The Virunga Mountains are home to around 480 mountain gorillas – more than half of the world’s entire population
If you want to get back to nature, tie up your hiking boots and set off on one of these treks that will take you truly off the beaten track.
Discover A Lost City In Colombia
Colombia is a land of mystery – and there’s nothing more mysterious than a lost city. Ciudad Perdida is hidden deep in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains, and only accessible by a 44km trek. It offers a fascinating medley of scenery, rock scrambles, steep ascents and waterfalls. Built in 800AD (650 years before Peru’s Machu Picchu), treasure hunters discovered the site in the 1970s when they climbed the 1,263 steps from the riverbank and stumbled upon over 150 terraces, plazas, stone paths and structures. The four or five day hike can be challenging in parts, but the feeling of satisfaction – and the sight of clouds spilling across the landscape at sunset – will make it all worthwhile.
Trek To The Home Of The Rwandan Gorillas
The Virunga Mountains that straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo are home to around 480 mountain gorillas – more than half of the world’s entire population. If you want to see gorillas you need to pull on your walking boots and trek through the undergrowth. There are currently seven groups of gorilla that can be tracked in Rwanda; the Susa, Sabinyo, Amahoro, Umubano, Hirwa, Kwitonda and Group Thirteen. Treks can take from three to five hours, depending on how quickly you spot the gorillas. But you can expect rolling hills, thick foliage and a true bucket list experience.
Meet Tribes In Papua New Guinea
The Kokoda Track is one of the world’s most challenging and biodiverse treks, traversing the Owen Stanley mountain ranges that divide the north and south coasts of Papua New Guinea. While famous for its landscape, it’s equally as known for being the trail where thousands of Australians lost their lives during World War II against the Japanese forces. The challenging 96km walk takes you through mountainous terrain, changing vegetation, and can involve lots of mud – the highest point is at 7,000 feet and the ridges and gullies mean you climb and descend more than 20,000 feet in total. The locals can do the trail in three days, however most people take up to 12.
Go On A Night Safari In Vietnam
Vietnam is home to abundant jungle scenery and parks that boast endless species of amphibians, insects and reptiles endemic to Vietnam. Cuc Phuong National Park is the oldest in the country and the perfect starting point for a variety of hikes that can take a few hours to a few days. Get up early to trek the park’s lush forest and scale its tallest summit – Silver Cloudy Peak – then join an evening safari searching for owls, flying squirrels and civets. A stay at the park also offers you the opportunity to embark on the nearby 7km hike through rainforest to the Bong Station, passing through woods of giant trees, some of which are over 1000 years old. An added bonus is that you can extend this hike to the neighbouring villages where the communities still live in traditional stilt houses with waterwheels, brocade looms and bamboo rafts.
Cross Rivers And Climb Bridges In Peru
For pristine rainforest, fascinating wildlife and that lovely post-exercise achy-leg feeling, embark on a trek through Manu National Park. Departing from Cusco, the flora and fauna is spectacular, the lakes and rivers are stunning, and the treks available are plenty with an array of activities available along the way. Rafting, zip-lining and boating can be interspersed with hikes that will take you deep into the forest where you’ll be mingling with giant otters, spectacled bears, toucans and anteaters. Be prepared to be woken in the mornings by the 13 species of monkey and six species of macaw. But don’t worry – you won’t be the only human life form in the area; Manu is also home to indigenous tribes which have lived there for centuries with no contact with civilisation.