Since the dawn of time, humans have searched the world in pursuit of stories worth telling, and these incredible explorers have done just that. We are thrilled to introduce a brand-new line-up of RCGS Exodus Quests for this upcoming year. These quests are sure to take you beyond the guidebook with unrivalled knowledge from renowned explorers, authors, photographers, and fellows of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society. 2023 is the year of exploration and there’s no better way to discover a new place than with these adventure enthusiasts. Get to know them and the extraordinary trips they’re inviting you on below.
1. Highlights of Bolivia with George Kourounis
15 Days – June 16th, 2023
Bolivia is an adventure seeker’s dream. Step into the otherworldly desert landscapes of Salvador Dali alongside RCGS Explorer-in-Residence, TV host, photographer and National Geographic Explorer, George Kourounis. Take on landlocked Bolivia’s immense landscapes, ancient history and colonial cities and relish in its strong indigenous culture. George’s adventurous spirit has led him all over the world to experience local traditions, and awe-inspiring landscapes, while soaking up all the historical knowledge he can. This thrilling expedition has incredible views – the perfect opportunity for George to share his photography tips and tricks, allowing you to create incredible keepsake memories of your time in Bolivia.
Activity Level: For most of this trip, the activities are at a leisurely to moderate level. No previous experience is required – but keep in mind, the altitude may make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level.
Highlights: Bolivia is a place to expect the unexpected! Visit iconic sites on a three-day 4WD safari adventure through Salar de Uyuni, stopping at the eerie antique train cemetery, stunning salt flats and Incahuasi (cactus) Island. Feast your eyes on the impressive ruins of Pre-Columbian UNESCO World Heritage Sites. On this trip, you’ll trek through the ethereal Amboró National Park, take in the immense beauty overlooking the ‘White City’ of Sucre and walk to the ‘Fountain of Eternal Youth’. Your journey in Bolivia comes to an end soaking in the natural comfort at an eco-lodge, overlooking the deep, tranquil waters of Lake Titicaca.
Find out more about Highlights of Bolivia with George Kourounis here.
2. Nepal: Annapurna Sanctuary Photography Trek with Javier Frutos
15 Days – Oct 21st, 2023
Journey to the ‘Roof of the World’ and experience the true beauty of Nepal through the lens of your camera with renowned photographer and Canadian Geographic Creative Director, Javier Frutos. Unveil the mysteries of Kathmandu, meet silent monks, pilgrimage to rural temples, hike ancient trails, and trek to giant glaciers. Javier’s extensive travel photography experience and zest for new experiences make for an exciting adventure with memories to last a lifetime.
Activity Level: 4 Moderate/Challenging This trek is graded at a level 4; it is relatively challenging and comprises 11 days of point-to-point walking with full porterage throughout. This trip is for those confident in their physical fitness with a maximum altitude of 4,130m. This is one of the best-paced trekking routes in Nepal for acclimatization with the ascent being gradual.
Highlights: Gaze upon the Annapurna’s vast mountain range and its soaring peaks, while trekking through its natural amphitheatre, Annapurna Sanctuary. Journey through woodland hills before arriving at the Sanctuary with panoramic views of the region’s gleaming heights. Capture photos of the incredible surroundings including giants such as Annapurna 1, Glacier Dome, Gangapurna, Fang and Machhapuchhare. Explore this breathtaking mountain arena and stay overnight at Annapurna Base Camp. Bask in the warm sunrise views of Dhaulagiri, Machhapuchhare and the Annapurna from Poon Hill and trek through terraced fields and charming rural villages. Annapurna’s stunning natural landscapes are sure to surprise and amaze you!
Find out more about our Annapurna Sanctuary Photography Trek with Javier Frutos here.
3. Essential Peru with Jill Heinerth
15 Days – Oct 13th, 2023
Uncover the mysteries of the ancient Incan empire on this journey through Peru’s wilds with award-winning explorer, diver, author and filmmaker for the BBC, National Geographic, and PBS, Jill Heinerth. Be immersed in ancient ruins, Incan history, Peruvian culture, and delectable cuisine on this voyage to the land of the sun. Pass sparkling lakes, explore colonial cities, and visit the lost mountaintop citadel of Machu Picchu.
Activity Level: This tour is graded a level 2 and is leisurely to moderate. This is a busy itinerary with some long drives and early mornings. Some physical fitness is required to enjoy this trip. The altitude can make physical activity feel more tiring than at sea level.
