. While I have not used her services as a travel agent, I watched her get us out of so many situations that I can’t think of anything she couldn’t plan or organize!

Sent by Tabitha Green

"Helen led our Dragoman trip in China, Myanmar and Thailand. She struck a perfect balance between being professional and friendly. The trip was well organised from start to finish, and Helen took care to seek out and incorporate everyone's different needs and preferences. When one of our fellow travellers had not obtained the correct visa for a border crossing, she managed the situation and achieved a solution. I'm confident that Helen will use her travel expertise to create a great experience for you."

Sent by Liesbeth Van den Bussche

Our first Dragoman overlanding trip was a small part of the Silk Route through Kyrgyzstan and was run by Helen. We had the best time and Helen organised everything whilst leaving us the freedom to pick the activities we love. A few years later we hiked to Everest Base Camp with Helen. She contacted the partnering organization and arranged the route, the guide and porters. She gave us all the necessary information to have an amazing time in the beautiful mountains of Nepal. Another few years later we went overlanding again, but this time in South America. Again, Helen gave excellent advice. We started the trip in Santiago, traveled through Chile and Argentina, hopped off the overland truck to do a longer hike (we love hiking!) and rejoined the group in Buenos Aires. We ended this trip - as recommended by Helen - in Brazil, a more relaxed and easy going end of an amazing trip. Helen plans everything meticulously, with attention to your personal preferences and interests, and always with a big smile! If someone can make your trip better, it’s definitely Helen.

Sent by Ray Thompson

I first met Helen over a decade ago whilst she was employed by an overland touring group as a tour leader. I have always found her to be both professional, pleasant, helpful and willing to assist whenever required or requested to do so. I would therefore have no hesitation in vouching and recommending her for return to travel industry.

Sent by Shaun Herbert

“I was lucky enough to have Helen as a leader on two different continents! Needless to say we were never lost and it was easy to put your confidence in someone like Helen to make sure things went smoothly. From Brazil to Nepal through Tibet to China, there’s no one I trusted more with an adventure of a lifetime”