20 of the world's greatest adventures


Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal
This recently inaugurated trail is made up of a network of existing paths traversing Nepal. It will eventually form part of a 4,500-kilometre (2,800-mile) “super trail” linking Bhutan and Pakistan. The existing 1,700km Nepal section divides into smaller routes passing in sight of eight of the world’s 8,000-metre (26,247ft-plus) peaks and through some of the world’s most remote villages. The trail crosses mountain passes up to 6,000 metres in altitude while climbing a total of 150,000 metres.

The full escorted 157-day trek with World Expeditions costs £20,490, but the seven shorter connecting stages range from the 18-day Langtang Trek (£2,350) to the 34-day Makalu & Everest Traverse led by the climbing legend Stephen Venables (£3,850). Prices include airport transfers, expert mountain guides, porters, trekking permits, equipment and all meals, but not flights.

Overland adventures, South America
For many young adventurers, overlanding is their first experience of a long journey away from home, and offers the safety of travelling in an organised group with the advantage of covering more ground than is sometimes possible in a lifetime of two-week holidays.

Dragoman, the pioneer of the field, ran its first informal tour in 1981 in a Bedford truck; it now has a fleet of 24 trucks. Its 60-day tour from La Paz to Salvador da Bahia travels through Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil. The cost of £1,885 includes the overland ride and the services of guides, but not flights; an extra kitty payment of $1,640 (£1,028) covers meals, accommodation and activities.

River rafting, Turkey
This is the final year in which it will be possible to raft the Coruh River in Turkey, because of construction of the Ispir dam. One of the world’s classic rivers for white-water rafting expeditions, the Coruh is located in dramatic mountain scenery in the north-east of Turkey, far from the Mediterranean tourist hot spots.

Flowing through the heart of the Kackar mountain range, this seven-day rafting experience with Water By Nature is an adrenalin-filled roller-coaster ride negotiating grade 4-5 rapids through 1,500-metre-deep gorges and passing traditional Turkish villages. The cost of £895 includes river guides, equipment, meals and tented accommodation, but not flights.

Fish River Canyon ride, Namibia
Ride through the world’s second largest canyon, experiencing monumental landscapes, vast desert plains and African game. These expedition rides were taken over in 2010 by Sarah Jane Gullick, who previously ran African Horseback Safaris in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, but Waldi Fritzche, who pioneered them, continues to guide a number of the northern routes. The Fish River trail reaches the canyon rim before descending and following the banks of the Orange River, and then heading across open savannah and rocky landscapes with sightings of the wild horses of the Southern Namib Desert.

The cost of £3,293 for 10 nights (£1,925 for five nights) through In The Saddle includes expert guide, horse, equipment, meals, tented accommodation, backup vehicle and transfers, but not flights. Experienced riders only.

Tour du Mont Blanc
This 14-day circuit of Mont Blanc is arguably the most dramatic walk in Europe. Linking the seven valleys that surround Western Europe’s highest mountain, the route crosses three borders (France/Switzerland/Italy/France), climbs over six passes, traverses beneath huge glaciers and meanders through beautiful alpine meadows and picture-book villages.

Throughout the trek there are views of some of the most beautiful peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc (4,810m), the Aiguille Verte (4,122m), Les Drus, Les Grandes Jorasses and many more. The walking is moderate to challenging, with two rest days – but some are the equivalent of walking up and down Ben Nevis in a day. The trek is based on the “supported camping” concept, with a vehicle transporting luggage, equipment and supplies. The price of £1,229 includes flights, transfers, guide and 14 nights’ camping, mostly in good campsites with hot showers, and most meals.

Clearwater Paddling, Outer Hebrides
The popularity of kayaking as an adventure sport has increased exponentially over the last few years. At its most basic level it is an easy sport to get to grips with – anyone who is reasonably fit can master a basic stroke and learn to manoeuvre in a short time. It is also a great way of getting close to nature.

Clearwater Paddling, based on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, runs about 20 tours a year around Scotland – ranging from introductory courses for beginners to camping expeditions for experienced kayakers – as well as tours to farther-flung locations such as Oman and Sardinia.

A six-night lodge-based Magic of Barra tour exploring both Barra and neighbouring uninhabited islands costs £645, including kayaking equipment and guiding, local transport and all food, wine and accommodation.

Volunteer conservation adventures
Three non-profit companies – Earthwatch, Biosphere Expeditions and Coral Cay Conservation – lead the field in providing opportunities to volunteer for scientific expeditions. The idea is to combine a unique experience while volunteering for projects on both land and sea. Meals are provided, and accommodation is usually in the same basic accommodation used by the scientists.

A seven-day trip with Earthwatch tracking Pacific grey whales off the west coast of Canada requires a contribution of £1,095. Departures: July to September.

A two-week expedition to the Brazilian rainforest with Biosphere Expeditions to study mammals including jaguars, pumas and ocelots requires a contribution of £1,190. Departure: May 15-27.

