Where to go for a serious adventure: 10 of the world's wildest places

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 14.01.2019

In last week’s #RGchat, we asked our Twitter followers to tell us what ‘wild’ meant to them. We didn't expect to get such a beautiful response.

After much discussion on Twitter and Facebook, we've shortlisted ten destinations that offer a taste of true wilderness or, perhaps, just the chance to go wild yourself. Read on for the final list, and a few of your best definitions. For more inspiration about where to go for high-octane experiences, discover the world’s best adventure holidays for 2022.

10. Scotland

Scotland has some famously wild and remote places. After a recent trip to update the Rough Guide to Scotland, our author Greg Dickinson said: "the Scottish Highlands stir the imagination. From the snow-specked munros of Wester Ross, to the vast blanket bogs of the Flow Country (and not to forget the resident loch-dwelling dragons) this is Britain at its most fantastically wild."

9. Dubai

As @eatlivetraveldr tweeted: it doesn't have to be nature that makes a place wild. There might not be much wilderness visible on the surface of Dubai, but Friday brunch in the city is bound to get a little wild. Craving something different? The Arabian desert, a wilderness of enormous proportions, is right on the doorstep.

8. The Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

When you think wildlife, you probably think of Africa. Whether it's South Africa's Kruger or Kenya's Maasai Mara, there are a wealth of places to see hundreds of species living in their natural habitat. But there are few areas where the landscape teems with life like in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Lions, leopards, giraffes and rhinos living alongside one another makes this crater – the largest caldera in the world – one of the best places in the world to see the big five.

Africa, Tanzania, Crater Highlands, Ngorongoro Crater, zebras and wildbeest grazing together

7. Antarctica

After time spent photographing icebergs and penguins in Antarctica, photographer Nori Jemil described it as a "hostile and pristine wilderness." We've been sea kayaking and mountaineering in this harsh environment and can confirm: it's an adventure not to be missed.

6. The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia

One of the hottest places in the world, the Danakil is a curious land where little thrives, apart from the Afar people who live there. Described by Rough Guides author Anton Jackson as "one of the most desolate and inhospitable places on Earth," it's a striking wilderness that's difficult to reach but worth the effort.

5. The Sahara, Africa

If you needed convincing that the seemingly endless sands of the Sahara are worth exploring, look to Wilfred Thesiger, who in Arabian Sands, wrote: "No man can live this life and emerge unchanged".

"He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match."

Whether you're trekking into the desert on camels in Morocco, or exploring the sands from historic cities in Egypt, there's something special about this wilderness.

Morocco, Erg Chebbi dunes, shadows in the desert sand

© Suzanne Porter/Rough Guides

4. The Australian Outback

Swathes of barren, orange sand characterise this Australian landscape. The "Outback" doesn't actually refer to a specific place, but instead any area that is sparsely populated in Australia. There are few settlements in this wilderness and much of the land is occupied by a range of creepy crawlies, kangaroos and reptiles instead.

3. Las Vegas

As the tourist board brochures claim: Las Vegas is the place where even your wild side has a wild side. This is the kind of wild that comes from an unpredictable, 'anything can happen' attitude and one of America's most outrageous cities.

2. Mongolia

Isolated, empty; immeasurable: all words we associate with Mongolia's expansive Gobi desert. Here, intrepid explorers can get a taste of life in the wilderness during a homestay with a Mongolian family. Sleeping in traditional gers and eating local food is all part of this wild experience.

Amazon, Ecuador, Lumix, Oriente, Sunset River shots

1. The Amazon, South America

The Amazon is the epitome of wild. Thick forest, vast tracts of unexplored land, indigenous tribes who have had little or no contact with the modern world – it's an enormous and exciting environment. Whether you're trekking through the jungle or taking a cruise down the river, a trip in the Amazon rainforest is the ultimate wilderness adventure.

Compare flights, find tours, book hostels and hotels for your trip, and don’t forget to buy travel insurance before you go. Featured image Pixabay / CC0.

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 14.01.2019

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