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Trails of the Unexpected

Added 09 Jan 2014
Trails of the Unexpected

If you’ve already ‘done’ Kili, conquered the Alps, completed the Inca Trail and trekked to Everest Base Camp or are simply looking for a trekking experience well away from well-trodden paths, we have some fantastic walking and trekking options which you might like to consider. Some destinations which are not immediately top of mind for trekkers are perfect for those wishing to get off the beaten track and discover some wild and wonderful parts of the world. These treks are not just about reaching a summit or completing a famous trekking route; they have special cultural or wildlife highlights for you to enjoy alongside the physical effort. Here we showcase some of our more unusual walking tours; make this the year you  go trekking somewhere really different.


Turkey - Hidden Trails of Cappadocia (GV)

Perhaps best-known for its beaches, historical attractions and culture, Turkey also offers a unique experience for trekkers. With an other-worldly landscape of fairy chimneys and rock-cut churches, its Cappadocia region has a landscape found no-where else on the planet. A series of six 3-6 hour day walks on little-known trails allow you to truly appreciate the weird and wonderful rock formations. You’ll also visit the spectacular underground city of Kaymakli and the Byzantine Uchisar Castle whose rooms were hewn out of rock at the highest point in Cappadocia. If you prefer to stay in higher grade hotels, see our Cappadocia Trails and Highlights (DGV) tour which operates on the same itinerary.



Georgia - On foot in the Caucasus (TGG)

Sitting on the crossroads between Asia and Europe, with a northern border with Russia demarcated by the Caucasus Mountains, Georgia has a treasure-trove of remote trekking options. On this tour we focus on two regions – Svaneti and Kazbegi. With around 5 or 6 hours trekking each day, you’ll trek through deep valleys, small villages and along mountain trails. The landscape is lush and green with gushing waterfalls, melt-water rivers and rubble-strewn glaciers adding to the constant natural beauty. Highlights include the Truso Gorge, Mestia Valley, Gveleti Waterfalls and views of the 5068m tall Mount Shkhara. Cultural interest is provided by visits to Trinity Church and the magnificent monastery complex at Gelati.



Ghana and Togo – Ghana and Togo on Foot (TWA)

Discover the lush rainforest and wildlife of Ghana and the drier and rockier landscapes of Togo by exploring on foot. The literal high of the trip is a walk along the longest and highest rainforest canopy walkway in the world; an exhilarating way to view some of the forest’s colourful birds and butterflies. You’ll visit local markets and meet some of the farmers who till the land. You can climb Mount Kabye (810m) for views across the baobab-studded landscape and walk from village to village in the Atakora Mountains to discover the UNESCO listed fortified mud dwellings of the Tamberma people. The tour offers a great insight into local life and includes the chance to witness an impressive traditional voodoo fire dance where dancers rub themselves with burning wood without getting burnt.


China – Yunnan’s Tribal Trails (YUT)

Enjoy a great mixture of challenging trekking and cultural discovery in some of China’s most remote regions in the southwest. Seven days of this 16-day tour are trekking days with 6-10 hours of trekking (including rests) each day. The first section of trekking takes you along the dramatic Tiger Leaping Gorge. The steeply plunging sides hold the churning waters of the Yangste River as they make their way to the East China Sea. The second section of trekking takes you through the lands of some of China’s minority people. Staying in their small villages along the way, you’ll spend time amongst the Yi, Naxi, Pumi and Mosuo; each tribe has their own distinct culture and style of dress. The trek itself is quite demanding and passes through mountainous terrain complete with two tunnels blasted through the rock. At the end of the trek lies Lijiang, one of the last remaining ancient towns in China and designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Colombia – Trek to the Lost City (WCO)

Embark on a real adventure trekking along remote, mountainous jungle paths to reach Ciudad Perdida – the ‘lost’ city of the Tayrona people. The route involves wading through rivers, wobbling your way across suspended rope bridges and spending a few nights in basic shelters in the jungle with a hammock or bunk bed to sleep in. Often compared to Peru’s Machu Picchu, Ciuadad Perdida was abandoned when Spanish treasure hunters brought diseases with them to which the Tayrona had no cure or immunity. The city lay hidden by the jungle until it was re-discovered in 1975. The only way to reach the site is on foot; intrepid trekkers are rewarded with sightings of jungle wildlife and the reward of reaching an historic site reached by only a handful of people each year.


Venezuela – The Lost World (VZ)

Travelling deep into areas virtually unknown to the outside world, this 15-day tour includes an exciting six-day hike to Mount Roraima – one of the oldest geological structures on Earth. Sitting amongst an area of tropical forest and lush grassland, this flat table-top mountain forms a natural border between Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana. The views from the top are simply awe-inspiring. Following the trek, there is an adventurous river journey through rapids and past whirlpools by motorised canoe. If water levels allow, the boat takes you to a point where it is possible to trek to the base of Angel Falls – a tumbling spectacle of water plummeting some 975m down a sheer cliff.


By Louisa Richardson