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The World's Greatest Bucket List Adventures

Go on epic hikes, explore a spectacular underwater world and more
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Written by
Iain McConachie, Tess Van der Winsor, Jody van Merode, Jennifer Richt, Lily Bunker, Berni de Luca, Rachel O'Leary & Heather Evans

The world is full of opportunities for adventure. Whether it's climbing the highest mountain in Africa or venturing deep into the Amazon, the world is waiting to be explored.

If you're looking to experience some of the most exciting things our planet has to offer, dip into this list of our experts' greatest bucket list adventures. How many have you ticked off?

The climb of your life
Mt Kilimanjaro
Desert exploration
The Atacama Desert
Authentic cultural immersion
Ecuador

1. Go gorilla tracking and meet the Maasai, Rwanda and Kenya

An inspiring and jam-packed three-week voyage through this captivating continent, our Faces of Africa itinerary showcases Africa’s best natural wonders, locations and experiences. Track majestic gorillas through the mystical Bwindi Forest, and witness the infamous river crossings of the Migration in the Masaai Mara, before listening to the thundering rush of Victoria Falls.

Delight in exclusive encounters with Botswana’s beautiful wildlife on safari in the heart of the Okavango, watch the rippling ‘sand sea’ of the remote Namib desert. Enjoy time in vibrant Cape Town and end with a luxury train journey through the stunning scenery of South Africa.

Group of happy African girls from Samburu tribe, Kenya, Africa

2. Take a journey to the end of the world, Antarctica

Commonly known as the White Continent, Antarctica is one of most untouched places in the world. It’s a place where you can actually disconnect from the real world and be surrounded by no one, almost. It’s extreme cold, surreal remoteness and enormous ice structures are what make it an epic challenge.

Antarctica is one of the most remote destinations on earth and the best way to access it is aboard a cruise , with options to visit the iconic Drake Passage. This frozen part of the planet is also home to some of the most extraordinary animal species. You can expect to see a variety of seabirds, penguins, seals, as well as migrating whales.

3. Climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania

Mount Kilimanjaro is the ultimate African climbing adventure, and an eight-day hike up the world’s tallest free-standing mountain is perfectly followed by an exhilarating safari through Tanzania‘s Northern Serengeti. Tanzania is the perfect country for adrenaline junkies who are in search of a both mind-blowing surroundings and wild animal sightings.

Read more on the best time to visit here.

 

Professional guides, quality equipment, custom-made sleeping and dining tents, thorough training and plenty of time for acclimatisation will help make this daunting trek an achievable goal. The breathtaking sights of sweeping Savannah and lush forest as you ascend are more than worth the effort.

One elephant walking across the savanna with Mount Kilimanjaro in the background

4. Sleep under the stars in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Chile‘s Atacama Desert is one of the most otherworldly landscapes on the planet and makes for some truly incredible trekking. This twelve-night itinerary takes you on a spectacular adventure through the remote and hidden wonders of rural Chile.

Beginning in the Atacama Desert, you’ll spend four nights under an impossibly starry night sky and your days out exploring red sands, spitting geysers and high altitude plains on horse rides, hikes and cycling excursions. The Atacama is a truly ethereal landscape and after spending so much time here, you’ll be loathe to return to ‘reality’.

5. Trek to Machu Picchu, Peru

As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, it’s no surprise that Machu Picchu is one of Peru’s main tourist draws. This Incan city sits on a mountain ridge north west of Cusco, 2,400 metres above sea level. Tales are told around the world about this ancient Incan wonder, but Machu Picchu is a sight that really needs to be seen in order to be believed. Our expert local guides help to bring the ancient city to life, detailing the history, significance and myths surrounding it.

The classic way to see Machu Picchu is via the infamous Inca Trail.

During the four-day walk, expert guides bring the landscape to life with their stories, and explain the ancient beliefs of the indigenous Quechuan community. On the trek, walkers will pass archaeological sites, dramatic mountain vistas and dense cloud forests, before arriving at Machu Picchu to watch an ethereal sunrise.

6. Dive at the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

One of the great natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is a huge draw for travellers in this picturesque corner of Australia. The awe-inspiring reef is the largest coral reef in the world, and as the largest living structure on the planet, it’s even visible from space.

Home to over 3,000 individual reef systems and an incredible wealth of biodiversity, it’s a paradise for animal lovers with 30 species of cetaceans and more than 1500 types of fish.

 

Truly a bucket list adventure, the Great Barrier Reef is best seen sooner rather than later. The threat to the Great Barrier Reef is so large that climate change is predicted to cause irreversible damage to the reef by 2030. There is hope though, with charities discovering new ways of restoring reefs and working to protect endangered species. Tourism has become far better managed too.

7. Conquer the peaks of the Himalayas, Nepal

If it’s your first time going on an epic hiking adventure, Nepal is a good option. It is not only home to the mighty mountain range of the Himalayas but it also features a collection of trails fit for all ages and abilities. All of which are guaranteed to thrill.

 

The Kathmandu Valley Trek is one worthy of anyone’s bucket list. It offers some spectacular mountain views of the Annapurna Range and the Everest from afar.

In Kathmandu, you can also immerse yourself in the local culture. The region offers a plethora of heritage sites and if luck is on your side, you can even catch a traditional festival.

8. Trek the Great Wall of China

China‘s  history goes back thousands of years, yet it is one of the world’s most rapidly developing countries. This is a place where you’ll find ancient royal residences sat next to glitzy modern skyscrapers and where suited businessmen and women stride past stalls selling traditional steamed dumplings.

One feature that’s been part of the country for centuries is, of course, the Great Wall of China.

Stretching for more than 20,000km, the wall was the world’s largest military structure and was built to defend against invasions from the north. Although it is a hugely popular attraction for visitors, we can arrange for you to visit virtually empty sections of the wall so you can marvel at this iconic structure in peace.

9. Visit the Taj Mahal, India

Visiting the Taj Mahal is a must-do while you’re in India. Sitting on the banks of the holy Yamuna River within 42 acres of beautiful gardens, the domed mausoleum is surrounded by minarets on all four sides. The story behind the Taj Mahal’s construction is epic. Heartbroken after the death of his favourite wife, Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan set about building the world’s most beautiful monument in her honour. Astoundingly, it took a workforce of over 20,000 men 22 years to build. As the world’s greatest symbol of love, this icon of India is truly awe-inspiring. 

The most magical times to see the Taj are sunrise and sunset. As the light changes, the Taj Mahal’s colour changes too, and is bathed in an ethereal golden glow.

As the sun rises and basks the Taj Mahal in morning light, the stone changes from a soft golden glow to a dazzling white. At sunset, the light plays on the mausoleum’s marble and its reflection shimmers in the surrounding water. There are fewer crowds at sunrise and sunset, so visiting at these times also allows for a much more intimate experience. 

Feeling inspired? Our expert travel designers are always on hand to help you plan your next bucket list adventure.

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