miercuri, 11 decembrie 2013

Mishko's Top 11 Natural Places to See

I couldn't decide which one I liked the most, so I've decided to put them in some arbitrary order. So it's not, actually, a top 11 per se. It's just the best 11 places I recommend (so far).
This selection in based only on the 35 countries I visited, and I put not only the most amazing landscapes, but also places that have some outstanding features. Basically, something that includes a superlative.

11. Kilimanjaro National Park - Tanzania

World's highest free-standing Mountain, Africa's highest peak, Uhuru offers from its 5895 m an incredible view of Africa from above. The climb is difficult, but not impossible. And the experience is certainly unforgettable.

10. Phi Phi Islands - Thailand

White beaches, clear blue water, perfect diving sites, silence. It's the paradise we all dream about. It is also one of the most stricken places by the 2004 tsunami, but...nobody's perfect.

9. Sacred Valley, Peru

Either if you go by motorcycle (like I did), bike, car, or by foot, Sacred Valley is an amazing place to be. There are also a lot of ancient sites to visit, but the scenery is mind-blowing. It crosses some very high passes, like Abra de Malaga (4330 m) and Abra de Lares (4461 m).

8. Baron Gorge National Park and Rain Forrest around Kuranda - Queensland, Australia and Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Since you can access both from Cairns, I've decided to put them together.

Great Barrier Reef

What can I say, it's the world's largest coral reef system. Just about 344.400 square km of it. Sure, there is no point in getting there and not do at least some snorkeling. Scuba diving is even better. But it is one of the most amazing things you will ever see. And at the rate the coral is dying, I would say, go now!
It is also one of the world's seven natural wonders.

Baron Gorge National Park and Rain Forrest around Kuranda

One of the world's oldest tropical forests, it is the home of lots and lots of butterflies and many other living creatures, like birds. For the bug-collector-child in you, or the bird-watcher in you, it is the perfect place to visit.

7. Spiti Valley, Himalaya, India

Well, the road is one of the most dangerous in the world. And since I rode a motorbike across it, alone, being hit by a truck in the process, I can tell you that is indeed a very dangerous road. But the scenery is breathtaking, the nature is almost unspoiled and the feeling of freedom is almost palpable.
It ends with the world's highest pass, Khardung La (5602 m). 

6. Danube Delta, Romania/Ukraine

It's Europe's second largest Delta, but it's Europe's best preserved. There are a lot of mosquitoes, and it can be very challenging in terms of infrastructure and accommodation, but the fauna and the sights are amazing. (I must say that the beautiful pictures are "borrowed" from my good friend Danny Andrei. Thanks, mate!)

5. Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa

Although famous because of the outstanding geological features (the Park includes one of the most ancient volcanoes in the world), the best thing to do here is, in my opinion, safari. There are a lot of animales, and therefore, high chances to see "the big five".

4. Grand Canyon, U.S.A.

There is not much I can tell you about one of the most famous places in the world. Just "go see it!".
It is also one of the world's seven natural wonders.

3. Victoria Falls, Zambia/Zimbabwe

Named by the locals "Mosi-oa-Tunya", "the smoke which thunders", it's the largest sheet of falling water in the world. It is situated on the Zambezi river, at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The view is amazing, there are monkeys all over the steep rocky edges and the bridge that crosses the amazing, steep valley between the two countries hosts one of the world's highest bungee-jumping site. There is also a natural infinity pool at the edge of the waterfall.
Victoria Falls is also on the list of world's seven natural wonders. 

2. Patagonia, Argentina/Chile

I know, it's half a continent, but I couldn't decide which part of it to put here, so I just put the whole of it. Highlights: Perito Moreno Glacier, Torres del Paine National Park, Ushuaia - World's southernmost point ("Fin del Mundo") and Mount Fitz Roy.
Patagonia is the windiest region in the world. During the summer the wind blows constantly with speeds going from 40 km/h to 120 km/h. If you want to see it from your motorbike, like I did, brace yourselves. It can be really challenging.

Rio Pinturas


Lenticular clouds

L'Angostura - Typical Argentinian Farm (Estancia)

Mount Fitz Roy

Mount Fitz Roy

Lago Argentino

Perito Moreno Glacier
Sunset in Ushuaia

1. Nazca Desert, Peru

Yeah, it's a friggin' desert. Well, since I am a little strange myself, I like strange places. And the Nazca desert is certainly strange enough. The light seems to be somehow different, and it creates an eery feeling of "outta this world". The fact that it's almost undisturbed since the ancient tribes roamed this lands makes it even creepier.
Here you can also find the tallest dune in the world, Cerro Blanco. It rises 1176 meters into the air – and sometimes clouds – and also features a monstrous vertical drop. Famous amongst the sand boarders, it can take four or five hours to climb. It's been called "the Everest of the desert and the mother of all dunes." That pretty much says it all.

Cerro Blanco can be seen from a distance
 Well, that's just about my list.
Got any other ideas?
Write me!

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