Western Mongolia is one of the off-beat destinations visited by Intrepid Expeditions
The way we see it, there are adventures, and then there are adventures. The kind where you trek through Kruger National Park – on foot – in search of lions, cheetahs and elephants, swim with whale sharks in Djibouti, or walk alongside Berber nomads through Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. Stuff you don’t find in your typical travel brochure. For us, adventures like this are at the heart of what it means to be intrepid: something original, unexpected, and as far from ‘the usual’ as you’re going to get.
Australian tour company Intrepid have turned the world upside down and shaken it until the cool stuff falls out: like hiking Aconcagua, the Southern Hemisphere's highest peak, camping with indigenous reindeer herders in the Siberian Arctic, and watching kok buru at the Kyrgyzstan World Games.
Wave goodbye to that beaten path. Say hello to these exclusive Expedition trips. Here is a round-up of the most exciting trips to hit the adventure market in many years.
Raja Ampat Sailing Expedition 8 days from CA$2,540 Physical Rating 3 out of 5 Welcome to the archipelago with the richest marine biodiversity on Earth. Made up of 1,500 small islands that house 550 species of coral, 1427 fish species and more than 700 types of mollusks, Raja Ampat is a place where mere snorkelling feels (and looks) like deep-sea diving. It's very remote, which means a delightful lack of other visitors. Think clear turquoise waters, a kaleidescope of corals and reef fish, and, perhaps best of all, some of the friendliest locals you'll ever meet. Come and sail the isles of Raja Ampat, the tropical paradise you’ll be telling friends about for years to come.
Patagonia Expedition: Andean Crossing 9 days from CA$3,285 Physical Rating 4 out of 5 Join Intrepid on a new off-the-beaten-track expedition the through the great landscapes of Patagonia. This challenging but rewarding journey explores the real Patagonian wilderness, revealing the beauty behind its well-earned reputation as a premier trekking destination. Kick things off on the shores of stunning Nahuel Huapi Lake in Bariloche, Argentina, and head across the Andes and into Chile. This Patagonia expedition offers some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent, with lush valleys and rainforest, pristine rivers and lakes, and awe-inspiring mountains such as the majestic Tronador volcano.
Solomon Islands Expedition 8 days from CA$3,520 Physical Rating 2 out of 5 With a thriving traditional culture, white-sand beaches, reefs teeming with sea life and jungles strewn with WWII relics, the Solomon Islands are a rarely visited destination that have so much to offer travellers. Travel from Honiara, the capital, to WWII battle theatres across the main island and learn about the important campaign fought between Allied forces and the Japanese. Meet Barnie, on the island of New Georgia, who has made his own 'museum' of war relics collected over his lifetime then spend some time absorbing the Melanesian culture of the island communities. With plenty of time to swim and snorkel around the pristine reefs, as well as a visit to Skull Island, John F. Kennedy's wartime base and the site of his near-death, this trip perfectly balances history and relaxation with opportunities to really immerse yourself in the local culture.
Mongolia Expedition: Wilderness of the West 15 days from CA$5,110 Physical Rating 3 out of 5 This journey takes you into the wild west of Mongolia, a place where crystal-clear lakes, snow-capped peaks and giant dunes whisper the legendary stories of nomads and nature. Be mesmerised by khoomii (traditional throat singing), stay with nomadic families, search for wildlife including ibex, argali sheep and the elusive snow leopard, then join Kazakh eagle hunters at a local celebration. Beginning and ending in Ulaanbaatar, this adventure unveils the true spirit of Mongolia's traditional nomads with an unimaginably beautiful backdrop.
Kenya: Wildlife Rangers Expedition 8 days from CA$3,371 Physical Rating 2 out of 5 This unique expedition takes you into the world of Kenya's inspiring rangers – the men and women on the frontline of wildlife conservation. Intrepid has partnered with The Thin Green Line Foundation, who protect nature's protectors, to give travellers an insight into the work – and risk – that goes into protecting wildlife and wild places. Beginning and ending in Nairobi, the expedition takes you behind the scenes of what it's like to be a Ranger. You will go on game drives and foot patrols with the Rangers working in the area between Amboseli, Chyulu Hills and Kilimanjaro national parks. You'll also spend time at the Ranger training academy learning what it takes to become a Ranger, and hear the true stories of what it takes to protect wildlife in this part of the world. India Expedition: Markets & Jungles of Odisha 13 days from CA$2,565 Physical Rating 2 out of 5 This 13-day expedition takes you into the heart of Odisha, into the melting-pot marketplaces that the bloggers haven’t reached yet. Shop alongside Kondh people, explore the lush and fertile hillside that is under threat from mining companies and discover thousands of years of history etched into the sandstone walls of temples in Bhubaneswar.
