It’s been said adventure is the pursuit of life, so if you’re looking to spice 2020 up with travel, we’ve got some incredible experiences lined up for you.
If you missed Part 1 of this feature, check it out. Oh, and a quick note: Some of these experiences are pretty damn extreme. Know your skill level and plan accordingly—or simply settle for something a bit more chill!
1. Raft Southern Africa’s Zambezi River
Well, we certainly can’t say we’re easing you into this list—we’re starting strong as hell with white-knuckle whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River in Southern Africa, just below the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia. This is a “high-volume, pool-drop” river from February through June, at which time its water volume is roughly four times that of the Colorado River.
Simply put, this rafting experience is no friggin’ joke. The British Canoe Union rates it as a Grade 5 river, which is “extremely difficult, long and violent rapids, steep gradients, big drops and pressure areas.” There are even small crocodiles making these waters their home! Fortunately, if you have anyone in your party that chickens out, they can always take in some superior bird watching opportunities in the gorge.
2. Gallop Across the Mongolian Steppe
Want to drink in one of the most remote—and diverse—environments on planet Earth? Mongolia’s got you. If you’re all-in for adventure, experiences like Nomadic Expeditions’ 12-day “Classic Mongolian Odyssey” are available to test your mettle in every way imaginable. You’ll go horseback across the steppe, hike across the Gun Galuut Nature Reserve in search of highly endangered musk deer, guide camels over the Moltsog Els sand dunes, and sleep under the stars.
The Grand Tour stars Clarkson, Hammond, and May recently went through a similar odyssey and, even in spite of the ridiculous challenges placed in front of them, they came away thoroughly awed.
3. Climb Kilimanjaro in Tanzania
This imposing monolith—the “roof” of the continent it resides upon—offers daredevils the ultimate thrill. At 5,895m, it cannot be climbed independently, providing the perfect team-oriented trek and lifelong memory. And since climatologists warn its unique snows may soon be gone, now’s the time to pack your bags.
4. Experience Angkor in Cambodia
Admittedly, every other adventure on this list is extreme af, so we’re throwing one in that doesn’t put your life at risk or require a great physical challenge, yet still inspires deep awe and appeals to those suffering from wanderlust everywhere.
Cambodia’s Angkor is a fantastic introduction to Southeast Asia. The UNESCO-protected location was built over 400 years and contains the ancient capital of the Khmer Empire, including the Temple of Angkor Wat and Bayon Temple--plus over a thousand other temples. It covers more than 400 square miles yet was only rediscovered a century and a half ago, meaning few in the grand scheme of human existence have had the opportunity to take in the gorgeous temples, imposing structures, and lush gardens of this archaeological treasure. Note: Expert tours are available!
5. Mush Across Alaska
Whether you’re looking for a one-day hike through an old-growth boreal forest or are willing to opt-in for long-distance, sled-dog-assisted travel into the mountains, Alaska holds myriad wonders. Professional touring groups such as Arctic Dog Adventure Co. let you bond with purebred Siberian Huskies as you mush across frozen expanses in search of the mesmerizing glow of aurora borealis. With experiences lasting from six hours to six days, you almost can’t go wrong.