2020 may not have been quite the year we had planned for, but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream big and start looking to 2021 as the year to travel better, more consciously and with an enhanced care for the locations we’re visiting, the communities we’re engaging with and the environments we’re experiencing. Discover our bucket list of ultimate adventures for next year, all offering something exceptional and life-enhancing.
SAUDI ARABIA’S DESERT RICHES
One for the intrepid traveller, unearth a country that has seldom been explored. Whet your appetite for adventure and discovery as you journey through the origin and spiritual home of Islam, Saudi Arabia. Bewildering riches pepper a landscape where forbidding cliffs, empty expanses, lush oases and ancient cities await. A centuries-old hidden secret, journey into the otherworldly Al Ula desert where sculpted sandstone, monumental rocks and wonderfully empty landscapes dominate the horizon. In 4×4 vehicles, traverse a 15km long canyon where fresh water runs beneath soaring cliffs and swaying palm trees flourish throughout.
SAIL THE INCREDIBLE BALTIC SEA
Explore four contrasting nations as you charter a yacht across the Baltic Sea. Starting in Russia, you will fish the largest lake in Europe, drive 4×4’s around hairpin bends in alpine forests and enjoy a luxurious vodka and caviar tasting before a private musical performance in the Menshikov Palace. Finland is a hidden Scandinavian gem that is renowned for its thousands of islands, picture perfect glass-like lakes, and towering forests. Hike along craggy coastlines before abseiling to jaw droppingly beautiful forests where you will encounter bears and elk. Try a traditional Finnish sauna and hot air balloon under the midnight sun of high summer. Race into Denmark in classic cars and explore the museums, cathedrals and gardens of Copenhagen and spend the evening at the Royal Danish Opera. Finish your charter in the Swedish archipelago, boasting white sanddunes and gin-clear waters. Go mountain biking with an archaeologist to discover the Viking history and witness stone-age skeletons and 12th-century turrets. Jump in a submersible to explore some of the 100,000 known shipwrecks dating back centuries, choosing between Viking ships, WWI & II warships and ancient trading ships or simply snorkel and dive for oysters and crab.
ISLAND HOP IN SAO TOME & PRINCIPE
Covered with a rich velvet forest and lush tropical jungles, the islands of São Tomé and Príncipe hold a host of unexplored wilderness and endemic wildlife, whilst fringed palm trees line the awe-inspiring sandy beaches and deep blue waters are bursting with tropical marine life. Trek through the vivid green, lush volcanic slopes of Pico do São Tomé, the islands highest peak, rewarding you with sensational panoramas. Dive into the magical blue lagoon where vibrant coral reefs host tropical fish, rays, moray eels and an abundance of turtles. Immerse yourself into the culture and grab the raw opportunity to interact with island residents and learn about their rich European and African heritage. These islands are emerging as a very interesting new frontier in ecotourism with hotels offering utmost comfort amongst unexplored wilderness.
MYSTICAL NEW ZEALAND
With the world-renowned America’s Cup taking place in March, head to Auckland on a private yacht charter. Witness the thrilling races of the 36th America’s Cup and see Team New Zealand racing against the winner of the Prada cup before cruising down the coast to explore a country brimming with culture and excitement. Embark on two weeks of pure adventure, including heli-biking from 6000ft, before descending into the open alpine tundra; encounter Maori warriors who will proceed to simulate an ambush which only you will know is happening; spend the day alongside an ex-special forces solider who will run you ragged with extreme adventure and thrilling activities; or 4×4 through unmarked roads with sheer drops and hairpin bends. For those who like a little less high-octane, New Zealand has an abundance of vineyards where you can spend your day tasting world premier wines; or hike through the spectacular topography, spotting various animal and plant species with local guides. Relax at anchor and welcome a Dark Sky ambassador on board. Armed with high powered telescopes and cameras, they will guide you as you stargaze with a glass of local premier cru.
ONCE IN A LIFE-TIME SOLAR ECLIPSE IN ANTARCTICA
Antarctica is known for its breath-taking scenery, diverse wildlife and the opportunities it provides for scientific research, conservation and discovery. Venture into the deep water of Paradise Bay in a submersible or visit Trinity Island, home to various penguin colonies, to discover how they thrive. Cruise to Enterprise Island to see humpback whales and orcas before skiing down heavily glaciated mountains above fjords dotted with icebergs. Heli to Mount Shackleton to watch the sun set and stop to explore the old whaling station and shipwrecks left behind. Make your 2021 an experience of a lifetime with a spectacular total solar eclipse that will only be seen in Antarctica. On December 4, 2021, you can view this polar eclipse from aboard your superyacht and be awe-inspired as you relax in complete luxury.