Highlights: Discover the iconic Machu Picchu, and travel through Peru’s varied landscapes; from coastal deserts to the snow-capped Andean peaks, the high altiplano, and lush cloud forests, Peru is a dream. Meet Peru’s famous condors and llamas, discover the mysterious Nazca Lines, explore the awe-inspiring mountaintop setting of Machu Picchu, and the stunning Lake Titicaca – complete with a cozy island homestay – then take in the views of the remarkable 3000m deep Colca Canyon. What makes this trip incredibly special is the warm welcome from the Peruvian people.
Find out more about Essential Peru with Jill Heinerth here.
4. Egypt Nile Cruise with Joe Frey
9 Days – Departing Dec 1st, 2023
Ride the sands of time back thousands of years on this classic Egypt Nile cruise, with writer, historian, and RCGS Chair, Joe Frey. He is an accomplished science writer with a passion for the past and culture, which makes him the perfect guide to journey through Egypt with. Stroll through bustling bazaars, time-locked temples, and mysterious tombs. On this trip, bygone legacies and mind-blowing history await!
Activity Level: This trip has been graded a level 1, meaning the activity level is leisurely and suitable for all travellers with average health and fitness. No experience in any activity involved is necessary. The weather in Egypt can get very hot, please be mindful of this.
Highlights: Follow in the footsteps of pharaohs and kings on a captivating historic tour through Egypt. Delve into ancient temples and tombs, take in the wonder of The Great Pyramids, and visit the iconic Valley of the Kings all from the comfort of your Nile River cruise boat. Beginning in Luxor, travel upstream and watch local life pass by, visiting Edfu and Kom Ombo temples along the way. The lush green banks and the magnificent sunsets over the Nile make for an Egyptian journey of a lifetime.
Find out more about our Egypt Nile Cruise with Joe Frey here.
5. Classic Dolomites in Italy with Marlis Butcher
8 Days – Departing Sept 16th, 2023
A magnet for outdoor enthusiasts, embark on a high-altitude adventure through the Italian Dolomites with RCGS fellow, environmentalist, and author Marlis Butcher. Take Italy’s iconic trails in your stride passing jagged limestone peaks, turquoise lakes, emerald-green slopes, bucolic mountain villages and heaps of special wildlife along the way! Based in Ontario Canada, Marlis is on the board of directors for the Royal Botanical Gardens Tours and is an avid canoeist, kayaker, hiker, cyclist, and skier making her the perfect guide for this outdoor adventure!
Activity Level: This tour is graded a level 3, involving moderate walking between 5 and 7 hours per day. The area is crisscrossed by a network of long-established trails, and these paths are rocky and on occasion exposed. A reasonable level of fitness is required.
Highlights: Experience the pleasures of small village life in Villabassa, from a 16th-century family-run alpine inn. Neighbouring the Austrian border and between the jagged limestone peaks, encounter ibex, deer, fox, golden eagle, and marmot. Explore Sennes and Dolomiti di Sesto National Parks for striking views and walk under the famous ‘Three Chimneys’, Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Along the way, stop at many open-air museums dedicated to the base for Italy and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the First World War where trenches, dugouts and shell holes can be seen amongst the many colourful alpine flowers.
Find out more about Classic Dolomites in Italy with Marlis Butcher here.
6. The Zambezi Valley with Dr. Travis Steffens
8 Days – Departing July 22nd, 2023
Embark on a wild canoe and camping safari along the timeless waters of the Zambezi River in Zambia with Primatologist, Naturalist and Director of Planet Madagascar, Dr. Travis Steffens. Spot pods of hippos, basking crocodiles, elephants, lions, giraffes, and many species of birds. Not for the faint of heart, this tour is ideal for those looking for a true African adventure. Travis’s photography expertise is sure to help you capture some unreal Zambezi wildlife shots! He has spent over 15 years leading wildlife expeditions, safaris, and conservation projects around the globe. His intimate knowledge of wildlife, cultures, and environments is an asset on your journey through the famed waters.
Activity Level: On this moderate level 3 journey, you will travel by foot, Canadian-style two-person canoe, and an open-backed safari vehicle. You should have a reasonable fitness level, the ability to swim is highly recommended for this trip but no previous experience is required.
Highlights: The mighty Zambezi is an excellent location for a canoe safari adventure. Soak in the peace and tranquillity of canoeing on the river with all the thrill of a jeep safari. Camp out under the stars on secluded islands and spend your days appreciating the dazzling scenery and abundant game. Away from the water, there is also plenty of time for game walks and drives to experience the diverse wildlife and remarkable scenery this region has to offer. Drive in Chiawa Game Management Area, notorious for its elephant sightings, and walk in the Lower Zambezi National Park.
Find out more about The Zambezi Valley with Dr. Travis Steffens here.