Everyone loves some downtime around a resort pool – EL staff included – but if you’re keen to hit the outdoors and raise the excitement stakes on your next trip, why not try one of these adventure travel options.
Ballooning above the dunes
With the occasional “whoosh” of the burner the only noise to break the sound of silence in the basket, hot-air ballooning can make for a memorable travel experience. Add in a vista of southern Africa’s ancient red sand dunes or waterlogged floodplains, and you’ve got something truly special.
African travel company Wilderness Safaris offers a wide range of balloon expeditions – and the fact that you’ll float above the wilderness and wildlife reflects their emphasis on conservation and protection of the natural environment.
Options include taking flight over the Namib Desert where a majestic red “sand sea” comes into focus as the sun rises and you look down on seemingly endless dunes. If you like things a little wetter, balloon over Botswana’s Okavango Delta or Zambia’s Kafue floodplains, high above the treeline and to places that no vehicles can access. Later, your pilot will find an open space to land and you’ll be treated to a breakfast spread with bubbly before returning to camp for a well-deserved siesta.
An action-packed holiday in the Wyoming wilderness is ideal for families, who can enjoy safari-style wildlife viewing, horse riding, white-water rafting, hiking and biking, all in the breathtaking scenery of Greater Yellowstone National Park.
The trip, from tailor-made tour operator Scott Dunn, starts with four days in the cowboy town of Jackson Hole, the gateway to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. By day, you’ll canoe on Jenny Lake, downhill mountain bike on Teton Mountain and set off with a private guide in search of bears, bison, wolves and wild mustang horses. By night, you’ll visit the spectacle that is the Jackson Hole Rodeo (Wednesdays and Saturdays).
The next four days are spent at Goosewing Ranch, set amongst spectacular mountain scenery that beckons to be explored on horseback. Each cabin here has its own off-road Polaris ranger vehicle, so you can explore in style if you’d prefer not to ride. After each day of adventuring, return to home-cooked food, cowboy singalongs and campfires – children will love the sleepout option in the kids’ tipis.
Riding over reefs in a chopper
Riding over reefs in a chopper Time and Tide Miavana is a private island destination off the coast of Madagascar, which combines 14 ultra-luxury villas with experiences of remote adventure across its stunning surrounding landscapes.
As a guest of the resort, you have the chance to explore from the air, under the water or by foot on the island or nearby mainland. The ultimate excursion is by helicopter, with the option of flying over beautiful mangroves to the dramatic grey tsingy (limestone karsts) of Ankarana, or visiting a working spice plantation to see how the best vanilla in the world is sourced and sorted.
You can also dive to see pristine reefs, boat to a nearby deserted island for a Robinson Crusoe-style beach picnic, or walk the forests to find resident lemurs. From June to October, you can explore Miavana’s secluded coves with wind- and kitesurfing adventures and watch humpback whales breach right from your villa.
Special offer: Exclusively for Expat Living readers, enjoy a free helicopter excursion on stays of five or more nights at Time and Tide Miavana.
Strolling on a safari
The renowned guides at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape have to undergo an in-depth training regime that includes seven days traversing the reserve’s wilderness alone, learning the lay of the land and encountering its creatures. This is the inspiration for the new Winter Wilderness Walking experience at Kwandwe, available from 1 May to 30 September this year; these months are cool and crisp with very little rainfall – ideal for activities and adventures.
Accompanied by a specialist ranger and tracker, you’ll walk across open plains, and along the Great Fish River that meanders for 30 kilometres through the reserve, exploring its rich habitat. Along the way, you’ll meet a wealth of bird and wildlife, and by night you’ll stay in a private fly-camp. Light on the environment and lit by lanterns, the authentic canvas tents in the camp have hot bucket showers and ecobathrooms, with off-the-ground beds warmed by hot water bottles to ensure a good night’s sleep ahead of another day discovering the reserve.
Winter Wilderness Walking is available for a surcharge of around S$850 for up to six guests staying at Kwandwe itself.
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