Ultratravel - The Big Five
Spring 2011

Extreme adventure trips worldwide to get the adrenalin pumping.

Trekking The Great Himalaya Trail
The Nepal section of this route takes more than 150 days, beginning in the Kanchenjunga region, home to the world's third-highest peak, and traversing the country towards the high Tibetan plateau. The 1,056-mile trail can be broken down into shorter sections, which range from gentle hikes to extreme trekking and light mountaineering. The shortest section is the 18-day Langtang via Tilman Pass trek.


Day trip To Antarctica
For the time-poor, White Desert operates day trips to Antarctica, only a five-hour flight from Cape Town. For those who want a fuller experience, it offers a 10-day Antarctic safari, based at a solar-powered camp perched on the edge of a 200ft ice cliff. Activities include abseiling into crevasses, ice climbing, and picnics atop Mount Schirmacher – but the highlight is a visit to an Emperor penguin colony of 6,000 breeding pairs, a two-hour flight from camp.


Cruising The Congo
Beginning in the commercial hub of Kisangani, passengers board a traditional river cruiser and travel along two-thirds of the largest navigable portion of the Congo to Kinshasa. The journey passes through dense forest, with stops at remote villages and a chance to meet some of the last surviving bands of pygmies. For the 20 nights on the river – first charted in 1874 by British explorer Henry Stanley, who described his journey as leading into "the heart of an immense darkness" – passengers camp on the Congo's banks.


Camping In the Arctic
After a helicopter ride from Luleå, northern Sweden, to a remote base camp, guests learn how to hunt, fish and ski Nordic-style, as well as to manage a team of dogs. The trip includes a snowmobile safari across frozen lakes, with a chance to spot giant moose, reindeer and wolves. Nights are spent in Arctic huts, camping in Sami tepees or sleeping on reindeer skins in ice caves with views of the Northern Lights.


Sailing The Southern Oceans
From April 2011, a replica of Captain James Cook's vessel HMB Endeavour will begin a year-long journey around the coast of Australia, tracing the route of Cook's 1770 voyage, when he became the first explorer ever to map the country's east coast. Crew on this year's trip will learn authentic 18th-century techniques, from navigating to climbing the mast. The toughest sailing conditions may be met on the Albany to Port Lincoln leg across the Great Australian Bight.