Last Updated on March 3, 2022 by Nellie Huang
The true adventurer never stops looking for new and exciting ways to discover a country; even on a second or third visit it’s possible to take part in an activity not previously experienced.
And while it takes a lot to beat a canoe safari in Botswana, white water rafting in Iceland or shark cage diving in South Africa, there are plenty of other ways to experience a country. Here are my 10 top tips of the more unusual adventure activities you can take part in around the globe.
Table of Contents
1. Explore Saigon by Vespa
For those with a need for speed, exploring Saigon in the evening on the back of a Vespa is a must! You’ll be driven around by a local guide who knows the city like the back of his hand, stopping at a seafood restaurant and pancake shop to satisfy rumbling tums before heading to a local music venue for an injection of local culture. This is a really fun way of getting to know one of Vietnam’s most exhilarating cities and with your guide on hand to lead the way, it’s a really authentic experience.
2. Swim in Antarctic waters
As crazy as it sounds, this is possible! Deception Island, just off the Antarctic Peninsula, is home to thermal waters thanks to the fact it is a caldera, and while the waters aren’t exactly warm enough to be compared to say, a tepid bath, they are warm enough to take a dip – and who else can say they have swam in the Antarctic?! (Read about my polar plunge in Antarctica)
3. Take a biplane safari
Step back in time and observe safari wildlife from the air in a traditional biplane. There is only one place you can do this in East Africa – the Lewa Wilderness Conservancy in Kenya, so it’s a really unique experience and one that you are unlikely to forget in a while! The pilot, Will Craig, has over 5000 hours flying experience and takes great delight in pointing out the area’s local landmarks amidst the dramatic and beautiful landscape.
4. Canoeing and camping on the Zambezi
An adventurer’s dream, you spend three days canoeing down the Zambezi, setting up camp each night on one of the islands in the river. There is literally no way of getting any closer to the wildlife in the area as you share the river with hippos, crocodiles and elephants, who all make regular appearances. Although the pace isn’t too strenuous, you undertake approximately 4 to 6 hours paddling daily, stopping once in the morning and once in the afternoon for a break.
5. Combine adventure and wine in Argentina
What a wonderful combination! If you consider yourself a foodie and an adventurer you’ll love this activity, which begins at Brazo Tristeza in the Argentine Lake District, where you can admire the stunning panorama before descending on a rope followed by a 40m rappel to the base. At the base adults enjoy wine tasting and a light lunch before an afternoon of water-based activities – don’t forget your swimwear!
Flickr image by Gollmar
6. Swim with whale sharks
If you’re in Western Australia between March and early July, don’t miss the opportunity to swim with whale sharks in the Ningaloo Reef where these magnificent creatures congregate, timing their annual visits with the coral spawning. At an average of 32ft long, this is the largest species of fish in the world and jumping into the water with them may seem a little loopy, but really they are gentle giants and a wonder to behold.
New Zealand is king when it comes to adventure activities, so it seems natural only that this is one of the places you can take part in heli-biking. As the name probably suggests, heli-biking is where participants are flown by helicopter to the beginning of scenic but remote bike trails before hopping onto a mountain bike and making their way to the end. This activity is normally guided and one of the best places to do it is in the Kaimanawa Ranges in the North Island. If you are interested in heli-biking, consider getting 4 bike hitch racks to go biking with friends and family easily.
Flickr image by vertphoto
8. Climb Sugar Loaf Mountain
Without a doubt, Sugar Loaf Mountain is one of Rio de Janeiro’s most famous landmarks, so any chance to experience it whilst avoiding the crowds is a welcome opportunity. Instead of taking the cable car, stroll along a beautiful shoreline path before heading onto a trail which includes some sections of scrambling. This is followed by a challenging, 25m rock climb to reach the top, after which you will be rewarded with stunning views that Sugar Loaf Mountain is so famous for.
9. Go in search of dinosaurs
Canada’s very own “Wild West”, the Canadian Badlands is an area rich in fossils, including dinosaur bones, so grab your fedora and your walking boots and embark on your own Jurassic adventure. There are a number of tours that you can join in the area, including the Dinosaur Badlands Tour, which takes around two hours to complete. Stop at the Royal Tyrrell Museum which houses one of the world’s largest dinosaur collections before exploring Horsethief Canyon and Hoodoo geological formations. The tour also includes crossing Red Deer River and the historical Rosedale Suspension Bridge, originally opened for the nearby coal mining community.
10. Dog sledding
Ever sped on the icy snow right behind the heels of cute energetic dogs who love to race? Dog sledding in Lapland is a fun and awesome way to explore and see the landscapes of this northern European region. It isn’t harmful to the dogs, in fact it helps them exercise and do what they love most: run!