Here in the UK we have some amazing scenery and some challenging walks. But sometimes you want something different, whether for a personal challenge, to add to your walking skills or even as part of a charity challenge. That’s when you start to look overseas for walks and treks that are a little different to what the UK can offer.
Great Wall of China
Without doubt, one of the biggest challenges for any walking fan is to trek the Great Wall of China. Most treks start and end in Beijing so are also an ideal opportunity to fit in sights such as the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. The Wall has enough variation that there is something for everyone though if you plan to do one of the challenges, such as a five-day trek, it is always a good idea to do some training beforehand. It is an amazing chance to see one of the most famous man-made structures in the world as well as glimpse life from a different era in the unchanged villages along its length.
Kilimanjaro is over 19,000 feet high, 24 miles wide and 49 miles long – it is a big mountain in every way! So I was more than a little excited to climb the highest mountain in Africa. This was my first personal charity challenge when I went with a group of fellow hikers to conquer the mountain to raise money. There are various routes up the mountain with the Machame Route being very popular. It offers all the amazing views and a wide range of landscapes including lava towers, ice cliffs and glaciers. It ends with the Stella Point crater rim, the highest point in Africa and the best place to see a sunrise.
Avenue of the Volcanoes
The Ecuadorian Andes of South America include Cotopaxi, the highest active volcano in the world and is part of the challenge known as the Avenue of the Volcanoes. This involves climbing four different volcanoes over a 12-day period and is a great team challenge. This isn’t one for the novices and a serious training regime is advisable but the views and amazing landscape is well worth the work.
Icelandic lava trek
If mountaineering isn’t your thing, then check out the Icelandic lava treks for a chance to see something completely different. Iceland’s South Highlands is a very volcanically active area and the Landmannalaugar route is the perfect way to see the best of them. Most walks last around four days and take in waterfalls, fjords and steaming lava fields along the way. Warm clothes are needed and with the right preparation, the trek is suitable for all levels and abilities.
Sumatra is an Indonesia island famous for its rain forests and vastly diverse wildlife. A trek through the jungles offers the unique chance to see animals such as the orangutan in their natural environment. You can camp in the rain forest, track wildlife with the locals and even go river walking as well as learning about the habitat and what makes it so unique. There is even the chance to get involved with the Tree Replanting Project and give something back to the island.