Sunset in the Mara (Dreamstime)

Fantastic trips to the Top 10 destinations in Wanderlust's Reader Travel Awards

15th February 2017

Our readers voted them their 10 favourite destinations in the world. Here’s how you can enjoy all that these amazing countries have to offer...

Wanderlust team

1: New Zealand: Great South Island adventure

Hiker in the Southern Alps (Dreamstime)

Hiker in the Southern Alps (Dreamstime)

New Zealand’s South Island is a true walkers' paradise, offering spectacular and varied landscapes at every turn. It can feel like you have crossed several continents in one day. From the dramatic scenery in the Fjordland, with its crystalline lakes and spectacular waterfalls, to Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, no two days are ever the same.

This trekking adventure offers the chance to encounter it all. You’ll trek over the Haast Pass to Mount Aspiring National Park, tackle the Routeburn Track and through the heart of Fjordland to Deep Cove, which is, quite literally, the end of the road.

Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays

When: Autumn

How long: 21 nights

How much: POA

 

2: Botswana: Ultimate camping safari

Poling through the Okavango Delta (Dreamstime)

Poling through the Okavango Delta (Dreamstime)

Whether you're a seasoned safari enthusiast or a first timer, this safari adventure holiday encompasses some of the most unique and diverse game reserves and national parks Botswana has to offer.

The first stop is the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, which provides 4300 hectares of prime habitat for the dwindling rhino population. Driving onwards through the Kalahari, you’ll head to the wetlands of the Okavango Delta and be gently poled along the water systems of the Okavango Delta in a traditional mokoro, a dug-out canoe.

Moving on from the Delta, you’ll visit the Moremi Game Reserve, which was first established by the Batawana people of Ngamiland, then Chobe National Park, famed for it's huge elephant population. All the while, you’ll stay in luxury bush camps, where a well-earned sundowner awaits each evening.

Who: KE Adventure Travel

When: Dates throughout 2017

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1.695 (exc. Flights)

 

3: Peru: The essential Incan adventure

A local festival in Peru (Dreamstime)

A local festival in Peru (Dreamstime)

Head to the heartland of the Inca Empire, where plunging canyons and soaring mountains form a spectacular backdrop to ruined temples and fortresses and indigenous markets awash with bold colour. 

Stand on the rim of the Colca Canyon as condors soar alongside you and tread a cautious foot on to the floating reed islands on the icy waters of Lake Titicaca. A train ride to Cusco, one of the great railway journeys of the world, is a superb way to drink in the scenery at a relaxed and comfortable pace.

From the cobbled streets of Cusco, next stop is the Lost City of Machu Picchu, set on a ridge spur between forested peaks above the River Urubamba, roaring through a tropical canyon. 

Who: Journey Latin America

When: Dates throughout 2017

How long: 14 days

How much: From £2,698 (exc. flights)

 

4: Iceland: On a shoestring

 Seljalandsfoss at sunset (Dreamstime)

Seljalandsfoss at sunset (Dreamstime)

Iceland can be a difficult place for travellers working with a tight budget, but that doesn’t mean thrifty folks can’t experience this Nordic treasure. G Adventures have bundled together a quick-and-inexpensive tour that takes in the best bits of Iceland’s north while keeping a keen eye on the bottom line by forgoing hotel stays for camping whenever possible.

There’s no cutting corners on the best stuff, though. You’ll still get to experience the geysers, massive waterfalls, lava formations and volcanic wonders of the Golden Circle and Þingvellir National Park for yourself, head out onto the ocean for a whale-watching tour, and raft through the gorgeous fjords. 

Iceland is within your reach. All you have to do is reach back.

Who: G Adventures

When: 1, 22 July, 5, 19 August 2017

How long: 5 days

How much: From £849 (exc. Flights)

 

5: Japan: Experience it all

 Geisha looking to the Golden Temple in Kyoto (Dreamstime)

Geisha looking to the Golden Temple in Kyoto (Dreamstime)

Starting in Tokyo, the Japan Experience tour takes in the best that Japan has to offer. After a day’s sightseeing in the old and new sides of Tokyo, you’ll venture out of the city to the shrines of Nikko and Mount Fuji. After two days immersed in the timeless town of Takayama, you’ll move on to the World Heritage Site of Shirakawago and then on to Kanazawa.

It is the cultural heartland of Kyoto that you’ll spend the most time in, with three full days to explore the rich history, culture and tradition of this fascinating city. You will have the chance to rejuvenate in the hot springs at Hakone and visit the ancient capital city of Nara before finishing in Osaka.

