You are looking for a true adventure? Bungee jumping or hiking in the mountains is not enough? When you hear adventure you think of extreme experiences, of moments of pure bliss and this incredible feeling of freedom? Adventure to you means several days of suspense, sheer incredulity and not just a short rush of adrenaline? Then I have the perfect list of the most breathtaking and best adventures in the world for you!
The best adventures a.k.a. the ultimate bucket list for adventure freaks and adrenaline junkies!
There are adventures and there are real adventures. That’s right – real adventures! Adventures that push you to your limits, that make you speechless and that you will never forget: galloping next to wild giraffes and herds of zebras in South Africa, jumping from a helicopter over the highest mountain in the world, survival training in the Amazon, several days on a dog sled trail through Finnish Lappland or climbing the Kilimandjaro in Tanzania – these are only a few of the most breathtaking adventures in the world! I will tell you what more there is in the next paragraphs. So sit tight!
1. African Explorer Safari: From South Africa to Botswana in 8 days on horseback!
Safari does not equal safari. For this safari you don’t just climb into a jeep and sit back – you have to get in the saddle! This way you will not be perceived as a human by the animals you encounter, you are not foreign or dangerous to them. Be it a pack of hungry lions, a shy rhino or a mother elephant with her baby – on horseback you can get much closer to these wild animals which makes for an intense experience!
The African Explorer Safari with Horizon Horseback Safaris and Limpopo Valley Horse Safaris really is one of the most breathtaking safaris ever because you will be riding for 8 days, going from South Africa to Botswana, you will encounter the so-called ‘big five’ and in the evenings you can drop into bed in one of the beautiful lodges.
It is one of few in the world that takes you through two countries and has extremely well trained horses. It’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable experience for anyone who can ride and wants to become one with nature! What better is there than to canter next to wild giraffes or with a herd of wild zebras? I can hardly imagine anything that would make you feel more free!
P.S.: Horizon Horseback Safaris made a video of their safari which will give you goosebumps! Check it out because we will be going on this safari soon!
2. Go on an expedition to Monte Roraima in Venezuela!
Monte Roraima is one of the so-called Tepuis, these are the table mountains in the West of the mountain ranges in Guayana, and it lies at the intersection of Venezuela, Brazil and Guayana. It is almost 3,000 meters high rising from the flat land and the rainforest with several waterfalls crashing down its steep slopes.
You can climb the table mountain on a ten day guided tour and start down at the foothills of Monte Roraima where on the first 8 kilometers you will be putting 70% of the difference in altitude of the Roraima plateau behind you. You can cool off from time to time in cold streams and you will be sleeping close to nature in a tent!
After another ascent you spend the next days and nights at the peak itself, you hike to Maverick Rock, the highest point on Monte Roraima or go to El Flosso, the impressive water hole in the middle of the plateau. And all along you have these amazing views of the Gran Sabana or the ‘La Ventana’ face of rock – an amazing expedition!
3. Go kayaking next to orcas in Canada!
Imagine this: you are sitting in your kayak gliding gently through the sea and then orcas emerge only a few meters away from you – incredible! Canada, next to New Zealand, is one of the few countries where this is likely to happen. And why only go for two hours of kayaking if you can make this a several day excursion?
On the Johnstone Strait Expedition you will be on tour with the kayak for 6 days and get to discover the Broughton Archipelago and of course the Johnstone Strait which is 110 kilometers long. This expedition is the onlz tour that does not do a round trip. This way you get to see more of the fantastic landscape and really dive into the nature around.
You will not only encounter the great orcas but jovial humpback whales who love jumping and flipping in the water, cute sea lions, dolphins, eagles and even black bears! You sleep right in the heart of it all, in a tent pitched wherever you feel like it, complete with campfire and a clear star-spangled sky – of course.
P.S.: Alternatively you can go on a nine day kayak tour in Alaska where you will not be seeing orcas but there will be humpback whales and other great wild animals!
4. Do a motorbike trip through Mongolia!
Wide open spaces, no borders, nomad tribes, desert, savannah, wild horses and never-ending dirt roads. That is Mongolia, paradise for bikers! But for experienced bikers only which have no problem doing minor repairs on their own bike in the middle of nowhere.
You should take at least two weeks for this adventure, if not even a month, and bring your own bike. You can of course buy a bike there but you then have to register it there and resell it and for all this you will need a translator because hardly anyone speaks English there.
Even better is to do the trip with a friend or a little group so you can help each other if anything happens. But even if you are alone you will always find help by the welcoming Mongolian nomad tribes and will definitely have unforgettable experiences! Whatever you do you should go to the South of Mongolia where the sixth largest desert in the world, the Gobi desert, lies!
And if you are really athletic you can also tour Mongolia on a bicycle! There are a few operators like Bike Mongolia for instance that offer guided tours be it on motorbike or bicycle.
