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2023 - A Year in Review(s)
It’s the final day of the year – time to squeeze in another yearly overview of the reviews submitted to this website. 2023 was the year of a double WHC which gave most of us large numbers of bonus ‘ticks’.
Zoë (finally) has taken the top spot and crossed the mark of 1,000 visited WHS as the first on this website. Slowly we see that the people who still travel a lot are taking over the high rankings from the names we have become so familiar with over the past 10-20 years. The Top 10 was entered by Roman, climbing from position 16 to 9. Overall there was a strong rise in totals, aided by the high number of new WHS that were added during this year's double WHC session.
We saw 510 new reviews published, 60 more than last year. 85 different people wrote them. I (Els) wrote the most (71!), followed by Clyde (42), Zoë (33) and Timonator (27).
We saw the first reviews for Dholavira (Randi & Philipp), Rachid Karami International Fair (Christravelblog), Lorentz NP and Ogasawara (both by Zoë). Plus all the new additions from the 2022/2023 session were covered, except for these four: Gedeo, Bale Mountains, Kazan Observatories and Odzala-Kokoua.
Some sites that hadn't been reviewed for a long time got a much-needed update, including Mana Pools and Tsingy de Bemaraha (both by me), and the cultural aspect of ǂKhomani Cultural Landscape (by Tamas). Bernard reported on an in-depth visit to Sawahlunto.
Timonator entertained us with lots of thorough reviews of South American WHS, ranging from covering all of the Chiquitos Missions to climbing the new observation tower at Nasca. Remote Canada got a boost with updated reviews by several people of Nahanni, Sgang Gwaay and Gwaii Haanas NP.
There are still enough Tentative Sites to review: 772 of them still don't have one. In this category, we saw good coverage of the Transatlantic Cable Station (both the Irish (Els, Solivagant) and Canadian (Argo) sides), the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (Carlo), Peruacu (Patrik), Antananarivo (Els), Nakhinchevan (Clyde) and Hegmataneh (Solivagant) being added for example.
We have two awards this year to hand out to the "best" reviews: the already well-known Tsunami Award for Travel Misadventure and the new WH Explorer Award. The Explorer Award recognizes reviews of (parts) of WHS, where a new access route has been explored successfully. We want to read reviews that show determination and reflect on both the choices made during preparation and the journey itself.
I let the members of our WhatsApp group choose the winner in each category from a shortlist.
The Tsunami Award candidates were Tsunami himself with his cave story of Evaporite Karst ("After almost 3 hours in the cave I was so glad that this tour was finally over."), Frédéric M who tried to come to terms with the remote islands of Ujung Kulon, Squiffy who visited Delphi in the mid-day heat, and "stubborn" Stanislaw who entered snow-covered Deosai NP and found it a good idea to return on foot (30km). The winner is: Tsunami!
For the WH Explorer Award, we considered Zoë as she was the first to cover Lorentz NP and found Lake Hamena as the best possibility for a 'tick' from Wamena. There was also Jarek, who managed to do a land visit to Bacalar Chico NP (Belize Barrier Reef) - it 'just' needed a bike. The winner here however is Timonator with his review of Rio Abiseo. He was the first to explore this rarely visited WHS from the north, called the 21-hour bus ride to reach the general area "really comfy" and braved a lazy and drunken guide to reach his goal.
Are there any memorable reviews from 2023 that you’d like to put into the spotlight again?
Els - 31 December 2023
MoPython 31 December 2023
Thanks for the insights and all your work Els!
"En guete Rutsch" (that's swiss-german) to the whole community.
Zoë Sheng 31 December 2023
Happy New Year and wishing everyone a successful 2024 (including plenty of WH travels :))
Carlo Sarion 31 December 2023
Love to be part of and contribute to the community! Happy New Year and I hope everyone gets to tick more WHS in 2024!