Most adventurous experiences in 2018

Konark Bansal, Travel Writer, India

26 January 2018

World has never been more accessible. From the Great Wall of China to the Galapagos Islands, from Himalayan peaks to the Caribbean, from the jungles of Borneo to the “Lost World” tepuis of Venezuela and from the Northern Lights to a total solar eclipse. Not to mention the South Pole itself. What was once the realm of explorers being now within reach of all of us.

Iconic travel destinations will always exert their pull but it is the journey itself and our experiences along the way that can turn a holiday into a life-changing adventure. Whether it’s riding a horse over the Andes, sailing with friends around the coast of Turkey, heli-skiing in Iceland, riding a motorbike through Siberia, husky sledging in the wilds of Finland or following the wildebeest migration in the Serengeti, these are adventures that will provide memories to last a lifetime.

The 10 adventures selected here are for couples and families, singletons and groups, the young and the not-so-young. Some are “soft” adventures, while others are more challenging. All will be unforgettable.

The Lost World and Angel Falls

Conan Doyle’s classic adventure novel was inspired by Venezuela’s “Lost World”, a region of dense jungle and rolling grassland dominated by immense sandstone table mountains known as tepuis. You’ll trek to the summit of Mount Roraima, a maze of blackened rock and babbling streams with unique plants and rare carnivorous frogs. Visit Auyán-tepui and see Angel Falls, the world’s highest waterfall, as it plunges 3,200ft.

New Zealand’s Classic Trail

Kiwis may call it “tramping”, but there’s nothing down-market about the Milford Track. This most famous of NZ’s Classic Trails is highly regulated due to its popularity and you should book well in advance as a maximum of 90 walkers a day start the trail. The 33-mile trek takes in mountains, waterfalls, lakes and glacial valleys and you will stay in comfortable lodges (guided walking) or basic huts (independent).

Australia’s Red Centre

Opened in 2002, the 140-mile (225km) Larapinta Trail from Alice Springs to Mount Sonder through the West MacDonnell Ranges is one of the world’s great bush walks. The trail can be done in shorter stretches, but why not go for the full 14-day experience? There will be challenging stages of up to 20 miles on some days, but you’ll carry only your day pack.

Wadi Rum, in the footsteps of Lawrence of Arabia

“Rum the Magnificent. Vast, echoing and God-like,” wrote TE Lawrence of the red-ochre sandstone mesas of Wadi Rum, one of the world’s most dramatic landscapes. A trek that takes on ancient trails through hidden canyons to the summits of several of the biggest formations in Jordan. Some easy scrambling is also involved to reach the best viewpoints, including the dramatic Burdah Bridge.

Ladakh and Stok Kangri, The Himalayas

This tough trek requires stamina, but the rewards are immense. You’ll be eased in, acclimatizing in Ladakh’s capital, Leh, and exploring villages and monasteries before building up the pace with treks over passes to Stok Kangri base camp in preparation for a night climb. Reach the summit in time to see one of the most spectacular sunrises in the Himalayas.

Wild chimpanzees on Lake Tanganyika

Fly in a light aircraft from Arusha to Greystone MA hale on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, one of the most remote safari lodges in Africa. From here you will trek each day into the MA hale mountains to visit the world’s largest remaining group of wild chimpanzees, staying with them in small groups for up to an hour at a time. Combined with a visit to the huge buffalo herds, lions and elephants of remote Katavi NP further south.

Polar bears in Spitsbergen

Journey to the high Arctic on this wildlife expedition around the island of Spitsbergen. Spot polar bears as they hunt or feed on a carcass. You’ll also see aerial displays by breeding seabirds and groups of walruses, as well as pods of ghostly white beluga whales.

The world’s only ‘Spirit’ bear

British Columbia in Canada is home to the world’s only white-colored black bears. The “Spirit”, or white bear, is thought by scientists to be a generic variation of the black bear. Small group trips by motorboat explore the rainforest and ecological wonders of Princess Royal Island, home to the world’s only Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy.

Snow leopards in Ladakh

This pioneering trek is about as adventurous as they come. With the aid of local trackers, you’ll traverse the mountains of Hemis National Park in Ladakh. This is physically demanding hike utilizing basic local housing and camping, but the rewards will be spectacular.

A Kenyan horseback safari

Ride on horseback through the Kenyan bush, staying at four luxury lodges as you go. You’ll be able to get much closer to the wildlife than usual, as the wild animals are not scared of horses. You’ll see epic views, lions, elephant-filled plains, gerenuk and the rare Gravy’s zebra as you ride between Liwa, Il Ngesi, Tasia and Borana camps, passing through the Liwa Conservancy and the Mukogodo Forest, the largest indigenous dry-land forest in Kenya.