Come face to face with a mountain gorilla in Uganda or spot a snow leopard in Asia. Watch elusive jaguars in Brazil. Follow the migration of polar bears in the Artic. These are among the unforgettable experiences available from Natural World Safaris. The Company was born out of founder Will Bolsover’s passion for primates, developed over many years as a tour guide in Africa, and specialises in magical wildlife encounters. Most trips focus on a particular type of animal or ecosystem, and can be tailored to meet specific requirements, so the intrepid traveller can opt to swim with blue whales or scale jagged mountain peaks if he or she dares.
Kathmandu. Mustang. Everest. Red Savannah’s new nine-day Himalayan tour by plane and helicopter provides access to areas formerly known only to locals and fearless Western trekkers. It includes Boudhanath Stupa and Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu; Patan – a city of artisans; a stay at The Pavilions Himalayas, with boating on Phena Lake; two nights at the Royal Mustang Resort in the mystical ‘kingdom’ of Lo Manthang, exploring Namgyal Gompa and Tinkkar villages; and a flight to Annapurna Base Camp amid snow-capped montains. The final two nights are spent high at Dwarika’s Resort in Dhulikhel, enjoying remarkable views over the Himalayan peaks; and for a final flourish, there’s a flight over the Khumba Valley to see the world’s highest mountain – with expert insights from an Everest summiteer.
Ever wished for your own Indiana Jones or David Attenborough on Hand when exploring ancient ruins or natural wonders? With National Geographic Expeditions’ 22-day tour of Central and South America, expert guides are guaranteed – as is travel via private jet. Departing from Miami, you’ll take in Machu Picchu and Iguaçu Falls, as well as the colonial delights of Cartagena. There are helicopter flights over the Guatemalan jungle, hiking in Patagonia, tangoing in Buenos Aires, plus Rio de Janeiro’s beaches and vibrant nightlife. And along the way, naturalists, archaeologists and explorers provide behind-the-scenes access and rare insights into the cultures, history and landscapes of these diverse countries.
Take in the breathtaking fjords and Lyngen Alps of northern Norway in a four-day itinerary with Scott Dunn’s latest Seriously Special Experience. The Firebird yacht has been customised for comfort, with a master suite and two further cabins; all are en-suite and furnished with sound systems and TVs. Every day, this ‘floating chalet’ takes up to seven guests to a different destination, where experienced skiers – accompanied by a professional guide – can experience some of the world’s best off-piste skiing without the crowds of lift queues. Non-skiers can go whale-watching, dogsledding or snowshoeing – or simply take an excursion to a museum or distillery.
Set within Ise-Shima National Park on the island of Honshu, Amanemu resort overlooks Ago Bay – known as the Bay of Pearls since pearl cultivation was developed there in 1893. As well as being an ideal base for relaxing in mineral-rich hot springs and Onsen (thermal baths), and exploring sacred shrines and pilgrimage trails, Amanemu offers the chance to dive with an ama, or freediver. For more than 2,000 years, these super-fit divers, most of whom are women, have gathered shellfish (including pearl oysters) from the seabed. Amanemu guests can accompany ama Mayumi Mitsuhashi, a veteran of 37 years, on a dive before settling down for a delicious lunch of clams, scallops, lobster and abalone in her traditional amagoya hut.
Turn back time with the Spitfire Experience, courtesy of Eden Being, the lifestyle brand of the Oetker Collection. You and a guest will stay overnight in a deluxe room in The Lanesborough London and, the next day, will be driven in a private limousine to the Goodwood Estate for lunch (to which you may invite two more friends). You and your companion then have a briefing with your pilots to discuss flight ambitions, before you each board a Spitfire and take off for a 20-minutes flight over the Sussex coast, scene of the Battle of Britain. You can even take the controls while being recorded on 360-degree video.
Travelling aboard The World, a combination of a private residential yacht and a luxury vacation home, allows you to explore the globe from your own private veranda. There are 165 luxury apartments (which sometimes become available for purchase) as well as six fine-dining venues, two pools, a full-size tennis court, and a spa and fitness centre. Every year, the ship’s residents and captain devise an itinerary that includes expeditions to locations where, armed with knowledge provided by onboards experts, they can participate in local ceremonies, witness wildlife up close and enjoy one-off adventures. The 2019 itinerary includes a chance to explore the unique flora and fauna of Madagascar and the Seychelles, and a maritime adventure through the Northwest Passage.
Most people don’t go abroad just to hang out in their hotel room – but at Skylodge Adventure Suites, hanging is the whole point. The room itself – a transparent 24ft x 8ft x 8ft pod sleeping up to four people – is suspended from the top of a mountain in the Andes, providing magnificent 300-degree views of the Urubamba – or Sacred – Valley. As part of a nine-night itinerary in Peru, visitors – accompanied by a bilingual guide, who also carries all food and supplies – access the capsule by donning harnesses and safety helmets, and climbing 400m along a via ferrata (a pre-laid cabled climbing route). At the end, 600m above the valley, an organic four-course dinner is served in a separate dining pod, after which guests make their way to their en-suite sleeping pods. The next morning, after enjoying the sunrise and a 7am breakfast, checkout involves zip-lining down the mountain to the valley floor below.
You’ve heard the term ‘off piste’; how about no piste at all? The only cruise operator offering skiing in Antarctica, Aurora Expeditions provides privileged access to parts of the continent that most people never get to see – let alone ski. Starting in late 2018, the Sydney-based company’s professional guides will accompany small groups of experienced skiers to virgin slopes, overlooking iceberg-studded bays, crevassed glaciers and penguin rookeries; whale sightings are also a regular occurrence. The intrepid (and fit) can choose to attempt Ernest Shackleton’s route across South Georgia, a multi-day ski adventure. Though the terrain covered on this trip is challenging – requiring specialist equipment, a reasonable level of fitness, off-piste skiing experience and some mountaineering training – the reward is monumental.