About Sam McManus

Sam grew up in the countryside of Kent in the UK until he walked out one midsummer morning into a lifetime of travel and adventure. Travel and books: these two passions have fuelled journeys to over 60 countries whilst living on four continents, and led to the founding of YellowWood Adventures. He has always favoured the road less travelled. Whilst living in Japan he took his tent and surfboard and spent three months island-hopping down the 1100km of Ryukyu archipelago, camping on deserted beaches and talking to crabs. In the Amazon rainforest he spent two weeks with an Indian guide carrying only a machete, fishhooks, salt, sugar and cocoa leaves learning to live off the land. He got bitten quite a lot. It is always in mountainous regions that he has most enjoyed following his feet. Be it the Himalayas, Alps, Andes, the highest plateau in Africa, ice-climbing in the Tian Shan Mountains or exploring the lost assassins’ castles in the Alborz of Iran. A veritable mountain of banana sandwiches, history books, novels, travel writings and biographies always accompany these adventures, and wherever possible a horse or two. As strong as this spirit of adventure and inquisitiveness is, there is also an equally strong desire to share these unique experiences with others. Sam and the team at YellowWood have put together original itineraries in Ethiopia, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Mongolia, Ladakh & Lebanon, with plans for many more in Oman & the Lost Islands of Japan to name but a few: All with the winning combination of culture, nature, adventure and that off-the-beaten-track wildness that means when you get home, you feel that you have really been somewhere.

The Bale Mountains of Ethiopia


Gurbinder Kundi (Binder), a Corporate Treasurer and long-time friend in Dubai, had been hinting for a while that he would be interested to come out and join me for a leg of the trip, and we had subsequently arranged for him to partake in six days out of my ten-day trek across the Sanetti Plateau. Due to the nature of the terrain [...]

The Simien Mountains of Ethiopia


A mountain scene: Five minutes away from our third camp at Chennek, a thin ridge of rock juts out into the deep valley below. Walking along a damp footpath between mossy rocks enclosed by lichen-covered trees, I emerged upon the za’atar-scented platform. With sheer drops on both sides, the ridge narrowed and fell away in front, tapering to a thin finger of [...]

Why I started a travel company in Ethiopia


The most valuable lesson my travel writing tutor taught me at university was that a good author must relate two journeys in their account; both the physical description of their travels, and that of their own simultaneous, inner journey. In this vein, the title of this blog actually encompasses the two separate questions: - Why did I start a travel company? - [...]