How to take the scenic route
In a world where time is the ultimate luxury, sometimes taking the other oath pays off – here are 11 extraordinary scenic-route experiences.
In a world where time is the ultimate luxury, sometimes taking the slower route pays off. And no, it doesn’t mean a long car journey. It means meeting indigenous communities you would never usually encounter and soaking up the scenery in dream-like languor. Whether you follow Tanzania’s great wildebeest migration from an exclusive tented camp or experience the epitome of luxury in the Italian Dolomites on the world-famous Orient Express, take in the world’s most scenic stretches in ultimate style. Here are 11 extraordinary scenic-route experiences:
ZAMBEZI’S FLIGHT OF ANGELS
When David Livingstone first discovered Victoria Falls, he proclaimed the scenes “so lovely [they] must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. Take in those same awe-inspiring views on a 15-minute helicopter flight over the falls. You’ll grasp the full scale of this natural wonder soaring over the thundering Devil’s Cataract and zigzagging picturesque gorges.
PLANE RIDE OUT OF AFRICA-STYLE
Revel in an Out of Africa moment with a private flight over the wild Kenya escarpment. Take to the skies in a vintage yellow biplane where, from its open cockpit, you will be treated to unparalleled pilot’s views of snow-capped Mount Kenya and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, home to the Big Five.
HELI-SELFIE OVER RIO
Is this possibly the best view in the world? Take the ultimate shoe selfie with Brazil’s iconic Christ the Redeemer from the heights of a helicopter ride. While most tourists take pictures from the foot of this 30-metre statue, you could get close to its Art Deco structure like never before. We’ll remove the helicopter doors so you can drink in 360-degree views of Rio from an exclusive angle.
MAGIC ON THE VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS
One of the most glamorous train journeys on earth. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express has forever epitomised unwavering luxury with Pullman carriages boasting mahogany corridors, Venetian lamps, crystal glassware and silver. Experience world-class service to match as you take in Venice, the Italian Dolomites and the Swiss Alps. You don’t even need to leave the champagne bar.
There’s no better place to see polar bear than in the town of Churchill. Known as the ‘Polar Bear Capital of the World,’ this pinprick location, on the edge of Hudson Bay, offers unrivalled viewing opportunities of these Arctic creatures roaming wild. Led by an expert guide, you’ll trek across the remote wintry tundra scouring for bears pacing the ice. Then hop on a specialist buggy to get even closer.
THE ICONIC INCA TRAIL
Hike Peru’s iconic Inca Trail, a five-day trek covering 45 kilometres where you spend nights under canvas and beneath the stars. Climb the undulating track once frequented by Incas, to Machu Picchu while uncovering glorious Andean scenery. Your history-specialist guide can breathe life into crumbling ruins and ancient stone steps. Arriving at Machu Picchu’s famed Sun Gate feels all the more rewarding.
FLY CAMPING IN TANZANIA
Get close to the African bush on a fly-camping adventure. When the evening sets in, steal away with a naturalist guide, who’ll help you discover Tanzanian nocturnal mammals. You’ll soon come across your camp on a sandy riverbank. End the day around a crackling fire and bunk down under the glittering stars as you’re lulled to sleep by the night calls of the wild.
BELMOND ANDEAN EXPLORER
Andean style, world-class dining and thoughtful excursions, Belmond Andean Explorer, the luxury sleeper train, knows what it’s doing. The first of its kind in South America, its carriages connect Cuzco to the white city of Arequipa with pit stops to local villages, Lake Titicaca and the Colca Canyon. Soak up rolling Andean scenery from the observatory car with staff at the ready to whip up pisco sours.
BIKE SOUTH AUSTRALIA’S BAROSSA VALLEY
Take a private cycling tour of the heavenly Barossa Valley. With a specialist guide by your side, you’ll breeze through the most celebrated red-producing wine region and some gorgeous countryside scenery. Hop off to sip on the finest Barossa shiraz, the result of year-round sun and red-clay soil. Accompany with locally made cheese as you soak up the endless rows of vines.
SKIPPER AN AMERICA’S CUP YACHT
Ever wondered what it’s like to raise a 200-metre-squared mainsail of an international racing yacht? Now’s your chance. Rather than watch from afar, you can get in on the action itself, skippering your own America’s Cup yacht around San Francisco bay. Enjoy the thrill of the ride and the salty sea breeze as you take in monuments such as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.
CRUISE DOWN THE NILE
Cruise down the mighty Nile in unparalleled luxury aboard the Sanctuary Zein Nile Chateau or the Sanctuary Sun Boat III. During the day, you can visit looming temples of formidable pharaohs and explore exquisite hieroglyphic carvings with an Egyptologist. Return to your vessel, the smartest on the Nile and cool off in the pool, the perfect place to unwind. Sip on a martini on the sun-drenched deck and enjoy award-winning cuisine from dusk until dawn.
Described by David Livingstone as ‘a sight so wonderful that Angels must have gazed down on it in flight', this perspective of the falls guarantees to leave you thunder struck
Experience a thrilling “Out of Africa” moment with a private flight over the beautiful escarpment around Mount Kenya in the open cockpit of a vintage yellow biplane
Take the ultimate shoe selfie as you hover in a helicopter above Rio de Janeiro. Wear your signature sandals ready for your daring snapshot over Christ the Redeemer