Great Green Travel Experiences
Being asked to pick the greatest green travel experiences ever is like being asked to pick your favourite child – it’s impossible. There are too many places to see, too many wonderful experiences to be had, and too little time to be able to explore them all. However, there are a few things I’ve done or have always wanted to do that spring to mind, which will hopefully inspire a little green-tinged wanderlust in your life.
Trek Mountain Gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
Young gorilla in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Photo courtesy of Benjoss via Wiki Commons
Renowned presenter David Attenborough has said, of all his experiences in the natural world over the many years in broadcasting, seeing the mountain gorillas and sitting with them trumps everything. These majestic primates need tourism as it ensures their survival and keeps the poachers at bay – mostly. Found in the equatorial mountains of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, strictly limited groups are allowed to trek to catch a glimpse of these beautiful endangered animals.
Stay With an Aboriginal Community
There is no better way to get to know about Australian Aboriginal culture than to stay in an Aboriginal community. In Western Australia and the Northern Territory, it’s possible to book a few nights’ stay or more at some of the communities. Many require a permit (normally free) to enter their lands, which helps protect their privacy, preserve culture and the environment.
Learn how to do traditional dot paintings, explore ancient rock art and listen to stories of The Dreamtime – Aboriginal’s take on creation and laws for living, which have been passed down from generation to generation through storytelling, song, dance and art.
See Lemurs in Madagascar
Brown Lemurs, Mantadia, Madagascar. Photo courtesy of Frank Vassen via Wiki Commons
Located around 400kms off the coast of Africa, Madagascar is home to the largest variety of animals on the planet, with 90 percent of all species in the country found nowhere else on Earth. This is as a result of the island’s long isolation from its neighbouring countries. It is the only place in the world where you can see lemurs in the wild. In Ranomafana National Park, there are around 13 species of lemurs, but their numbers have been dwindling in recent years. See them in their natural habitat before it’s too late.
Cycle the Central Otago Rail Trail
Running for 150kms between Clyde and Dunedin on the South Island of New Zealand, the Central Otago Rail Trail is one of the best ways to see the country’s spectacular scenery, much of which is hidden from the highways. Suitable for all ages and level of abilities, the rail trail is classed as a public reserve so no motorised vehicles are allowed, making it very safe for cyclists and walkers. Pass through quaint towns and villages, where you’ll find a good choice of accommodations, from budget to luxury.
Hike the Silk Road in Kyrgyzstan
Osh Bazaar, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Photo courtesy of neiljs via Wiki Commons
Community-Based Tourism (CBT) was introduced in Kyrgyzstan following the fall of the Soviet empire to help bolster the failing economy, and it has turned out to be a great little earner for the Kyrgyz people. It works by linking travellers to a network of local homestay owners, horse owners, herders and drivers, who all work together to make your stay in their country pretty amazing. Explore the nomad trails, trek along alpine flatlands, through fir tree forests and the bustling trading town of Osh, retracing the step of thousands who have travelled this route for more than 2,000 years.