Russia Expedition: Baikal-Amur Railway 15 days from CA$4,335 Physical Rating 3 out of 5 Every bit as rewarding as its famous Trans-Siberian counterpart, this lesser-known Russian rail route follows the Baikal-Amur Mainline and ventures from Russia's Far East, across Eastern Siberia and north of Lake Baikal, where it’s even more stunning than in the south. Learn the traditions of the indigenous Nanai and Evenki people, visit the astounding rock formations of Stolby National Park, soak up the rich history of Vladivostok and Moscow, and learn the hard facts of Russia’s Soviet past in places that saw unspeakable drama and revolution. With the Trans-Siberian Railway so well known, the Baikal-Amur Railway is your ticket off the beaten track and into next-level expedition travel in Russia.
Haida Gwaii Islands Expedition 8 days from CA$3,240 Physical Rating 2 out of 5 Journey to Canada’s most remote and stunning region on this 8-day expedition. At the heart of this trip is Haida Gwaii – an isolated and wildlife-rich archipelago continuously inhabited by the Haida Nation for over 10,000 years. Discover the beauty of the ‘Galapagos of the North’ and search for ancient totem poles and the remnants of colonial life among evergreen rainforest. In addition to the splendid nature of Haida Gwaii, this takes you on a rare voyage into Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary, where you will cruise through the waters of a protected area very few people are permitted to enter to spot wild grizzlies, seals, sea lions and bald eagles. This trip is a breath of fresh air for nature lovers.
Morocco Expedition – Walking with Berber Nomads 8 days from CA$1,210 Physical Rating 2 out of 5 Each year, thousands of people migrate into the High Atlas Mountains to escape the heat of the lower valleys. Following 4,000-year-old routes and guided by the seasons, these families are part of the nomadic Ait Atta tribes of southeast Morocco. In 2018, we’ll be joining such families on a special walking expedition through the mountains. Sleeping in moving campsites and partaking in daily chores – like animal herding and traditional bread making – you’ll meet locals in tiny Berber villages and breathe enough fresh air to last you a lifetime. This is a rare opportunity to form real connections with people from another part of the world, and experience an authentic, ancient and well-preserved way of life likely very different to your own.
Russia Expedition: Footsteps of the Reindeer Herders 15 days from CA$4,585 Physical Rating 3 out of 5 There are expeditions and then there are expeditions; this trip, to the far reaches of Russia, definitely falls into the latter category. After a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it stop in St Petersburg, travel by train, bus and Trekol to the Yamal Peninsula; quite literally ‘the end of the world’. Extending far above the Arctic Circle, this isolated region has been home to the Nenets, a tribe of nomadic reindeer herders, for centuries. For the first time, the Nenets are inviting Intrepid travellers into their community for a first-hand glimpse at their daily existence. Learn about life on the frozen tundra, how they stay warm when the temperature hits -50°C, and how much the nomads rely on their reindeer herds. This is definitely one of our most eye-opening, off-the-beaten-track adventures yet.
Paraguay Expedition: Asuncion to Iguazu 12 days from CA$3,755 Physical Rating 2 out of 5 Join Intrepid on its first foray into the very heart of South America – landlocked and seldom-visited Paraguay. It’s an off-track destination Intrepid has been eyeing for a little while, and this itinerary will not disappoint those in search of something a little left of the big-ticket destinations. After a taste of local food and culture around the capital, Asuncion, delve into a world of charming colonial-era treasures, wetlands brimming with birdlife, remote Atlantic forest, and Jesuit and indigenous Guarani histories rich in myth and magic. Finally, head over to Brazil and Argentina, where mighty Iguazu Falls delivers the spectacular conclusion.
Kazakhstan Adventure 14 days from CA$4,325 Physical Rating 3 out of 5 Beginning in the futuristic cityscapes of Nur-Sultan (until recently, Astana), join us on this exploration from mighty Kazakhstan to mountainous Kyrgyzstan. From the space port of Baikonur to the ancient city of Turkistan, the Silk Road ruins of Sayram and Otrar, and the majestic, surreal landscapes of Altyn-Emel National Park and Charyon Canyon, the sights along the way are unlike anywhere else on earth. Continue your journey to the seldom visited Kyrgyzstan, skirt the vast waters of Issyk-Kul and end in the relaxed capital of Bishkek.