Known for their adventures to destinations off the tourist path that delve deep into a region’s culture, wildlife and cuisine, Wilderness Travel is introducing more than 24 new itineraries and four special events for 2018, the year it will celebrate its 40th anniversary, and into 2019. These journeys not only meet high demand for locations such as the Arctic, but take hikers along the best parts of some of the world’s most renowned hikes, as well as continue to support conservation with trips to the fringes of the world to see great wildlife events like the elephant migration and to sleuth out the elusive snow leopard.
From down under in New Zealand and across the world in Japan to the beauties of Europe and the famous base camps of Mount Everest, here are highlights of Wilderness Travel’s new itineraries for 2018 and 2019:
For Wildlife Lovers:
On the 10-day Botswana to Zimbabwe: The Great Elephant Migration, a special WT Expedition, guests will experience the ultimate safari timed with the great migration of some 200,000 elephants through Zimbabwe, and spot wildlife by bike, on foot, in a canoe, via 4X4 and even by night. Starting in Botswana, one of the most renowned wildlife destinations in the world, travelers will gain access to the some of the least crowded areas and then cross a remote border into Zimbabwe. In addition to time spent at Hwange National Park, with its large elephant population, there will be an opportunity to explore the most remote camp in Zimbabwe, enjoying views from a below-ground blind to see herds at close range. Safari-goers may be able to see hundreds of elephants at once, as well as lion, leopard, zebra, cheetah and more, returning each evening to comfortable, but remote accommodations that give the best access to wildlife viewing.
Departure Date: July 31-August 10, 2018
Starting Price: $6495 per person, double occupancy
Spotting the mysterious and elusive snow leopard is challenging for the most knowledgeable tracker, but Wilderness Travel provides guests with the best opportunity to sight these animals of legend in India. While many people camp in search of the snow leopard, which proves cold and dark in March, Wilderness Travel has discovered a lodge built by the Snow Leopard Conservancy of India where trekkers can listen to talks from naturalist guides each evening and sleep in comfort after a long day on the hunt in addition to supporting the efforts to conserve this species.
Spotters take guests by vehicle to the areas where the animals have been most recently been sighted, including exclusive access to the north gate of Pench National Park, using vehicles to hop-scotch forward and then hike each area. “It is the absolute best chance for seeing these mysterious elusive creatures,” says Barbara Banks, director of marketing and new trip development for Wilderness Travel. The trip also includes a visit to Kanha National Park, the best place in the country to see Bengal tigers.
Departure Date: March 7, 2019
Starting Price: $7995 per person, double occupancy
Led by phenomenally popular Trip Leader Kate Ulberg, Japan: Snow Monkeys and Winter Cranes shows travelers the glories of Japan in winter, focusing on the natural side of the country and its wildlife. Go right up to the hot springs where Japanese snow monkeys (macaques) bathe in the forests of the Japanese Alps and then join the locals celebrating the Sapporo Snow Festival with magical snow and ice sculptures lit up at night. View the famous red-crested cranes as they perform a mating dance in the snow in the Kushiro Marsh, home to half the world’s population of the birds. Finally, the crater lake of Akan closes the journey as travelers watch traditional local dances and flocks of whooper swans feeding.
“Our trip leader Kate Ulberg is much beloved and really brings you into the cultural and historic aspects of Japan,” says Banks. “If you travel on your own, you’ll feel like you’re looking from the outside in, whereas she truly brings you inside the culture.”
Trip Date: February 3-13, 2019
Starting Price: Still being finalized.
History, Food, and Beauty of Europe:
Explore the dreamy Channel Islands of Great Britain, a group of remote islands that are closer to France than England. The trip, which though newly announced is already half full, has proven to be immensely popular and also includes a stop at Stonehenge at sunset, as well as the “Jurassic Coast,” a World Heritage Site for its fossil-rich cliffs. Hikers can traverse the countryside that inspired Thomas Hardy’s novels, as well as the South West Coast Path, one of the world’s most striking trails, while enjoying locally-sourced food and ales, as well as stays at a 13th-century inn and 16-century farmhouse.
"No one else offers anything like it,” says Banks. “The islands are a world apart: enchanting, quirky and filled with history -- and just a short ferry ride from France. Start your trip in London, end in Paris!"
Trip Dates: May 14-26, 2018
Starting Price: $6495 per person
For Avid Hikers:
In the tradition of Wilderness Travel’s great hikes, including England Coast to Coast; the Great Alpine Traverse, which takes hikers across five borders in the Alps; and The Pilgrim’s Way in Spain, comes yet another opportunity to see some of the most stunning landscapes in the world by foot. On the Te Araroa, a trail that spans the entire length of New Zealand and in its entirety would take five months to complete, Wilderness Travel takes hikers along the best portions of the route over 14 days in Part 1 of the trip covering the North Island. The hike passes through Cape Reinga where ancient peoples believed the spirits of their ancestors departed for the realm of the dead, along coastal cliffs and remote villages, past the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, experiencing local foods, wine and craft beers. Unique to Wilderness Travel, the trip is an opportunity to explore the highlights of New Zealand’s famous trail.
Trip Dates: November 2018 (exact dates to be determined)
Starting Price: Pricing is still being finalized
While many adventurers journey to the famous Everest Base Camp, this excursion takes guests to two additional legendary base camps of the Himalayas, including Makalu and Kanchenjunga. The trip uses a helicopter to venture to the camps each set among the world’s highest peaks. The complete itinerary for this trip is still being finalized.
Trip Dates: October 2018 (exact dates to be determined)
Starting Price: Pricing is still being finalized
Learn from some of the world’s most well-known conservationists and climbers at a one-time special event from Wilderness Travel that puts you in the heart of the conservation story in Patagonia, a beautiful but fragile region. Attendees include climbers Alex Honnold, who broke world records after his recent free solo climb of El Capitan in Yosemite, along with Conrad Anker, who discovered the frozen body of lost Everest hiker George Mallory in 1999 and who has summited Mt. Everest. Environmentalist Rick Ridgeway together with Kris Tompkins, widow of American conservationist Doug Tompkins, who passed away in late 2015 and preserved Parque Patagonia, the newest national park in Chile, will also join the symposium, which will be held in Los Glaciares National Park.
“This is an amazing opportunity to not just hang out with these extraordinary people in Patagonia, but to hike with them, hear presentations from them and overall be inspired by them,” says Banks. The event is a benefit for Tompkins Conservation, which is working to create national parks for Chile and Argentina to protect these important landscapes.
Dates: November 26-29, 2018
Pricing still being finalized; sign up online to be one of the first to be notified.
Journeys to the Top of the World:
Wilderness Travel continues to see huge interest in trips to countries in the Northern Realms, including Finland, Iceland, Greenland and Norway, and this new itinerary focuses on giving travelers the best opportunity to see the epic Northern Lights. With an itinerary designed around optimum viewing spots for the Northern Lights, the trip also includes Iceland-style adventure in the country’s long daylight hours between November and March from hiking to its famed waterfalls and trekking across glaciers to descending into a lava tube and soaking in its famous Blue Lagoon. “The aurora borealis is one of the great wonders of the world and we have scouted the best locations with the clearest skies that are away from city lights to view them. We even included a hotel that is minutes away from a ‘No Lights viewing station’,” says Banks.
Trip Dates: February 17-24, March 10-17, and November 10-17, 2018
Starting Price: $7895 per person, double occupancy