Who: Transindus

When: Various dates Mar-Nov 2017

How long: 13 days

How much: From £3,895 (inc. flights)

 

6: Burma: Cruise the Irrawaddy

Burmese river scene (Dreamstime)

Burmese river scene (Dreamstime)

There’s no better way to soak up the timeless charm of Burma than by boat, witnessing daily life much as it has been for centuries. Sailing from Mandalay to Bagan, you’ll discover quaint rural villages, experience the bustle of morning markets, explore ancient temples, pagodas and monasteries, and relax in the passing riverside scenery.

Your vessel is the stylish Belmond Orcaella, where each cabin boats panoramic windows and the small number of guests means you are well-looked after. On board, relax in the spa or pool, soak up the sunshine on the sun deck and enjoy lectures on the history of the region.

Who: Cox & King Travel

When: Flexible dates throughout 2017

How long: 16 days

How much: From £4,995 (inc. flights)

 

7: Vietnam: A food adventure to be savoured

Floating market in Vietnam (Dreamstime)

Floating market in Vietnam (Dreamstime)

A culinary journey through Vietnam reveals a deceptive simplicity to a cuisine renowned for its fresh, natural ingredients, aromatic appeal and delicate balance of flavours. From savouring the freshest seafood in Halong Bay, sitting with the locals while sampling the best of street snacks in Hoi An and cycling through the herb gardens of Tra Que village, you'll experience it all.

A highlight is joining a family for a night on the Mekong Delta, trying your hand at mastering a variety of regional dishes, ensuring that you make the most of this food lovers paradise.

Each day is packed with culinary-based experiences that are best rewarded with a bia-hoi (local fresh beer) and a perch on the street-side bars to absorb the fascinating culture of this gastronomical land.

Who: Exodus

When: 4 Mar, 28 Oct, 11, 125 Nov

How long: 12 days

How much: From £999 (exc. flights)

 

8: Sri Lanka: By bike

 Beach and bike in Hikaduwa, Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)

Beach and bike in Hikaduwa, Sri Lanka (Dreamstime)

A land of misty highlands and tea plantations, dense jungles and national parks, Sri Lanka is ideally suited to cycle touring. From the palm-fringed west coast, you’ll cycle inland through a multitude of Buddhist and Hindu monuments and colonial heritage that characterises the country’s rich cultural history.

Your journey leads deep into the rainforest of central Sri Lanka where monks conduct prayers in harmony with the forest, before you continue to the hill town of Kandy with its splendid botanical gardens and lush tea plantations. 

After visiting the rock fortress of Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa, the medieval capital of Sri Lanka, you’ll swap your bike for a jeep and take a wildlife safari in the Minneriya National Park.

Who: World Expeditions

When: Dates throughout 2017

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1690 (exc. flights)

 

9: Namibia: Fly-Around Safari

 Hot Air Balloon in the Namib-Naukluft Desert (Dreamstime)

Hot Air Balloon in the Namib-Naukluft Desert (Dreamstime)

Namibia's vast and cinematic landscapes make travel by light aircraft the perfect way to get around and cover great distances quickly. Not only is the experience exhilarating, but the views are superb.

On this luxury trip, you'll stay in some of Namibia's best accommodation and take in word-famous Sossusvlei, Etosha and Damaraland. Rhino-tracking in the million-acre private Palmwag Reserve is one of the many highlights, as is game-viewing in the Ongava Game Reserve.

Who: Rainbow Tours

When: Dates throughout 2017

How long: 11 days

How much: From £4,710 (inc. flights)

 

10: Kenya: Go wild in Amboseli, Meru and the Mara

 Hot Air Balloon in the Namib-Naukluft Desert (Dreamstime)

Lions in the Masai Mara in Kenya (Dreamstime)

This tailor-made safari combines world-class game viewing at Amboseli National Park in the shadow of snow-capped Kilimanjaro, with rhino watching in spectacular Meru National Park. Internal flights ensure you spend as much time as possible viewing wildlife.

The final few days of this unforgettable wildlife holiday are spent on an elegant 1920s-style safari in the game-rich plains of the world renowned Masai Mara.

Who: Wexas Travel

When: Dates throughout 2017

How long: 12 day

How much: From £5,515 (inc. flights)


To find out more about about Wanderlust's Reader Travel Awards, sponsored by The Money Shop, and discover the winners in all the other categories, including Best City, Best Airline, Best Tour Operator and Best UK Destination, visit www.wanderlust.co.uk/wanderlust-reader-travel-awards-2017

Main image: sunset in the Mara (Dreamstime)

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Key Facts

  • Kenya

    Kenya travel guide, including map of Kenya, top Kenya travel experiences, tips for travel in Kenya, plus where to see wildlife in Kenya

  • Vietnam

    Vietnam travel guide, including map of Vietnam, top Vietnam travel experiences, tips for travel in Vietnam, plus where go and what to do in Vietnam

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