CULTURE AND MARINE LIFE IN EAST TIMOR
Timor-Leste is one of the world’s unsung tourist destinations, with visitor numbers low in spite of its impressive natural credentials. Just a short way from shore, the surrounding reefs plunge to deep depths, revealing the country’s key attraction: its diverse and thriving waters of unparalleled biodiversity. On land, there are forested slopes teeming with birdlife, jungle caves tattooed with ancient rock paintings and crumbling Portuguese colonial towns to explore. Embarking on a submersible based hunt for lost WWII wrecks in the depths of the straights, teeming with large pelagic life, you are likely to encounter dolphins, rays, whale sharks and over 30 different species of whale, ranging from migrating blue whales to the resident sperm whale population. Sip coffee on stunning plantations with a personalised tasting experience and explore complex cave systems, home to cave paintings over 13,000 years old. Dirt bike down winding mountain trails to meet tiny indigenous communities and learn valuable survival skills on deserted islands with a guide.
On the West coast of Africa, situated along the Equator and with the drama of the Atlantic Ocean hugging its western coastline, Gabon is in a prime position for an abundance of natural beauty. Where luscious mangroves meet expansive coastline, walk along the white-sand beaches and spot the mythic surfing hippo, before heading deeper into the vast estuary waterway where buffalo and gorillas graze the banks, and elephants spray bath in the rich waters. Discover the Bwiti culture, observing the Punu and Mitsogo people undergo a spiritual discipline using the root bark of the Iboga plant in the rites of ancestral worship. Marvel at the movement and vibrancy shrouded in mysticism, it is a powerful experience that you are unlikely to ever forget.
HELI SKI & ADVENTURE IN GREENLAND
For those wanting to go where few have been, Greenland is the place. A stunning land of Arctic pack ice complete with intense wildlife activity and intriguing Inuit culture. The landscape is unnervingly huge, unscathed by mankind – the forces of nature still rule the roost here. Several vessels operate in the area, providing a truly unique insight into this captivating and wild environment. On your yacht charter you will sail coastlines interspersed with lush valleys, intricate fjord systems and picturesque villages made up of colourfully painted houses. Heli ski under the midnight sun and explore abandoned weather stations deep into the tundra, looking like something from a Bond movie. Kayak and paddleboard around towering icebergs and enjoy BBQs at the top of ancient glaciers, dogsled over summer snow and use 4×4’s to track massive musk ox and caribou herds. Try river fishing before smoking your catch on outdoor heather fires and relax in isolated hot springs before digging for precious garnet gemstones in the wilderness.
JOURNEY THROUGH KAZAKHSTAN
A country of astounding natural beauty, Kazakhstan holds mesmerising landscapes and an enchanting culture. Gain access to this unexplored country alongside an expert, knowledgeable guide. Travel deep into the Kazak steppe in 4×4 landrovers, traversing across luscious green mountains where streams and waterfalls bless the fertile valleys and grasslands stretch as far as the eye can see. Paraglide above the Tian Shan mountains, soaring above towering peaks, sunken forests and turquoise blue lakes. Experience hospitality like never before, dining with local Kazak families who will treat you to an intriguing and authentic feast, before sharing with you to some traditional Kazak song and dance around the campfire and beneath a blanket of stars.
AFRICAN DELIGHTS IN CHAD
One of Africa’s best kept secrets, Chad is an under-explored land of dramatic scenery, arid deserts and thriving national parks. Huge herds of elephants traverse the grassy plains, while crocodiles lurk in the desert’s deep ravines. With dramatic landscapes, flourishing ecosystems and ancient artwork, this is a country steeped in culture, conservation and epic adventure. Soar over the endless expanse of the Ennedi Desert where pyramids, towers and sandstone pillars, forged by desert winds and scorching temperatures, litter the arid landscape, looming high over dunes and deep ravines. On land, weave through these magnificent structures, examining fascinating paintings and depictions adorning their ancient surfaces and telling tales of Neolithic inhabitants of times gone by. Home to half the world’s population of Kordofan giraffe, game drives in the Zakouma National Park will bring you intimate interactions with these majestic creatures, whilst you learn about the successful conservation efforts made to restore the declining populations of elephants.
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