Enjoying a peaceful moment in the Dolomites, Italy
In a world where silence comes at a premium we still find plenty of places to get away from human noise. We find them in unexpected places like Europe and in deserts, mountain ranges and icy wildernesses. Here are ten of our favourite silent places on earth you can travel to.
No other destination in the world will leave you feeling as insignificant before nature, yet as alive, as Antarctica does. Giant glaciers calving enormous icebergs; penguins porpoising through the waters, watched by leopard seals; whales feeding and coming up for air, curiously inspecting you in your kayak. Hike along pristine shorelines and up snowy ridges to experience incredible views and a deep primeval silence. This is Planet Earth at it's best, a proverbial Eden, earth as it was before the arrival of humankind. Antarctica will change you forever.
Imagine a country so remote you may feel at times like you are the only person on earth in it. Add the stunning scenery of rolling grasslands, rugged mountains, ice-blue lakes, deep forests and sprawling deserts and pair it with a silence under big skies. Just like us you will fall in love with one of the last wild countries on earth.
Canada - Our home and native land
Anyone who has taken a canoe trip in to the Canadian back country knows how silent it can be. Sure, you may hear the waves lap along the shore, but humans are few and far between. At night you sit by your fire admiring the starry skies. Then you bed down and suddenly in the middle of the night, the call of a loon or the howl of a wolf. This is pure wilderness.
Jordan - Wadi Rum
Described by T.E. Lawrence, is "vast, echoing and God-like...", it is at Wadi Rum that red sandstone rocks reach up from the desert floor to the high desert sky. At its most dramatic early and late in the day, when the soft light and blue sky create a coppery effect on the sand, Wadi Rum is a must-see.
Italy - The Dolomites
As I was hiking in the Dolomites at times I was struck by how busy the trails can be. Yet it was also surprisingly easy to get away from people. And on one particular walk it struck me - I heard nothing. No birds, no wind, and certainly no people.. I sat down and took it all in - the stunning views, the silence and the peacefulness.
Botswana - Makgadikgadi Pans
At the north-end of the Kalahari, colours fade to white, brown and burnt orange in this network of empty flat salt pans. Skies so big the horizon seems to curve. Epic stands of baobab trees. And then there is the silence.
Russia - Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya
Franz Josef Land and Novaya Zemlya are two of the most isolated, icy archipelagos in the Russian High Arctic. From the mountains of Novaya Zemlya to the wildlife sanctuary of Franz Josef Land, these are rugged and essentially uninhabited landscapes that few have ever experienced. There’s no shortage of amazing adventures in these remote regions, where ice-capped peaks soar majestically out of the water and polar bears wander in their natural environment.
Australia - Kata Tjuta
One of Australia's Red Centre's greatest treasures is Kata Tjuta, formerly known as The Olgas, a group of domed red rocks rising spectacularly out of the desert. Like Uluru, they’re sacred to the Anangu people and are believed to be 600 million years old. Walk up in to the clefts between the rocks and experience an eerie, haunting silence.
Namibia - Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
Nestled deep in the heart of Namibia’s ancient Namib Desert, &Beyond Sossusvlei Private Desert Reserve is a world of vast spaces, endless horizons and extraordinary clarity of light that makes this area one of Africa’s most compelling landscapes. Awaken before dawn and as the sun’s first rays peek over the scarlet sand dunes, ride a hot air balloon slowly upward, revealing the undulating landscapes of Sossusvlei.
Nepal - Himalaya
Among the many trails that lead to the peaks and valleys of the mighty Himalaya, you can find some true silence. I remember waking up to a spectacular sunrise at Kopra Ridge, then hiking into the high meadows where ancient pilgrim trails lead to the sacred waters of Khayer Lake. It was a passage into the sublime, into the sacred, spiritual space of the highest mountains on earth.