No experience is quite like coming eye to eye with mountain gorillas in their natural setting. After you trek through dense jungles and up and down slippery slopes, the hour spent with our closest relatives is one experience you will carry with you for life. All this against the stunning backdrop of volcanoes and terraced farmlands in Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills.
Tucked away in the south-western corner of Africa, Namibia has some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa - driving the lone roads it is the amazing arid rock formations and desert sands that will stay with you forever. The Fish River Canyon, also known as the Grand Canyon of Africa, the red sands of some of the highest dunes in the world at Sossusvlei; the salt pans at Etosha; it is hard to know where to begin. Add to those the unique wildlife like desert rhino, elephants and oryx and you have a destination that is hard to beat.
Svalbard, the archipelago Spitsbergen is part of, truly is Europe's last great wilderness, home to more polar bears than people, land of snow-covered mountains and glaciers. Further east you will discover previously inaccessible lands such as Franz Josef Land, Novaya Zemlya and other islands of the Russian Arctic. As you sail these frigid waters you are sure to encounter polar bear, walrus, bearded seal, minke whales and beluga, a myriad of wildlife such as Arctic fox and reindeer, as well as countless birds. The land is dotted by remains of centuries-old human intrusions, people that, like you, explored the outer limits of our earth.
For nature and wildlife lovers, few places rival with the Canadian Arctic and Greenland. Endless mountain ranges, some covered in tundra alive with flowers, some as barren as a desert, are the domain of muskoxen, Arctic fox and hares. Deep-blue iceberg-studded straits, bays and seas, are home to polar bear, walrus and whales, including the elusive narwhal. Visit Inuit settlements and remains of expeditions of discovery, hike to marvellous views or kayak the still waters at the bottom of towering bird cliffs. The Arctic will leave you speechless at time, full of energy at others, changed forever.
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, chased by leopard seals; whales feeding and coming up for air, curiously inspecting you in your zodiac. Hike along pristine shorelines and up snowy ridges to experience incredible views. 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.
As you walk through the Siq to the Treasury at Petra, you cannot help but be in awe. Hand-hewn red sandstone buildings rise up into the clear desert skies, remembering ancient caravans of spice traders travelling far and wide to sell their wares. In the Roman ruins at Jerash and in the crusader castles and Byzantine mosaics along the King’s Highway, history is everywhere in this beautiful land. Travel through canyons and oases, stay with locals among the rock formations of Wadi Rum, and begin to understand why T.E. Lawrence loved this land.
Could this be the friendliest country on earth? This country which has seen the likes of Darius the Great, Alexander and Genghis Khan? This land of ancient civilizations, aesthetic beauty and exquisite architecture; where mosques, palaces and mansions stand proud; where history gazes down upon you in the ruins of Persepolis, the bazaars of Shiraz and the palaces of Esfahan; where poetry lives in the gardens of Kashan... Sit down for tea or share a meal in someone's home and let Iran embrace you.
Whether you walk among the beautiful rock formations of the White Desert, admire the sunrise from Mount Sinai, or soak in a hot spring in remote Siwa, the magnificent desert is all around you in Egypt. But it is the Nile that is the lifeblood of this dry country, the river that gave us one of the world's oldest civilizations. Witness the pyramids, citadel, mosques and museums in Cairo, the towering Pharaonic temples and Valley of the Kings near Luxor and the masterpiece of a temple Ramses II built in Abu Simbel. Join a Nile cruise and visit edifices where time has stood still for centuries. No matter how you travel, Egypt will leave an impression on you.
Turkey, crossroads of culture and history. You experience it in the bazaars of Istanbul, the city founded by the Romans, cultivated by the Byzantines, conquered by the Ottomans and made cosmopolitan in the modern era. You feel it in the ancient ruins of Ephesus, the Armenian churches in the east and the medieval fortresses along the south coast. You taste it in the olive oil–lathered Aegean vegetables and the spicy Anatolian kebabs. Turkey truly is the place where East meets West - come and explore it with us.
Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting Barcelona, walking the Camino to Santiago, exploring the white villages of Andalusia or discovering the Alhambra in Granada. Land of fiestas, siesta and Flamenco, of architecture and art, Spain is as diverse as it is beautiful. Come and explore Spain and you will find a passion for fine food, for wild landscapes and indeed for life itself.
Romania is a country with a huge diversity of wildlife and cultures and a way of life that seemingly has changed little since years past. Transylvania's castles balance precariously on stony outcrops lording it over picturesque Saxon villages and their fortified churches. Hiking trails lead through meadows and forests teeming with wildlife and over hills to isolated hamlets and beautiful monasteries. The marshes of the Danube Delta provide sanctuary to numerous bird and fish species while elsewhere a host of medieval towns sport cobbled walkways and chic cafes. Romania is enigmatic to say the least, Europe's undiscovered jewel.
History is writ large in Portugal. From its maritime past which fuelled the wealth of Lisbon and Porto, to the walled towns situated on dramatic hills guarding its borders, to its traditional values living strong in a country that has also embraced the future. Visitors are struck by the friendliness of its people and the affordable food and wine but above all by the sheer diversity of this small nation. Sublime sandy beaches, lush river valleys, rugged mountains and steeply terraced vineyards, pretty stone-built mountain-top villages, cobble-stoned streets, palaces and castles; you find it all in Portugal. Then there are myriad activities, from visiting wine estates to hiking the hills and Camino, or cycling the backroads.