So you’ve been everywhere – travelled through the highlands of Papua New Guinea, explored the lowlands of Siberia, trekked off the beaten path in the Caucasus and slept under the stars in the Moroccan desert. We often meet travellers that are looking for inspiration to explore a destination that is new and experiences that are offbeat. We are challenging curious and sophisticated travellers to think differently about four destinations not commonly found on bucket-lists: Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Chechnya and Palestine.
One of the world last true frontiers – tick! Misunderstood nation – tick! Only recently opened the tours to tourism – tick! An ancient kingdom loaded with intriguing history – tick! Well if all that is not enough for you to add Saudi Arabia to your bucket list then nothing is. A country rich in symbolism and pre-Islamic treasures, Saudi Arabia also delivers on out of this world landscapes and an impressive capital city, Riyadh, full of modern architectural marvels.
Saudi Arabia is home to a diminishing tribe – the colourful Flower Men of Tihama. This unique tribe ignore the modern ways of life and prefer to follow their own traditional practices. On Day 6 of our small group tour, spend time with this tribe. Learn about how they dress, how they live and also how they celebrate special occasions. Without a doubt, Saudi Arabia is the “what’s next” destination for the curious-minded voyager.
**Our 12 day Forbidden Kingdom – Saudi Arabia small group tour departing 9 Nov, 2021 will be escorted by Crooked Compass Founder, Lisa Pagotto.
Think Egypt has the most ancient pyramids in the world? Think again. Its southern neighbour Sudan, which also stands on the banks of the Nile, is untouched by mass tourism and brimming with history. Home to some of the some of the most romantic archaeological sites in the world, among them several whole fields of pyramids. Commonly perceived as dangerous, Sudan is currently transitioning to a civilian led country, meaning new opportunities and freedom for its people making it the most exciting time to visit!
For the few travellers who venture here, Sudan comes as a fantastic surprise. Rugged terrain, golden pyramids of godlike kings, sweeping hills of sand, welcoming locals, majestic sunrises and dramatic sunsets. There is no doubt that 2020-21 is an exciting time to visit one of the world’s oldest civilisations – is Ancient Nubia on your bucket list?
**Our 12 day Ancient Nubia – Sudan small group tour departing 23 Nov, 2021 will be escorted by Crooked Compass Founder, Lisa Pagotto.
Would you travel to Chechnya? Most travellers think of this region in Russia’s south as a perilous war zone. But times have changed and autonomous region has progressed. A war zone only a decade ago, it is now one of the safest places in the country. Travellers who venture to Chechnya, now known as the Chechen Republic, will have the chance to experience breathtaking scenery and one of the last places not over-crowded by tourists.
Head outdoors for superb trekking through the Caucasus amid soaring peaks, white-water rafting, bustling markets and the chance to learn about a fascinating culture that dates back as far as 12500 BC. Locals are extremely welcoming and eager to show how much their world has changed since the war. You may not have heard of the national dish, but we guarantee you won’t forget it after trying it. Traditional Shashlyisk – a skewered meat marinated overnight in a high-acidity marinade like vinegar, dry wine or sour fruit/vegetable juice with the addition of onions, herbs and spices – delicious!
Mention the word Palestine and you be met with misconceptions and a misunderstanding around this destination. Our Walking in the Palestinian Territory itinerary is perfect for travellers seeking a clearer understanding of the Palestinian’s position and history. Venture well off-the-beaten track to explore this spectacular path through the Palestinian territory in Israel.
Hike alongside shepherds herding their flocks, stay with local families who retain their old-world traditions and discover historical biblical sites of the Holy Land. Day 6 is a chance to tick off a float in the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth. The area is characterised by high annual temperatures, low humidity and high atmospheric pressure, while the air is extremely oxygen-rich. With the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, the waters of the Dead Sea possess anti-inflammatory properties, while the dark mud found at its shores have been used for therapeutic purposes for more than 2000 years.
Make this experience yours and contact our team today!
This category of tours involves light trekking, walking, cycling, rafting or kayaking for a few hours each day with a small amount of inclines and declines. You will require a reasonable level of fitness and good health to participate. It is important to note that due to the nature of some of our trips, they may take place in remote areas (with basic facilities) and can involve long travelling days on various modes of transport.
Suggested preparation : At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake aerobic exercise (this may include jogging, cycling or fast walking) for 30 minutes, three times a week. It is also advised to walk on variable terrain and in variable weather conditions. For a cycling adventure, road cycling twice a week is recommended and for adventures which involve paddling and kayaking, it is important to gain confidence and rhythm rather than speed prior to departure.
This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 months prior to departure, it is recommended that you undertake 45mins – 1 hour of aerobic exercise, three to four times a week. Some potential exercises that could be beneficial include hill walking with a backpack on over variable terrain and weather conditions, as well as running and cycling dependent on the activity you plan on undertaking.
This category of tours involves trekking, kayaking, cycling or other adventure activities in remote areas for up to 8 to 10 hours a day. It is important to note that with the remoteness of some regions comes a variety of other challenges such as variable weather conditions, accommodation as well as facilities. You must have an excellent level of fitness and good health to be able to partake in this category of tour. You must have confidence in your own ability and be in good physical condition. Includes extended periods of endurance.
Suggested preparation: At least 3 to 4 months of strenuous exercise, four times a week. When preparing for treks it would be beneficial to participate in hill walks with a weighted day pack (approximately 5-8 kg) once a week for aerobic fitness and strengthening of leg muscles. It is also important to do this on variable terrain to prepare for challenging adventures. When preparing for cycling adventures, regular bike riding (at least 4 to 5 times a week for 1-4 hours is essential). It is also important to cycle on uneven surfaces or even participate in other aerobic exercises such as running or swimming to build up strength and stamina. Altitude may also be a factor in these tours.
This category of tour often involves extreme trekking, cycling or other extreme adventure activities. It is important to expect remote and poorly defined tracks and to be prepared for variable weather conditions for 10 to 12 hours per day (may sometimes be more depending on weather and altitude). These adventures are suitable for travellers who have prior experience in strenuous travel and activities, are extremely fit and have excellent health. It is also important to note that some of the terrain on these adventures will involve trekking in snow, at high attitude levels and may require technical equipment.
Suggested preparation: It is important to note that physical fitness should be an ongoing activity, commencing around 5-6 months prior to departure, or even before if you have no prior fitness. Exercise should focus on building maximum endurance and stamina. Four to five hard sessions of 40-60 mins per week should be completed and can include exercises such as going to the gym, running, swimming or cycling to focus on building aerobic stamina. It could also be beneficial to prepare by hiking on rough terrain, in extreme weather conditions or partake in altitude training.