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This post was edited by Cicci at 2012-3-14 09:38|
6. Climb South Sudan’s highest peak
Join the only group offering tours of the world's newest country.
A sure-fire way to way to earn traveler kudos is to announce that you’re embarking on a journey through the world’s newest country: South Sudan.
The trip involves a rafting expedition down the most sparsely inhabited stretch of the Nile, from the Ugandan border to Juba, camping, trekking in the rarely visited Imatong Mountains -- and a hike up to the summit of Mount Kinyeti (3,187 meters), the country’s highest peak.
For good measure, you’ll also meet the Dinka, the tallest people on the planet. If you’re happy to rough it, you’ll relish the experience. "We are currently the only company offering expeditions there, and in fact at the moment, there is no one else taking 'tourists' into South Sudan," says Tom Bodkin, of Secret Compass.
US$4,754, for the 14-day expedition, and the next departure is February 2-14, 2013; +1 347 690 0182; www.secretcompass.com
Note: Political tensions near the border with the Republic of Sudan mean many governments advise against travel to that area.
7. Monitor polar bears in Canada’s high arctic
More scared of us than we are of him? Doubtful.
If you’ve always dreamed of getting up close and personal with a polar bear you’re in luck, for on this expedition to Canada’s remote Bathhurst Island, you won’t just be cooing over them, you’ll be part of a project helping to count them on behalf of the Norwegian Polar Institute.
You might get lucky and spot arctic hare, arctic wolf, fox, ermine, caribou, muskox, seals and walrus too. The best bit? No experience is needed -- and how often can you say that of a polar expedition?
Camping in tents and traveling on foot, you’ll need to be resilient and flexible -- weather and sea ice conditions can be unpredictable.
Says Jim McNeill, founder of expedition organizer, Ice Warrior: "What I love about these journeys is that they are shared life-changing experiences; enormous fun, and when people are exposed to the pristine wilderness like this they return with a greater sense of personal responsibility for the planet. Brilliant all round!”
The 14-day trip costs US$7,610. Next departure is May 10-14, 2012; +44 (0)1344 883 861; www.ice-warrior.com
8. Trek through Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor
One of Asia'a last true wildernesses.
A troubled land Afghanistan may be, but all is calm in this remote, beautiful strip of land that once formed a buffer zone between the British and Russian Empires.
The one-of-a-kind month-long expedition makes it possible for intrepid souls to explore an area that is home to kindly, hospitable Wakhi herdsmen and snowy peaks. The tour kicks off in Tajikastan before a crossing at the tongue-twisting Ishkashim border.
Says Jonny Bealby, founder of Wild Frontiers: "Afghanistan is one of the last true wildernesses left in Asia, and the Wakhan Corridor represents a trekkers paradise, undisturbed by the ravages of modern tourism, giving travelers a chance to see a pristine region of a fascinating country without the madding hordes."
Price, excluding international flights, is US$7,903. Next departure July 4, 2012; +44 (0)20 7736 3968; www.wildfrontiers.co.uk
Note: Many governments advise against travel to Afghanistan particularly in and around Kabul and Kandahar.
9. Journey through the Columbia River Gorge
Farmland, forest and desert all on one trip.
You might equate America’s Pacific Northwest with rainy days and groovy-sounding coffee chains, but the states of Washington and Oregon include an incredible diversity of landscapes.
The Columbia and Snake Rivers are worth exploring, and on an expedition that impressively partners National Geographic with Lindblad Expeditions you can do just that.
You’ll be joined by naturalists, historians, a geologist and photo instructor, and navigate through a series of locks (more impressive than the Panama Canal) and farmland, forest and desertscapes. Trips on Zodiac dinghies and kayaks keep it hands-on.
US$3,990 per person based on double occupancy, for the seven-night cruise, and the next departure is on September 14, 2012; +1 212 765 7740; for more information visit Lindblad Expeditions at www.expeditions.com
10. Meet the descendents of headhunters in Nagaland
Every head alive and attached.
If you’re the outdoorsy sort but equally fascinated by cultures and customs, this journey into India’s remote north-eastern Nagaland state offers thrills aplenty.
For one thing, you’ll be staying in the village homes of the Konyak Nagas. Once the fiercest of Nagaland’s tribes, they’re known for their head-hunting history. The practice died out in the early 1900s, and despite warrior-like appearances to the contrary, the welcome -- bestowed by tribal kings, no less -- promises to be a warm one.
All this and an exploration of Arunachal Pradesh’s Nadampha National Park, the only one in South Asia where tiger and leopard have both been recorded, too.
Price, including international and domestic flights is US$5,858. Next departure is on November 17, 2012; +44 (0)1453 844 400; www.mountainkingdoms.com