Specialists' favorite experiences of 2013
Our certified Country Specialists spent much of 2013 traveling all over the globe, researching the best guides, accommodations and excursions. We asked them to select their favorite experiences of 2013.
Richard recently returned from a memorable trip to Antarctica
'It can be hard to appreciate just how big whales are until you are stood inside the mouth of one! Every day in Antarctica is special and this was just another day in icy paradise surrounded by nature and some of the world’s most remote and striking scenery.'
Brian went trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate, Argentina
'Towards the end of traversing the mesmerizing Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina, I was surprised to be offered a shot of whiskey on the rocks, finished off with ice that I had chipped off the glacier into my glass.'
Jenna on the Rhododendron Trail in Bach Ma National Park, Vietnam
'One of the most awe-inspiring things I did in all of Vietnam was rappel down the top part of the falls off the Rhododendron Trail in Bach Ma National Park. There was no one else on the trail as my guide called the local birds and picked out medicinal herbs for me to try — but the pièce de résistance of Bach Ma was the time I spent listening to the roar of the water as I took a few quiet minutes looking at the vista of the entire park from the top of the waterfall.'
Joanna visited Machu Picchu in Peru
‘Machu Picchu is so magical, even when you are lucky enough to visit more than once. This photo was taken on my second visit to this wonderful site and I was not disappointed, as I was able to visit different areas of this beautiful Inca citadel which I hadn’t previously seen, it really is a must see on any visit to Peru.'
Joanna went horseback riding in Kenya
'While visiting the Lewa Wilderness Trails in Kenya I was given the opportunity to take one of their 38 horses out for a morning ride. One of the most unique parts of this experience is that the wild game don’t recognize you as human when on horseback, therefore allowing you to get much closer to the animals — like the giraffe behind me! This was definitely a highlight of the journey.'
Shannon hiked an ancient trade route between Magome and Tsumago in Japan
'As one of Audley’s Japan specialists, I was incredibly lucky to spend the month of November 2013 in Japan with all the amazing fall foliage and superb weather. Here I am halfway down the Nakasendo Road between Magome and Tsumago in Japan. It is a beautiful 8 km hike along this ancient trade route. I stopped for tea with this lovely gentleman who also offered me sweets and sang a beautiful song about the Kiso Valley.'
Carla met some locals on the road to Essaouira in Morocco
'No trip to Morocco is complete without seeing the goats along the road to Essaouira, particularly the ones who climb the argan trees in search of a delicious argan fruit snack. By far one of the best days of my trip was getting to interact with the local farmers and meeting this tree climbing goat. Luckily he was friendly and willing to climb down for a quick picture.'
Caroline visited Kawah Sikidang near Dieng Plateau in Java, Indonesia
'The steaming geothermal landscape of Kawah Sikidang near Dieng Plateau in Java is just one of Indonesia’s many volcanic regions. Visiting this area is exciting as you get to see how active Indonesia is, as it is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire. The island of Java has around 42 active volcanoes and seeing the locals utilizing the natural power of the earth is really fascinating.'
Samantha experienced Livingstone Island at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
'Visiting Livingstone Island at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe was the most invigorating experience of my life. I truly felt as if I was living on the edge, because I was about two feet away from it. The falls were so beautiful and yet fierce and I had to swim through the rough currents to Devil's Pond (a pool of water that you can sit in near the edge of the falls). Talk about thrill of a lifetime, I ended up laying on the edge of the falls, arms out as if I was flying, all to look straight down at what felt like the edge of the earth. I couldn't stop laughing and screaming the entire time. That is a memory I will never forget and I hope everyone gets to experience in their life.'
Chris trekked to Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén, Argentina
'After an amazing trek to Mount Fitz Roy in El Chaltén, Argentina, I decided to take some time for lunch, a bit of tea, relax and enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of Patagonia. While trekking up the mountain I began to run out of drinking water, but that was not a problem because there are many brooks that are made up of glacier melt along the trek.'
Sadie recently visited an elephant sanctuary in South Africa
'Elephants have always had a very special place in my heart and I was overjoyed when I had the chance to visit the Elephant Sanctuary on my recent trip to Plettenberg Bay in South Africa. It was there that I met Thandi, a graceful elephant with a name that means 'beautiful'. I knew the moment I laid eyes on her that I wanted her to be my walking companion. As I reached out to her she gently grasped my hand and lead me through the guided pathways of the sanctuary. In this photograph, we are at the completion of our walk together and Thandi is getting ready to demonstrate common elephant behaviors while in the wild, (which came in handy on safari) I was overjoyed to be a part of elephant conservation and the day I shared with Thandi will be a memory that will last a lifetime.'
Hannah stayed at a local village homestay in Laos
'On my recent trip to Laos, I explored the remote north, where villages are still traditional and authentic and the jungle clad mountain scenery is breathtaking. After a day trekking we stayed the night at a local village homestay belonging to the Akha minority group. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming and when I left I was given a parting gift of a hard-boiled egg!'
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