Inspired by Simon Reeve’s Wilderness

Indonesia Raja Ampat

If, like me, you’ve been enjoying Simon Reeve’s new Wilderness series, you may be feeling inspired to visit some of the more remote parts of our planet. I’m not suggesting for a moment that we trek  for hours through insect infested swamps, or spend an evening eating bull testicles.  But visiting some of these areas is easier than you may think. 

In a recent interview with Wanderlust Magazine (IMHO the best travel magazine around), Simon made the point that these places need “wealthy western travellers turning up and putting money into the local economy.”  Providing other sources of income through responsible tourism can help local communities to preserve their wild environments. The important thing is to travel responsibly and to do so in a way that supports local communities.   As the wise Native American Chief Seattle once said, “Take only memories, leave only footprints”.  

So I have put together a trip which mirrors, in a less rugged fashion (I mean, who wants to be host to a flea laying their eggs or have insects crawling up inside their clothing while on holiday!) the four wonderful episodes of Simon Reeve’s Wilderness.  Each trip is with a reputable UK based tour operator who will have representatives on the ground to support you throughout your trip and help with any difficulties.  The trips aren’t cheap, but in travelling to these areas you will support local communities and wildlife whilst having the trip of a lifetime.  

Please get in touch if you are interested in any of these trips or would like me to help you put together any other form of adventure or holiday.  


Primate Viewing in the Congo

Head to the Congo to visit one of our planet’s greatest rainforest areas. We can’t promise you the elusive Bonobo Reeve encountered. But this area is home to the western lowland gorilla, the most plentiful of the remaining species and subspecies of these magnificent great apes.

No leaf covered mud huts involved.  You can spend a week in and around Odzala and stay at three different lodges, each built from locally-sourced materials and designed to blend with the surroundings. There are three habituated groups of Western lowland gorilla in In the rainforests of Odzala-Kokua National Park and searching for these great apes during a rainforest hike is one of many highlights of any Republic of Congo holidays. The park also has other primates, forest elephants and buffalo and a variety of beautiful birds.  10 nights including international flights, internal flights and transfers, accommodation (often full board), expert guides and gorilla permits (2 per person) will cost from £13,595 per person.  Expensive but definitely a trip of a lifetime.  

Trekking amongst glaciers in Patagonia

In episode 2 of Wilderness, Simon Reeve trekked across the Southern Patagonia Icefield.  This is a seriously technical trek for very experienced trekkers only.  However it is possible to experience this great glacial wilderness on a number of day treks from El Chalten or even better, multi day treks into the Los Glaciares National Park.  A Shearwater Travel Bulletin last year looked in detail at all this area has to offer.  You can visit the area in a number of ways from treks staying in tents or remote basic lodges to incredible luxury lodges in private reserves of the park.  Trekking in Patagonia also combines well with the rest of Argentina where you can spend a couple of days visiting the magnificent Iguaçu Falls, drive around the cactus country of the north west, visit wine country and search for wildlife in the Iberian Wetlands.  In Wilderness, Reeve stayed with gauchos in Patagonia in incredibly remote huts. We can organise for you to spend time in an authentic estancia, riding horses and experiencing gaucho lifestyle.  

Argentina - Glaciare piedras blancas
indonesia raja ampat

Cruising around the Raja Ampat Archipelago

I was totally mesmerised by the marine wildlife on Simon’s visit to the Raja Ampat archipelago.  With over 1,500 islands still unnamed, the Raja Ampat region is remote, undisturbed and relatively undiscovered. Fantastic diving, pristine beaches, remote islands and stunning landscapes abound. They are best visited on a small boat cruise (typically 12 cabins) where you can visit many different areas of the archipelago including the Misool Archipelago and Waygag lagoon with its spectacular rocky outcrop islands.  Whilst on the boat you will have opportunities to hike on some of the islands, sea kayak and of course snorkel some of the most beautiful reefs in the area, possibly in the world.  You will also have opportunities for cultural visits to the islands to learn about local culture.  With a few days in Bali at the end of your trip you can expect to pay from £10,620 per person for a fifteen day trip including international and domestic flights, accommodation onboard the ship and all excursions. 

Wildlife viewing in the Okovanga Delta and Kalahari Desert

Simon stayed in little one person tents for his journey through the the Kalahari and Okovango Delta.  How about a genuine mobile safari instead – for those looking for a more adventurous safari experience in Botswana where you will gain an insight into areas and wildlife not necessarily available on a typical fly-in safari. You will spend a few days in the  Xakanaxa region of the Moremi game reserve, one of the best for viewing the endangered African wild dog and home to a resident herd of several hundred buffalo whose range covers the territories of at least 4 prides of lion.  Next a few nights in The Khwai region which boasts excellent populations of both bull elephant as well as breeding herds. Lion, leopard, serval and African wildcat are common predators of the region with wild dog and cheetah also in the region. Finally the Savuti area where large outcrops of volcanic rock reach up out of the Kalahari sands, towering over the endless savannah. The Savuti Marsh has been the stage for many of the most dramatic wildlife documentaries in Africa with particularly strong prides of lion and hyaena clans which make for excellent viewing opportunities. Expect to pay from £5,920 pp for this ten day trip.  

Okovanga Kalahari
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