P.S.: There also is a more comfortable way to discover Mongolia: the Transmongolian Railway train from Ulan-Ude in Russia to Jining in China goes all the way through Mongolia and past the capitol Ulaanbaater.
5. Have huskies pull you through Lapland!
You want to discover wintery Finland and really dive into the wilderness? Then this five day dog sled tour through Finnish Lapland is just the thing for you! You will be riding in your own sled, you learn to steer your huskies and travel an average of 30-40 kilometers a day.
Overnight you stay in simple wooden cabins in the middle of the wilderness and all meals and warm clothing are included in the tour. And with a little luck you will get to see the Northern lights. This tour is the perfect adventure for dog lovers and snow people!
6. Climb Kilimandjaro in Tanzania!
With almost 6,000 meters Kilimandjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and is simply amazing: the savannah at its foot with giraffes, zebras, elephants and lions roaming the plains and then the snow-covered peak rising from the grasslands. This massif is also referred to as Africa’s roof, it consists of three extinct volcanos. The highest one is the Kilo volcano, known as Uhuru Peak, which also ist the highest freestanding mountain in the world.
You will need around a week to climb this mountain and you have two options to go about it: you either take the popular Marangu route with its nice hiking trails or the Lemosho route which offers a lot more variety in the landscape but is a bit more challenging. But the ascent to the peak is a lot shorter and easier on this route. Not an easy call to make!
There are several operators offering guided tours to the Kilimandjaro. They are pretty expensive and you have to stick to their schedule. Alternatively, you can also just take the bus to Marangu and hike up Kilimandjaro with a local guide from there. If you are very experienced, you can also set off on your own.
7. Navigate Antarctica on a sailboat!
There are several options for exploring Antarctica on a sailboat. Most expeditions take around three weeks and start and end in South America, in Ushuaia, Argentina, to be precise. But you can do it even more adventurous: you can take a sailboat from South America through Antarctica all the way to South Africa!
There are two routes you can take: either you start in Punta Arenas in Chile and in 55 days sail via Cape Hoorn into Antarctica and on to Cape Town via South Georgia, or you start in Ushuaia in Argentina and sail to Antarctica via the Drake passage and on to South Georgia and Tristan de Cunha to Cape Town which will take 52 days.
Any way you do it, it is a real sailing adventure!
8. Survival training in the Amazon: prove what you are made of!
You are a real adventurer and really want to challenge yourself? Then try survival training in Brazil’s part of the Amazon rainforest! During this training you sleep in the jungle for several days, you live off of what the rainforest provides and get to know the native animals close up. You will learn which animals are poisonous and which are harmless for you, how to hunt with what you find there and how to light a fire yourself.
This kind of training takes two weeks on average and obviously you find your own food and build your own shelter. Depending on the operator you will even be left all alone or with your partner for a few days – a crazy experience and after that you will be prepared for whatever adventure might come your way!
P.S.: You can do a similar training in the Jordan desert!
9. Go on a bear photo safari in Alaska!
If you like photography, adventures and nature you should definitely go on a photo safari in Alaska and look out for wild bears! On this safari you will be off with a small group and this way can get very close to the bears. Next to hikes and rides with the jeep you will also take a private yacht out on the ocean and can photograph orcas there.
But the highlight of this safari is the flight to the famous Brooks Falls where you are guaranteed to see fishing bears. A great picture! All in all this photo safari takes 14 days and offers you plenty of great motifs and apart from that is a real adventure!
P.S.: You can do a similar tour with the noted animal photographer Jeff Schultz. But only on certain dates!
10. Do a crossing on a cargo ship!
It doesn’t always have to be an airplane or a huge cruise ship with thousands of people aboard to travel long distances. You can go from point A to point B pretty comfortably and leisurely on a cargo ship. Rather than with other passengers you share the ship with lots and lots of colourful, huge shipping containers!
There are several routes you can travel this way. The three most interesting to me are the routes from Rotterdam via New York, Jamaica, French-Polynesia, Sydney and Melbourne all the way to New Zealand, the route from Hamburg via Dominican Republic, Columbia, Panama and Callao by Lima/Peru to Chile, or another route from Hamburg going to France and Brazil to Montevideo in Uruguay and on to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
11. Follow the tracks of wild tigers in India!
In India there still are a few wild tigers which you can try catch a glimpse of on a safari in one of the country’s various national parks. The best national parks for that are Bandhavgarh national park, Kanha national park or Punch national park which is pretty central in India, as well as Corbett national park in the North, around 200 kilometers from New Delhi.
But the most adventurous tiger safari for sure is in the Sundarbans, the largest mangrove woods in the world right on the border to Bangladesh! Just getting there with bus, boat and bicycle rickshaw from Calcutta is an adventure in itself – not even Google Maps can calculate that route. And of course the safari will not be in a jeep but in a little canoe!
With most national parks you can book your safari and accommodation individually on site. However, there also are organized tours that specialize in tiger safaris and visit several national parks like the Mocca Travels tour.
