Ultimate Travel Destinations

Sossusvlei NamibiaThe World’s 5 Best Outdoor Adventures

#1 Namibia

The combination of exotic landscapes, wildlife and culture combine to make Namibia the best adventure outdoors destination in the world. Millions of years ago the landscape took shape and has been preserved in prehistoric form for the world to see. As a result, in Namib Naukluft National Park the Sossusvlei lies on top of the 20 million year old Tsondab Sandstone. This sandstone formation is the fossilized remains of a 20 million year old desert that existed there.

However, this African country has much more to offer besides the splendors of its desert landscape. Additionally, elephants and lions still inhabit the natural environment in Namibia. Plus, the coastline is the location of the largest population of cape fur seals in the world. At Cape Cross Seal Reserve over 200,000 cape fur seals thrive in the harshest coastal desert environment in the world.

Cape Cross Seal ReserveCape Fur Seal Photo

#2 Mekong River – Khone Phapheng Falls

The Mekong river is one of the largest river systems in the world and it also has the 3rd largest waterfall by volume. Located in Southern Laos, the Khone Phapheng Falls have a mean annual flow rate of 11,610 cubic meters per second. That flow rate is over 5 times the rate of Niagara Falls! Furthermore, the Mekong River expands and contracts greatly throughout the year. In flood season, the flow rate is much larger. I was able to visit the waterfall during peak flood and that makes it the world’s #2 most amazing adventure outdoors.

The extremity of the Khone Phapheng Falls is combined with the placidity of the river to create huge disparities. Therefore, the mighty Mekong has always been a formidable obstacle for global travel. To this day it is not possible to navigate the river to reach the ocean due to these waterfalls and other obstacles. This has confounded explorers in the region for millennia!

Mekong RiverMekong River Laos

#3 Altyn Emel National Park Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan is a the largest country in Central Asia and Altyn Emel is the world’s #3 adventure outdoors destination. Altyn Emel National park is located in the SE corner of Kazakhstan and it is the home of the singing sand dunes. These stationary sand dunes are 4 kilometers long and have remained stationary for millennia. Due to natural obstacles that channel the wind, it creates an anomaly in which the wind only blows in 2 directions which are opposite each other. Additionally, these sand dunes actually sing when properly encouraged. See the HD video below for a demonstration.

That is some pretty good singing in my opinion! Altyn Emel and the singing dunes are also situated in one of the most scenic landscapes in the world. Important features of the landscape include the natural sandstone windshields that allow the dunes to remain stationary.  These sandstone features are called the Big and Little Kalkans.

Adventure outdoors Altyn Emel Kazakhstan

#4 Table Mountain South Africa

Table Mountain is the most prominent feature of the City of Cape Town South Africa. The coastline of the Western Cape is defined by craggy mountains. However, Table Mountain is an exception because it has a flat top. This is ideal for hikers because after the grueling hike to the top, you can stroll around and enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town and the surrounding area for as far as the eye can see. 

The challenging hike to the top and the fantastic world class view of the city make Table Mountain South Africa the #4 best adventure outdoors location in the world! There is a tram available for the faint of heart however, you only love once so please do the hike!

climbing table mountain cape town
#5 Fish River Canyon, Namibia

The Fish River Canyon is a geological phenomenon that exists in Southern Namibia. Over 650 million years of tectonics, glaciation and erosion have created the biggest canyon in Africa. This adventure outdoors phenomenon is 160 kilometers long, 27 kilometers wide and 550 meters deep. At the base of the canyon is a hot spring known as Ai-Ais which means “burning water” in the Nama dialect. There is also an 88 kilometer hiking trail that runs through the base of the canyon. Additionally, there is even an “ultra” marathon race run there.  The canyon is one of the most amazing global travel destinations. Here is some HD video footage taken from the western rim. 

The canyon also features some nice hiking trails along the remote western rim. Therefore, from the rim it is easy to observe the canyon layers and the much wider upper level. This is due to a layer of gneiss that encouraged lateral erosion in the upper canyon levels because of its more impermeable nature. Additionally, there are quiver trees which can be viewed from the canyon rim.

Quiver tree on the rim of the Fish River Canyon

 

Additional resources:

***Altyn Emel Photo credit for My Awesome Russian Guide in Kazakhstan
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_waterfalls_by_flow_rate