For many travellers a good holiday is less about beaches, bars, and vegetating on a sun lounger and much more about chasing down that latest hit of adrenaline! Here are five countries with the climate, landscape, and facilities to escape the mundanity of modern life and truly immerse oneself in the thrill of adventure!
Skiing, snowboarding, trekking, mountain-biking, mountain-climbing – all backdropped by incredible alpine vistas that stretch as far as the eye can see. Canada truly is God’s own adventure playground. Given its climate snow sports are accessible in nearly all parts of Canada, but Whistler resort, tantalisingly close to Vancouver, remains North America’s skiing and snowboarding crown jewel. Looking eastwards there remain plenty of choices, not least of all Blue Mountain Ski resort, a stone’s throw from the mighty Niagara Falls. Then of course there’s Banff National Park, in Alberta province and a quick hop from the city of Calgary. With its enchanting lakes, hot springs, sleigh-rides and labyrinthine cave networks Banff is a veritable wonderland of adventuring. Once you’ve worn yourself out exploring the park sit back, grab a cup of spiced apple tea and, if you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of the incandescent Northern Lights.
Check out our suggested adventurers template for Canada here
In the United States size matters, especially when it comes to the natural world. At 2.2 million hectares Yellowstone National Park is bigger than Switzerland. Predictably, there’s a huge amount of adventuring to do here: see wolves, bison and bears in their natural habitat; watch famous geyser Old Faithful erupt in all her glory; bathe in hot springs; go hiking; go rafting; go mountain-biking. Head to Arizona and take in one of the wonders of the world, the iconic Grand Canyon. A vertical mile high at its deepest and an average ten miles wide it’s one of the greatest spectacles on earth. The Colorado River, meanwhile, offers fantastic rafting opportunities. Speaking of Colorado, why not head to the state that bears its name and the Rocky Mountain town of Boulder. Here adventurers can indulge in winter sports as well as rafting, hiking, and biking. Looking north-east try the Great Lakes region. Spread along the border between the US and Canada it’s fantastic for fishing, climbing, and camping. The vibrant city of Chicago can be used as a great jumping off point to explore the lakes.
Check out our suggested adventurers template for the United States here
In South Africa it’s all about the wildlife. The world-renowned Kruger National Park, the third largest in the world, is home to Africa’s ‘Big Five’ game animals – lions, leopards, black rhinos, African elephants, and African buffalo. All five thrive in Kruger. There are various options when it comes to safaris and guides, but self-driving tours offer a unique way to enjoy the area. Visitors choosing this option should fly into nearby Johannesburg and pick up their rental cars from there. On South Africa’s south coast, near Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) lies Addo Elephant National Park. Available activities include game drives – again, self-drive wildlife viewing is available – Marine eco tours, hiking and 4×4 trails. Head to the Hapoor Drinking Hole Lookout to see the elephants gather, bathe and play. Birding is also a highlight in Addo. Still on the coast but a few thousand kms west lies Hermanus. A small town not far from Cape Town it’s a hub for whale, shark, manta ray and dolphin spotting. June is when the whales congregate here and there are various whale boat operators offering visitors the chance to admire these epic but elegant oceanic beasts.
Check out our suggested adventurers template for South Africa / Uganda here
The natural highlight of Brazil is of course the Amazon rainforest – jungle trekking, river-cruising, swimming, kayaking or just taking in the most diverse array of flora and fauna in the world. Within the Amazon lies the Pantanal, the largest continental wetland on earth – as big as Belgium, Switzerland, Holland and Portugal combined. Ride on horseback through swampland and try and spot the mysterious jaguar or take a boat tour and marvel at the native macaws. There’s a plethora of ways to discover this natural paradise. Forming part of the border between Brazil and Argentina are Iguazu Falls. There are 275 separate waterfalls making up this immense marvel of physical geography and nearly as many ways to explore it. Adventurers can paddle, row and jetboat their way among the towering falls, then bike and trek through the surrounding forests. Don’t forget Brazil’s 8,000km or so of coastline though. Head to Jericoacoara National Park, hire a buggy or ATV and race across its huge expanse of sand dunes. Then explore the nearby beaches, where rich vegetation meets pearly white sands and inviting tranquil waters.
Check out our suggested adventurers template for Brazil here
Leave aside Marrakesh and Casablanca for a moment because Morocco’s deserts and coast provide ample opportunities to get off the beaten track of tea houses and bazaars and get active. Head out to Merzouga or, even more isolated Erg Chigaga, both reputable desert activity bases, from where visitors can camel-trek into the Sahara. Nights are then spent sleeping among the dunes, gazing up at the canopy of stars. Various companies offer a selection of different desert-trekking packages. Camels a bit too languid? Quad-biking and buggy rides are also available in various spots around the country. If all that desert sand is drying you out head to the coast, specifically Sidi Kaouki beach, close to Essaouira city, for some surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. If you’re self-driving the famous Tizi n’ Test mountain-pass offers the road-trip of a lifetime. The winding, twisting route connects Marrakesh and Taroudant and reaches an elevation of 2,000 metres. Provided the weather’s good the views are spectacular. There are various rest spots along the way to let your vertigo subside!
Check out our suggested adventurers template for Morocco here
Five countries, five opportunities for fun and adventure. Just within each individual country there’s a range of locations offering various activities, so spread your wings, plan carefully and diversify your trip to truly make the most of each nation.
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