12. Heli-skiing: experience the full on snow adventure!
Skiing is all adventure: snow, mountains, fast descents and sick jumps. But you can take this to the extreme: heli-skiing! When heli-skiing you are flown from one mountain peak to the next and to otherwise inaccessible places, jump from the helicopter and ski through untouched deep snow!
This kind of adventure is called powdering, because you stir up the fresh snow like powder. Heli-skiing is not without risk because there is a real danger of setting off an avalanche or getting injured by skiing over cliffs and tree trunks hidden by the snow. But the helicopter always stays within sight and the area is of course checked for safety by experienced mountaineers beforehand.
13. Go for a road trip along the famous Panamericana!
You love road trips and are looking for total freedom? Then you really have to travel the Panamericana! It is a network of fast roads that connects Alaska in North America with Tierra Del Fuego in Argentina and spans a total of 48,000 kilometers. The original part of the Panamericana however only goes from Nuevo Laredo in Mexico down to Buenos Aires in Argentina.
No matter what part of the Panamericana you decide on doing, it is sure to be an adventure! Because the Panamericana traverses several different climate zones, from thick jungle to high-altitude mountain ranges. You should give yourself sufficient time for this trip, at least a month depending on the part you want to travel. And of course, the cool way to do it is in a VW Bulli!
14. Do a mountain gorilla tour in Uganda and Rwanda!
There are not many of them left, but you still find some: wild, huge mountain gorillas! Mountain gorillas are a subtype of the gorilla family and are some of the biggest and strongest primates in the world. They live mostly off plants and have black shining fur. Male mountain gorillas can be up to 1,75 meters tall when standing upright and weigh up to 200 kilograms – giants indeed!
This species of gorillas is only found in two small regions in East Africa, namely the slopes of the Virunga volcanos between Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Bwindi national park in Southwest Uganda. To catch a glimpse of these rare animals in their natural habitats more than anything you need time and patience.
Best way to do it is a so-called mountain gorilla trekking tour where you hike through the thick forests of Uganda and Rwanda looking out for mountain gorillas. The whole tour, getting there and the track itself, will be 15 days so you have a good chance of encountering not just mountain gorillas but wild chimpanzees too – a real ape adventure!
15. Navigate the Arctic and North Pole in an icebreaker!
How about an adventurous North Pole expedition with an icebreaker? The icebreaker departs from Murmans in Russia, goes to the North Pole and back to Murmansk via the Franz-Josef-Land archipelago. You will be travelling for 12 days and even have the possibility of flying over the North Pole in a hot air balloon!
Another adventure starts in Kangerlussuag in Greenland and ends 11 days later in Igaluit in Canada. While travelling you will encounter whales, polar bears and walruses and even get some insight into the way the inuit live. And in between you can go on expeditions on land like hikes in the tundra.
If you have a lot of time and adventurer spirit you can even do 24 days on an icebreaker going from Anadyr in Russia to Longyearbyen in Norway and in between you can board one of the two helicopters and look at the Arctic from above!
16. Go on a walking safari in South Africa!
Is there anything more exciting than following a ranger on foot who is whispering that you have to be absolutely quiet now and not turn around because the two rhinos with their offspring behind you have picked up your scent? No way! In that instant adrenaline will start rushing through your system and your heart will start pounding like crazy!
Because on a walking safari you are not in a jeep or saddle but you cross the savannah on foot, past herds of zebras and walk next to curious giraffes. From time to time a warthog darts past you and gazelles jump away as you approach because they perceive you as a threat. Or so you think. Suddenly the ranger, utterly unexcited, tells you ‘they’re not running away because of us’.
And at night you sit by the campfire dwelling on the day that has passed and then go to your tent in the middle of the wilderness. A pack of lions passes and you fall asleep to the roaring of the male, more or less at ease. A walking safari is not just pure adrenaline it is also an unforgettable experience!
I can highly recommend the Explorer Camp of Shamwari Game Reserve not far from Port Elisabeth in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. You arrive there on Friday afternoon, stay until noontime on Sunday and go out exploring several times a day and spend two nights in a tented camp. And of course you learn a lot about Africa’s wild animals and the country’s rich culture. Walking safaris are the original safaris and really only for true adventurers!
17. The ultimate adventure: jump from a helicopter over the highest mountain in the world!
There is a step up to everything, even to jumping from an airplane: jumping from a helicopter over the hightest mountain in the world, over Mount Everest itself! You jump at an altitude of 23,000 feet and even have to wear an oxygen mask. And the best part: you get to go twice and these jumps are only part of an even crazier adventure! Because to get to the highest drop zone in the world you first have to clim Mount Everest.
So these jumps aren’t just a matter of a few minutes, they include an 11 day hike with all accommodations and meals and equipment and guides of course. You can also prolong this trip by adding a week of hiking up to the Mount Everest Base Camp. Since this is probably the most exclusive and stunning sky dive ever you have to pay up: the package with two tandem jumps and hike starts at 20,000$!