As much as we love the the underwater havens rich in coral and marine life, or the high mountain passes that test the human spirit, it was our hikes through forests that first sparked our fascination with adventure travel. Here are a few of the amazing forests and surreal landscapes we have had the honor to explore with our adventurers.
Trees of Angkor, Cambodia
When you imagine the World Heritage Site of Angkor in Cambodia, the gnarled banyan and kapoks growing in and around the intricate bas relief details probably come to mind. At the Ta Prohm ruins, you can tour this spectacular site, with ancient trees towering over the temple from the bygone Khmer Empire. On our Indochine cultural journey, we spend several days exploring here.
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These mighty and majestic baobab trees, endemic to Madagascar, are thought to be 800 years old. “The Avenue of the Baobabs” is one of the most iconic spots in the region, and on our journeys, we experience it at dusk with relatively few visitors around. Beyond its astonishing array of flora, Madagascar is also home to rare and endemic chameleons, lemurs, and unique birds, making it one of the world’s finest destinations for wildlife viewing. On our trips, we’ll explore the country’s national parks and enjoy sundowner cocktails at the Avenue.
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Giant Ferns, Tasmania
At up to 50 feet high, the giant tree ferns of Tasmania evoke an alien planet. During our Wild Tasmania adventure, we’ll hike beneath these towering plants in Mt. Field National Park, where we’ll have fantastic photo ops of tumbling waterfalls and colorful birdlife.
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Trees of Deadvlei, Namibia
Cradled between Namibia’s mighty Sossuslvei dunes is the surreal scene of Deadvlei. Here, barren camelthorn trees have long since shed their last leaves and only their trunks remain. Because of the dry climate, these trees will never decompose and it may take a several thousand years for them to petrify. We visit this austere site on our Namibia Expedition.
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Yew Tree, United Kingdom
Of all the enchanting trees that dot the United Kingdom, none is more beloved than the ancient yew. Their twisted trunks have been immortalized in literary works for centuries—William Wordsworth once penned a poem called The Yew-Tree about a specific tree in the English village of Lorton. Some estimate these trees are more than a thousand years old, and many countryside villages have their own designated yew. Our hiking journeys in England, Wales, Cornwall and Scotland follow forested paths that pass a yew or two, and you’ll occasionally see trees like this one with small Tolkeinesque details built right into the trunk!
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The Amazon Rainforest
Known as “the lungs of the Earth”, the Amazon is home to millions of different flora and fauna species. The trees in this region are spectacular–Kapoks, for instance, grow nearly 13 feet per year and can reach heights of 200 feet! They provide dense cover for plants and animals, and a dramatic backdrop for our adventure, Amazon Rainforest Extension: Reserva Amazonica.
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Tongass National Forest, Alaska
Covering an expanse of 17 million acres, Tongass National Forest is the largest national forest in the US and shelters nearly five million acres of old growth forest. Within this wild terrain, you can expect to spot anything from brown bears cruising along the water’s edge to bald eagles soaring overhead—not to mention fantastic glaciers that flow right out of the woods. We explore this enchanting realm by boat on our Alaska journeys, venturing through the storied Inside Passage and beyond to the former Russian outpost of Sitka, making our way into inlets by sea kayak and skiff, and following wooded trails with a naturalist guide.