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Adventures

Great Himalaya Trail, Nepal

This recently inaugurated trail is made up of a network of existing paths traversing Nepal. It will eventually form part of a 4,500-kilometre (2,800-mile) “super trail” linking Bhutan and Pakistan. The existing 1,700km Nepal section divides into smaller routes passing in sight of eight of the world’s 8,000-metre (26,247ft-plus) peaks and through some of the world’s most remote villages.

The trail crosses mountain passes up to 6,000 metres in altitude while climbing a total of 150,000 metres. The full escorted 157-day trek with World Expeditions costs £20,490, but the seven shorter connecting stages range from the 18-day Langtang Trek (£2,350) to the 34-day Makalu & Everest Traverse led by the climbing legend Stephen Venables (£3,850). Prices include airport transfers, expert mountain guides, porters, trekking permits, equipment and all meals, but not flights

Overland adventures, South America

For many young adventurers, overlanding is their first experience of a long journey away from home, and offers the safety of travelling in an organised group with the advantage of covering more ground than is sometimes possible in a lifetime of two-week holidays. Dragoman, the pioneer of the field, ran its first informal tour in 1981 in a Bedford truck; it now has a fleet of 24 trucks. Its 60-day tour from La Paz to Salvador da Bahia travels through Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

The cost of £1,885 includes the overland ride and the services of guides, but not flights; an extra kitty payment of $1,640 (£1,028) covers meals, accommodation and activities. Departures: June 1 and Oct 19.

River rafting, Turkey

This is the final year in which it will be possible to raft the Coruh River in Turkey, because of construction of the Ispir dam. One of the world’s classic rivers for white-water rafting expeditions, the Coruh is located in dramatic mountain scenery in the north-east of Turkey, far from the Mediterranean tourist hot spots.

Flowing through the heart of the Kackar mountain range, this seven-day rafting experience with Water By Nature is an adrenalin-filled roller-coaster ride negotiating grade 4-5 rapids through 1,500-metre-deep gorges and passing traditional Turkish villages. The cost of £895 includes river guides, equipment, meals and tented accommodation, but not flights. Departures: May and June.

Fish River Canyon ride, Namibia

Ride through the world’s second largest canyon, experiencing monumental landscapes, vast desert plains and African game. These expedition rides were taken over in 2010 by Sarah Jane Gullick, who previously ran African Horseback Safaris in the Okavango Delta in Botswana, but Waldi Fritzche, who pioneered them, continues to guide a number of the northern routes.

The Fish River trail reaches the canyon rim before descending and following the banks of the Orange River, and then heading across open savannah and rocky landscapes with sightings of the wild horses of the Southern Namib Desert. The cost of £3,293 for 10 nights (£1,925 for five nights) through In The Saddle includes expert guide, horse, equipment, meals, tented accommodation, backup vehicle and transfers, but not flights. Experienced riders only.

Tour du Mont Blanc

This 14-day circuit of Mont Blanc is arguably the most dramatic walk in Europe. Linking the seven valleys that surround Western Europe’s highest mountain, the route crosses three borders (France/Switzerland/Italy/France), climbs over six passes, traverses beneath huge glaciers and meanders through beautiful alpine meadows and picture-book villages.

Throughout the trek there are views of some of the most beautiful peaks in the Alps, including Mont Blanc (4,810m), the Aiguille Verte (4,122m), Les Drus, Les Grandes Jorasses and many more. The walking is moderate to challenging, with two rest days – but some are the equivalent of walking up and down Ben Nevis in a day. The trek is based on the “supported camping” concept, with a vehicle transporting luggage, equipment and supplies. The price of £1,229 includes flights, transfers, guide and 14 nights’ camping, mostly in good campsites with hot showers, and most meals.

Clearwater Paddling, Outer Hebrides

The popularity of kayaking as an adventure sport has increased exponentially over the last few years. At its most basic level it is an easy sport to get to grips with – anyone who is reasonably fit can master a basic stroke and learn to manoeuvre in a short time. It is also a great way of getting close to nature. Clearwater Paddling, based on the island of Barra in the Outer Hebrides, runs about 20 tours a year around Scotland – ranging from introductory courses for beginners to camping expeditions for experienced kayakers – as well as tours to farther-flung locations such as Oman and Sardinia.

A six-night lodge-based Magic of Barra tour exploring both Barra and neighbouring uninhabited islands costs £645, including kayaking equipment and guiding, local transport and all food, wine and accommodation.

Volunteer conservation adventures

Three non-profit companies – Earthwatch, Biosphere Expeditions and Coral Cay Conservation – lead the field in providing opportunities to volunteer for scientific expeditions. The idea is to combine a unique experience while volunteering for projects on both land and sea. Meals are provided, and accommodation is usually in the same basic accommodation used by the scientists. A seven-day trip with Earthwatch tracking Pacific grey whales off the west coast of Canada requires a contribution of £1,095. Departures: July to September.

A two-week expedition to the Brazilian rainforest with Biosphere Expeditions to study mammals including jaguars, pumas and ocelots requires a contribution of £1,190. Departure: May 15-27. Volunteers with Coral Cay Conservation help on coral reef projects all over south-east Asia, and contribute on a sliding scale depending on experience and length of stay.

Native American experience, United States

Topped and tailed by time out in Las Vegas, this 16-day tour with Intrepid Travel is a journey to the heart of native American country, camping and hiking in wilderness areas and exploring ancient ruins. There will be the chance to meet native Americans from communities striving to preserve their centuries-old way of life – including Navajo, Anasazi and Apache.

The tour visits Canyon de Chelly, with its 3,000-year-old tribal artefacts, Monument Valley, Mesa Verde National Park, Navajo Lake State Park, White Sands National Monument, the Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Santa Fe as well as Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. The cost of £1,220 includes guide, transport in vans and jeeps, accommodation in hotels, cabins, tents and a Navajo hogan, but excludes most meals and flights.

Diving safari, Borneo

The volcanic island of Sipadan was made famous by Jacques Cousteau, and has regularly been voted one of the world’s top 10 dive sites. As well as its legendary turtles, Sipadan is famous for its wall diving, with reefs dropping off thousands of feet very close to the shore. This 18-day diving safari with Aqua-Firma also takes in the Layang Layang atoll and the islands of Lankayan, Mabul and Kapalai – showcasing the best diving Borneo has to offer.

The price of £2,855 per person includes transfers and flights within Borneo, conservation fees & permits (except for Sipadan Island – currently $13 per day), three boat dives daily, resort accommodation in the north-eastern town of Sandakan (based on two sharing a room), tanks and most meals; it excludes international flights and equipment rental. The trip can also be tailor-made.

Secret Apennines walk, Italy

Walking is the oldest adventure activity of them all, and exploring new landscapes on foot can feel like a genuine voyage of discovery. The secret of success lies in choosing a region which is relatively undiscovered, but which has spectacular landscapes and a rich local culture. No better example exists in Europe than the Apennine mountains stretching from Liguria to Umbria in northern Italy.

The walking trails in the Corno alle Scale Regional Park lead up through forests and centuries-old mountain villages to the high mountains, where on clear days Florence’s cathedral can be seen more than 80 miles away. A seven-day self-guided walk with Inntravel staying at hand-picked family-run hotels costs from £578 including all meals, route notes and maps, and luggage transport.