There’s nothing quite like getting off the grid in far-flung corners of the world. Whether it’s wandering in the silent, snow-covered terrain deep in the Himalayas or enjoying an exhilarating drive through Namibia’s vast ochre-coloured deserts, it’s remote, wild places like these that continue to stir our soul and make us feel like true explorers. With hope on the horizon for a return to travel this year, we’ve picked some of our favourite, most obscure spots to ignite your spirit of adventure, where you can enjoy unforgettable wildlife encounters, epic treks and awe-inspiring panoramas.
Tian Shan Range, Kyrgyzstan
On our Kyrgyzstan Tian Shan Gorge Trek, discover the truly remote, wild pastures that are inhabited by Kyrgyz nomads as you trek through the Tian Shan Range. Wandering past fresh alpine meadows, your route will cross the immense Jety-Oguz Gorge and take you on an exhilarating ascent to the base of Karakol Peak, where you’ll have the opportunity to visit little-known ancient sites such as the Cholpon-Ata Petroglyphs. After admiring the beautiful vistas from the Telety Pass, the route take you through alpine meadows and along the Uyun Tor River towards the Tien Shan blue spruce forest.
Aside from exploring the country’s spectacularly unspoilt landscapes, this wilderness trip allows you to truly delve into the life and culture of Kyrgyz nomads and people living in some of the most remote communities. Learn how to make traditional hand-pulled “Laghman” noodles in a rural family home, take a guided cultural tour of Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan and end the adventure by unwinding in a rejuvenating bath, in the thermal baths of Altyn Arashan.
Ladakh, Northern India
Imagine getting to explore off-the-beaten-track in the mountains of the larger Kashmir region, where the only signs of human life are remote Tibetan Buddhist monasteries and rainbow coloured prayer flags fluttering in the breeze. Standing on one of the highest plateaus in the world surrounded by nothing but vast snow-covered terrains, lofty Himalayan peaks and picture-perfect gompas, you can’t help but feel moved and connected with nature.
Aside from the awe-inspiring vistas, you’ll have the opportunity to follow our expert local guides for the chance to see one of the most elusive creatures in Ladakh – the Snow leopard. In Search of the Snow Leopard, takes you on an unforgettable journey, in the hopes of catching sightings of this enigmatic cat. Along the way, it’s not uncommon to cross paths with red foxes, blue sheep and Lammergeyers while golden eagles’ sore overhead. Alongside these fascinating wildlife encounters, you’ll get to visit isolated Himalayan Buddhist communities and important ancient monasteries including Thikse, Shey, and Stakna in the fascinating Indus Valley. During this trip in the far-flung corner of Northern India, you can also attend a traditional festival in Ladakh where monks dress in vibrant brocade and silks costumes.
Karakoram Mountains, Pakistan
Starting in Askole, a small town located in Shigar Valley, our challenging Concordia & K2 trip takes you on a remote wilderness trek in the Baltistan region. Following the Braldu gorge, you’ll pass the spires of Trango Towers and the Grand Cathedral towards the summit of the shimmering Baltoro glacier before making the ascent to the campsite in Concordia.
As you continue up the final ascent on the rocky moraine towards Concordia, you’ll begin to see a circle of mountain giants come into view. This outstanding panorama aptly named “the throne room of the Gods”, encompasses the snow-capped peaks of Gasherbrum 4, Mitre Peak, Chogolisa and Broad Peak – a remarkable sight by day or by night that will be forever etched into your memory. After an optional day walk to the Art Gilkey Memorial, retrace your steps, and end this spectacular trek in Islamabad. Known as one of the least-tackled high-altitude adventures, making this journey through Pakistan’s colossal Karakoram Mountains to the foot of the world’s second tallest mountain, will be well worth the effort for the vistas alone.
With a population of 2.5 million people (and the equivalent landmass of England and France combined), Namibia’s unspoilt wilderness isn’t in short supply. Even the very word “Namib” in the local Nama language translates to “vast place of nothingness”. However, you’ll soon find that in-between its rugged wide expanses of petrified forests, other-worldly rock formations and towering ochre dunes, desert elephants, lions and the world’s largest population of free-ranging Black rhino are congregating around Etosha’s waterholes.
To see Africa at its most wild and raw, our Namibia 4WD Desert Safari takes you along paths less travelled with visits to the ancient Twyfelfontein San Bushman Engravings and two days in the Palmwag Concession for unparalleled wildlife viewing. Alongside some of the bigger predators including, leopard, cheetahs and lions, you may also be able to spot zebras, giraffes, springboks and Hartmann’s gazelles. Next, it’s onto the Khowarib Gorge and the local Himba village to meet the nomadic Himba people, before enjoying exhilarating game drives in Etosha National Park and the Onguma Game Reserve. This wilderness adventure offers a great opportunity to sit back and marvel at nature’s theatre in action.
Chile’s natural wonders are plentiful and far-reaching. Boasting some of the most diverse landscapes in the world along its thin 4300km stretch, you’ll find lush fertile valleys, parched deserts, ancient temperate rainforests, majestic fjords and staggeringly large glaciers intertwine seamlessly. It comes as no surprise that this country rivals most for those who are looking to uncover vast areas of pristine wilderness that are firmly off the tourist trail.
On our Discover Chile trip, you will visit the otherworldly Atacama salt flats, the high-altitude altiplano lagoons and the bubbling El Tatio geysers. Next, take a riveting hike towards the gushing Petrohue Falls and a boat cruise on Lago Todos Los Santos before travelling further south to see the immense granite towers of Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. Only when you’re standing in what writer Lucas Bridges describes as the ‘uttermost part of the earth’, taking in the ice fields, towering mountains and cobalt blue glaciers of Tierra del Fuego, can you truly begin to understand what it felt like to be one of the first travellers to discover this windswept archipelago. If you’re looking for that once-in-a-lifetime trip that takes you deep into the wilderness, then this adventure won’t disappoint.
South Georgia and the Falkland Islands
A trip to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands is taking an adventure in some of the planet’s most unspoilt landscapes, where boundless wildlife and captivating beauty are guaranteed. Follow in the footsteps of legendary explorer, Ernest Henry Shackleton and trace his journey on a fantastic photography expedition onboard the Magellan Explorer. Visited by very few others in the world, join our award-winning photographer, guide and conservationist, Paul Goldstein, to photograph Antarctic wildlife, including elephant seals, king penguins, giant petrels and skuas as you make the epic journey across South Georgia and on towards the island of Saunders, Carcass and West Point.
The island of South Georgia is often called “the Galapagos of the Poles”, due to its impressive numbers of seals and macaroni, chinstrap and gentoo penguins that breed here. And during our South Georgia and the Falkland’s Photographic Expedition, you’ll spend 15 days finding mass colonies of these wonderful creatures while gliding across the icy waters of the Antarctic Peninsula. Amidst South Georgia’s towering peaks, hanging glaciers and black volcanic beaches there are great opportunities to photograph lively crowds of king penguins. In the fertile Falkland Islands, you’ll also be able to hike along the rocky shores to see nesting black-browsed albatross and if you’re lucky see hordes of rockhoppers and Magellanic penguins flocking on a single beach.
If our list of epic adventures in the wilderness inspired you, why not browse our full collection of trips here.