Lake Mutanda, Uganda. Fishermen at dusk in a dugout canoe. Photo by Frits Meyst

Mountains, Deserts and Jungles

From the realms of the polar bear to the deep jungles of Africa, from the Andes to the Himalayas via the highlands of Central Asia, these are the 5 destinations we recommend to every explorer in 2021.
explorer personality

Our recommended destinations for EXPLORERS

So, you’re an explorer? Welcome! It’s not often we meet one of you. To do so is, for us, a reason to rejoice. In addition to the many characteristics you’ll find about yourself in our travel personality descriptions, did you know that it’s said that you are usually the ones who propose to open another bottle of wine? 😊

Itching to explore again? From the realms of the polar bear to the deep jungles of Africa, from the Andes to the Himalayas via the highlands of Central Asia, these are the 5 destinations we recommend to every explorer in 2021.

Before we dive into it, here is a quick story about a NASA flight that you will enjoy.

Bad times for exploration?

Well, it depends on how you look at it. Obviously, the closing of borders is not ideal in the search for new horizons that we’re all so passionate about, but there are certainly options to travel to very interesting international destinations, as well as to explore what we have closer to home..

Indeed, the past year has not been a very prolific one for major explorations that might fan our flames for venturing into the unknown. Yet, 2020 has left us with some great achievements in space exploration. For example, the successful flight of NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley aboard the SpaceX spacecraft Crew Dragon to the International Space Station ushered in a new era of manned spaceflight. Is there a superior form of exploration than that?

It’s good to remember that, most of the time, the ultimate goal of an explorer is to find a better sense of self, and to reach self-realization through discovery. What is it that drives you to explore?

“Never hesitate to go far away, beyond all seas, all borders, all countries, all beliefs.”

Amin Maalouf

Perhaps you’ll find out by viewing our 5 recommended destinations. If any of them tickles your fancy, you know that our Local Destination Experts are at your service.

Bon voyage!

SVALBARD

The kingdom of the polar bear

The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here, you’ll find an unspoiled Arctic wilderness and unique wildlife in a rugged yet fragile environment. Did you know that these lands are inhabited by thousands of polar bears?

Any traveler who ventures to these islands will find that they emanate their own austere and mysterious beauty. That’s why Svalbard has long been a source of fascination for explorers of all types.

NEPAL

The heart of the Himalayas

Is there anything left to explore in Nepal? For the uninitiated, it may seem that the paths are already too well-trodden in this country with the highest mountains on earth. But nothing could be further from the truth. 

One example: the Great Himalayan Trail. With a length of 1,500 kilometers, it runs through Nepal from end to end in a succession of intertwined trails, making it a proper challenge for hikers, mountaineers and adventurers alike.

KYRGYZSTAN​

The Switzerland of Central Asia

Have you ever looked at a map of Kyrgyzstan? The geography of this Central Asian country is a dream for any explorer. Its eminently mountainous character, with soaring ranges and peaks of up to 7,000 meters, also offers a succession of virgin and inhospitable valleys, huge plains of summer pastures (jailoos), rivers, forests, lakes and more.

Another of the great attractions of this country is the possibility to stay in traditional camps. Nomadic culture is still very alive in Kyrgyzstan, and it’s quite common for families to sleep in yurts. All told, the country is a paradise for long walks or horseback rides in summer, or for a ski adventure in winter.

BOLIVIA

Jungles, deserts and mountains

Snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, jungles, lakes, high plateaus… Bolivia may be small in size, but it holds some of the most unique landscapes on the planet within its borders. One fact that lures explorers from all over the world: more than half of Bolivia’s territory lies in the Amazon Basin.

The possibilities for exploration are endless in Bolivia’s Amazonian national parks, which will transport you to lost worlds. In addition, this is a country with such a strong indigenous culture that it is relatively easy to find support in local communities for expeditions into terrains that are not well-mapped.

UGANDA

The pearl of Africa

To talk about tourism in Uganda is to talk about mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. But Uganda is not only a paradise of primates; it has many other less publicized attractions, too. This African country is characterized by water since 18% of its territory is covered in rivers, large lakes or swamps. These include the legendary sources of the White Nile, the Victoria Lakes, Albert and Mburo.

Uganda is, above all else, a country of overwhelming natural beauty with dazzling scenic landscapes that range from lush mountain rainforests to red dirt tracks, wide open savannas and even 5,000-meter peaks.

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