The Adventure Travel team share their recommendations on where to head to in 2017.A new year means new beginnings and a whole new list of places to go, things to see and adventures to be had. Have you started thinking about where you'd like to go in 2017?
And the adventure begins…hear our tips about Japan, the Arctic, Uganda, Europe, Patagonia, South Africa, Burma and Iran.
Sam has many destinations on her wish list but Japan springs to mind when recommending an amazing holiday for her clients.
SAM’S TIPS: For a truly cultural experience, stay in a Ryokan in the traditional village of Nozawa Onsen, thermal hot pools surround the town and the ski fields are easily accessible if visiting in winter. Make sure you give karaoke a go in Tokyo at a karaoke hall, you book a private area out for a couple of hours and all drinks are free during your hire! If you're a bit of a history buff travelling with a tour allows you to see important cultural sights and learn about Japan's fascinating and beautiful traditions. Travelling independently? We can book you a Japan Rail Pass before you go, public transport in Japan is extremely efficient so you can explore without delays.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: Japan is beautiful at the end of March, beginning of April as the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. September and October allow for stunning autumn colours or December to February if you’re looking for a ski/boarding holiday.
A once in a lifetime expedition of the Arctic has made it to Kathy's top 5.
KATHY’S TIPS: Adding on a kayaking activity is a must do, you get to see the scenery up close, it's an experience you'll never forget. Ensuring you include Spitsbergen in your itinerary will give you the chance to see polar bears and the Artic fox! Be sure to pick a ship that suits your style of travel – ships range from basic expedition right through to luxury.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: Best time of year to travel to the Arctic is June to August. The weather plays a crucial role in your trip to the Arctic so speak to an expert when booking. There are a variety of different itineraries we recommend depending on your time and budget.
Kathy recently planned an incredible wildlife adventure for a client and simply cannot wait to head on a similar experience.
KATHY’S TIPS: Gorilla tracking is a must do in the area, lead by a Wildlife Authority Ranger the experience is magical, witnessing these incredible creatures in their natural environment. Add on a game drive to see the chimpanzees and tree-climbing lions who laze in the shade high up in the branches of giant fig trees. Follow these experiences with some hiking in the Rwenzori Mountains, or perhaps summit one of the Virunga volcanoes. Be sure to include some down-time at the Highland Lakes, swimming and canoeing.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: June to August and December to February. But having said that, any time of year is still pretty amazing.
Yvette's 2017 wish list also includes a touch of luxury, her wish to experience Central Europe on a deluxe river cruise has us dreaming of delicious meals, quaint historical towns and plenty of time to explore each enchanting port.
YVETTE’S TIPS: When Europe is on the top of your wish list your options really are endless, you can travel for weeks and see as many sights as possible or select a few spots and promise to return to explore even further. Budapest is a must see for Yvette, with a visit to the Szechenyi Baths and Spa - with 17 warm pools and steam rooms, sauna's and an outdoor pool - a day spend relaxing here is high on the to-do list. A visit to Amsterdam is spent exploring the numerous galleries including Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. When arriving in Passau consider adding in a side trip to visit Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: The European summer is May to September and a popular time to travel, or if you’d prefer a quieter season September to October captures the last of the warmer weather.
Yvette has just returned from an incredible expedition in Patagonia and is adamant a trip to Patagonia should be on everyone's wish list for 2017! With breath-taking natural landscapes, abundant wildlife and a lively beautiful culture it's the perfect place for your next adventure.
YVETTE’S TIPS: The spectacular scenery will be the hero of your holiday, make the most of the dramatic landscapes with hikes in the main National Parks - lead by experienced tour guides you will learn about the history of the area and the names and habits of local wildlife (including the hundreds of penguins!) be sure to pack a good camera! Book in a horse riding or helicopter experience for a different point of view. Be sure to include Torres del Paine National Park and the Perito Moreno Glacier on your to-do list.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: Travel in October to April for the best weather conditions.
Visa requirements for South Africa have recently been increased and take a little bit of effort but the payoff is incredible, South Africa is the utmost bucket list destination.
SAMS TIPS: A safari is an obvious must do, ticking off the big 5 (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, buffalos). Add on a foodie activity - food tours have really taken off in South Africa with local chefs bringing forward traditional cooking methods, ingredients and spices plus adding in some exotic flair - be sure to try a traditional Potjiekos dinner. Sampling local wines is also a must, South Africa has the oldest wine industry outside of Europe. You won’t regret taking time to complete the Garden Route Drive, rent a car in Cape Town and be meet with spectacular ocean views and quaint little towns such as Calitzdorp, the port wine capital of South Africa.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: The Cape has beautiful weather in November to February while the cooler months from May to September bring great conditions for game viewing.
Myanmar (also known as Burma) & Iran are still ‘emerging’ destinations, they see a limited number of visitors due to years of being essentially closed off to most travellers. The benefit of this is that local traditions and lifestyles are very much intact allowing for a very authentic experience.
TIM’S TIPS: The three most revered Buddhist sites of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay and the ‘balancing Golden Rock’ at Kyaiktiyo are a must-see, along with the thousands of remaining & ruined temples on the plains of Bagan. Spend a few hours in a busy tea shop on a bustling street corner in Rangoon, watching the Burmese world go by & eating local sweet treats. Seek out a ‘pwe’ (pagoda/temple festival); an all-night event usually centred around a pagoda with music, dancing and hours of endless Burmese comedy.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: You could go anytime but November to February is generally the best climate (in December you may get to experience a ‘pwe’ too).
TIM’S TIPS: Be sure to visit Esfahan, home to one of the largest public squares in the world, a beautiful oasis of grass, water and fountains, surrounded by mosques, palaces, a bazaar, local handicraft and shops and cafes. The old town of Yazd, recognised by UNESCO as one of the oldest on earth; a labyrinth of high walled mud brick houses and narrow alleys that grew around the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL: Around their spring/autumn is generally best as the summers are hot & the winters cold.