Specialist tour operator, Explore has launched a new range of one-off tours with an emphasis on exploring little-visited destinations, undiscovered festivals and special events in especially small groups.
Labelled ‘Limited Collection’, three trips have been put on sale to launch the new sub-brand, with further trips being released every three months.
These first tours offer an opportunity to discover extraordinary and rarely visited parts of the world.
The Congo and CAR: A Pioneering Expedition 16-day trip travels into one of the last remaining wildernesses on the planet. Departing on 23rd January 2013 with a maximum group size of just eight people, the trip travels from Brazzaville, through the Congo basin to Bangui in the Central Africa Republic.
Much of this trip’s appeal is the journey itself, as it makes its way by road, dugout canoe and on foot through the world’s second largest rainforest, to an area little visited by anyone except scientists.
In search of the endangered lowland gorilla, three gorilla treks are included in this adventurous trip. With a likelihood of seeing herds of forest elephants, antelopes, leopards, parrots and various species of primates, there is also the rare opportunity to meet indigenous Pygmy communities, who live in harmony with the forest.
These extraordinary people are key to the conservation of the endemic species that populate the forest and are some of the last people left on the planet who still live by hunting and gathering.
This one-off wilderness expedition for the intrepid traveller costs from £8,375 per person and includes international flights from Heathrow, all accommodation (five nights’ forest camps, six nights’ lodges, two nights’ hotels), all meals, tour leader, local and forest guides and all transport (4WD, motorised canoe, traditional wooden canoe).
For those who think that sounds a little too pioneering, Explore’s A’ Welcome trip might prove more appealing. With a maximum group size of eight, the timing of this trip has been arranged to correspond with the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War.
The tour is hosted by the islanders themselves and provides a fascinating insight into the lives of a community whose very isolation and proud heritage makes the 30th anniversary landmark all the more poignant.
Accompanied by these hosts, the group will explore the rugged landscapes, extraordinary wildlife and intriguing history of the Falklands. Travelling between islands, they will visit the important sites associated with the 1982 conflict, as well as the key wildlife sites.
Departing on 25th October this year, and also including some time to explore Santiago de Chile, this 12-day trip costs £4,591 and includes international flights from Heathrow; all accommodation (five nights’ guesthouses, four nights’ hotels); most meals; the services of local hosts and all transport (4WD, small planes and boats).
The third trip, labelled Tribes and Festivals of Southern China with Richard Beal, ventures into the mountains of southern China over 14 days, leaving the well-trodden tourist trail far behind.
Witnessing the traditional lives and centuries-old festivals of the ‘minority’ tribes of the Guizhou region, this visit has been timed to coincide with four exciting festivals.
As examples, during the courtship festival of Lusheng, young men and women look for marriage partners whilst, as part of the Leishan festival, firework-laden dragons dance through the streets, passing blessings to each household. These colourful and photogenic celebrations bring everyone out in their most spectacular traditional costume to enjoy singing, dancing and traditional sports.
For a rare insight into the lives of a traditional Miao family, two nights are spent staying with them and learning about their customs and traditions. The icing on the cake is that this tour will be led by China aficionado and Explore tour leader of the year 2010, Richard Beal.
With a departure on 16th February 2013, the price from £2,096 per person includes international flights from Heathrow, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis (10 nights’’ hotel, two nights’ homestay); two dinners, private transport and the services of tour leader, Richard Beal.