Volunteers with Coral Cay Conservation help on coral reef projects all over south-east Asia, and contribute on a sliding scale depending on experience and length of stay.

Native American experience, United States
Topped and tailed by time out in Las Vegas, this 16-day tour with Intrepid Travel is a journey to the heart of native American country, camping and hiking in wilderness areas and exploring ancient ruins. There will be the chance to meet native Americans from communities striving to preserve their centuries-old way of life – including Navajo, Anasazi and Apache.

The tour visits Canyon de Chelly, with its 3,000-year-old tribal artefacts, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Navajo Lake State Park, White Sands National Monument, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Santa Fe as well as Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. The cost of £1,220 includes guide, transport in vans and jeeps, accommodation in hotels, cabins, tents and a Navajo hogan, but excludes most meals and flights.

Diving safari, Borneo
The volcanic island of Sipadan was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, and has regularly been voted one of the world’s top 10 dive sites. As well as its legendary turtles, Sipadan is famous for its wall diving, with reefs dropping off thousands of feet very close to the shore. This 18-day diving safari with Aqua-Firma also takes in the Layang Layang atoll and the islands of Lankayan, Mabul and Kapalai – showcasing the best diving Borneo has to offer.

The price of £2,855 per person includes transfers and flights within Borneo, conservation fees & permits (except for Sipadan Island – currently $13 per day), three boat dives daily, resort accommodation in the north-eastern town of Sandakan (based on two sharing a room), tanks and most meals; it excludes international flights and equipment rental. The trip can also be tailor-made.

Secret Apennines walk, Italy
Walking is the oldest adventure activity of them all, and exploring new landscapes on foot can feel like a genuine voyage of discovery. The secret of success lies in choosing a region which is relatively undiscovered, but which has spectacular landscapes and a rich local culture.

No better example exists in Europe than the Apennine mountains stretching from Liguria to Umbria in northern Italy. The walking trails in the Corno alle Scale Regional Park lead up through forests and centuries-old mountain villages to the high mountains, where on clear days Florence’s cathedral can be seen more than 80 miles away.

A seven-day self-guided walk with Inntravel staying at hand-picked family-run hotels costs from £578 including all meals, route notes and maps, and luggage transport.

Wolves in winter, Canada
While polar bears and penguins may hog the limelight of many winter wildlife adventures, few animals can compete with the wolf for sheer wilderness charisma. Combine this with the 1,500 square miles of the frozen landscapes of Prince Albert National Park’s “wolf country” in the state of Saskatchewan in central Canada, and a potent adventure awaits.

A six-night traverse of the park by snowshoe, dog sled and vehicle with Windows on the Wild, searching for the elusive grey wolf, also gives an insight into the park’s ecology and environment. Meanwhile, interpretive and dog-sledding guides will share their in-depth knowledge of the landscape. The cost of £1,050 per person includes transfers, six nights’ accommodation in a lakeside cabin, most meals, guides and equipment, but excludes flights.

Recce in the footsteps of Lord Byron, Albania
Joining a recce tour with all its uncertainties may not be for everyone, but for others it is the definition of adventure itself. Wild Frontiers are confident enough of the competence of their guides that each year they run a handful of new and original adventures with clients signing up as volunteers.

This nine-day horse trek through the mountainous regions of southern Albania follows in the footsteps of a journey made by Lord Byron in 1809, which later became the inspiration for his poem, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. The route passes through the mountains of the Vjosë Valley to the castle stronghold at Tepelenë where Byron encountered the Vizier, Ali Pasha. The cost of £1,590 includes transfers, guide, accommodation (with a night in the famous Bektashi Monastery), meals, and all local payments, but excludes flights.

Genghis Khan warrior training, Mongolia
Genghis Khan established the Mongol nation, conquered most of the known world and became one of the great military leaders of all time. The aim of this nine-day adventure with High & Wild is to introduce you to the life of a Mongol warrior.

Under Genghis Khan, the Mongols were the strongest, swiftest and most agile military force of their day, employing advanced tactics and strategies. Learn archery and riding skills wearing traditional “deal” clothing, stay at a Mongolian ger camp, lasso horses, learn the secrets of centuries-old battle tactics, and witness a shaman ceremony.

The trip is suited to ages from 12 up and all levels of riding ability (a 4x4 vehicle support is always on hand). The cost of £1,995 includes accommodation in hotels and felt gers, meals, activities, an English-speaking guide, transfers and a tailor-made Mongolian robe.

Pure adrenalin, New Zealand
Many would argue that New Zealand in general and Queenstown in particular is the adventure sports capital of the world, and this 10-day adrenalin tour of the South Island with STA Travel ticks most of the boxes.

Starting with a kayaking trip along the coast of the Abel Tasman National Park, the itinerary moves on to Kaikoura on the east coast, famous for its whale and dolphin viewing. This is followed by a helicopter flight over the Franz Josef Glacier on the west coast before heading down to Queenstown itself, adventure central for adrenalin junkies. Options include bungee jumping from the famous Kawarau Bridge where the sport began.

The tour continues to Fiordland, where scenes from The Lord of the Rings were shot, followed by Mt Cook National Park. The cost of £902 includes transport, guide, most meals and accommodation, but not flights

Family multi-activity adventure, Croatia
Croatia’s Dalmatian coast, with its spectacular scenery, nearby islands and pristine waters, is the perfect backdrop for a seven-day family activity holiday with Explore.

Based in the tiny hamlet of Sestanovac, south of Split, the trip combines walking, swimming, kayaking, white-water rafting and canyoning, with the option of each family member doing as much or as little as they choose. The Cetina river is the location for some adrenalin-fuelled activities among its waterfalls, hidden caves, remote pools and towering cliffs, while the Makarska coast is perfect for swimming and kayaking. Activities are designed for all ages and levels of experience; equipment and full instruction are provided.

The price for seven nights of £695 (without flights) or £952 (with flights) includes accommodation in a family-run pension, most meals, guides, activities and equipment.

Winter sports, Slovenia
Combining cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, husky sledding, tobogganing, snow biking and ice climbing – as well as a night spent in an igloo – in an eight-day trip is no mean feat, but this what Neilson offers.

The trip is based in a comfortable pension on the shores of Lake Bled; the adjacent Julian Alps offer the playground for adventure. Cross-country skiing on the forested Pokljuka plateau is followed by snowshoeing to an igloo hotel, where a sauna and fondue await. Over the next few days, activities include ice climbing, a husky sled ride, snow biking and tobogganing.

Throughout the trip, equipment is provided – along with the help of expert instructors and guides. The cost of £995 includes seven nights’ half-board accommodation and activities, but excludes flights.


Primate fest, Uganda and Rwanda
This nine-night trip provides the opportunity to track gorillas, golden monkeys and chimpanzees. Gorillas are tracked twice in Rwanda’s Parc National des Volcans and three times in Uganda’s Bwindi National Park. Chimps can be seen in the wild in Chambura Gorge, and golden monkeys in Mgahinga and Parc National des Volcans.

The trip also offers the opportunity to spot tree-climbing lions and take a boat cruise on the Kazinga Channel, which has one of the greatest concentrations of hippo in Africa. Other activities include climbing ancient volcanoes, guided nature walks, and visiting Dian Fossey’s grave. The cost of the holiday, available through Aardvark Safaris, is from £5,235 per person sharing (from £4,188 if booked before Feb 24). This includes accommodation, expert guide, safari activities, one gorilla permit and one chimp permit, but not flights.

Cycle tour, Cuba
CycleActive is one of the original pioneers of the cycle holiday experience, and this 15-day tour of Cuba has been carefully researched to combine beautiful rides with minimal vehicle transfers, while offering time to mix with the locals and discover the island’s fascinating culture.

The combination of a qualified British guide and a local expert guide means extra safety, flexibility and an insight into local life. The tour takes in Havana, Trinidad, the rainforests of the Escambray mountains, Soroa, La Guira National Park and the beautiful northern coast. Vehicle support and two highly qualified cycling guides ensure that you get to cycle as much or as little as you like. The cost, from £1,650, includes transfers, hotel accommodation, most meals, guide, support vehicle and all national park entry fees, but not flights.

Costa Rican adventure
It’s not for nothing that Costa Rica is renowned for its “eco” credentials. As well as being politically stable, with no army, it has prioritised the protection of its incredible biodiversity, geography and range of tropical ecosystems. This 16-day tour with the Adventure Company visits the Monteverde cloudforests, home to the famous quetzal, the beaches and forests of Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast, and a night at a remote riverbank lodge in the Tortuguero National Park surrounded by rainforest on the Caribbean coast.

Activities include white-water rafting the Pacuare river in the Cordillera Central, and walks to both the Poas and Arenal volcanoes. The cost of £2,259 includes flights, transport in a mix of small bus, boat, taxi, light aircraft or on foot, most meals and accommodation in small hotels and lodges. The price exluding flights is £1,399.

Everest skydive
On October 4, 2008, Kiwi Wendy Smith and Omar Alhegelan leapt out of a Pilatus Porter PC6 to become the first people to skydive in front of Mt Everest. Over the next couple of days, a total of 50 solos and 19 tandem descents were made. With further success in both 2009 and 2010, this adventure to beat all others was here to stay. The Everest 2011 Skydive Expedition includes a trek from Kathmandu to the world’s highest drop zone.

Smith will be chief coordinator for the international team and director of aerial cinematography. She also holds chief safety officer and AFF instructor ratings. The price of £14,750 for solo skydivers and £19,750 for tandem skydivers is for an 11-day trek/jump package including meals, accommodation, guides, equipment and briefings and the jump from 29,500ft, but excludes international flights.

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1 comments:

Christopher said...

The greatest adventure that I experienced was travelling to South America alone.
I went to Rosario hotels and also to Buenos Aires.

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