Watch the wildebeest migration in Tanzania
The wildebeest migration, which takes place between January and April, is a showstopping, earth-shaking spectacle which makes pigeons’ homing skills look positively tame. Our top tip? Time your visit to coincide with calving season in February, when 8,000 surprisingly cute wildebeests are born every day. Amazingly, they’re able to run as quickly as their parents within a matter of hours, although having a lion staring at you while licking its lips would surely encourage the laziest of animals to get a move on. Mwiba Lodge’s close proximity to Southern Serengeti’s wide-open plains makes it a brilliant base for wildebeest watching.
The wildebeest migration is not to be missed
Scuba dive in the Galapagos islands
Bath-warm water and tropical fish are overrated. If a Padi scuba diving certification is on your bucket list, reduce the risk of a flipper to the face by avoiding overcrowded underwater hot spots such as the Great Barrier Reef, and head to Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands. The islands have plenty of Padi dive schools offering certification, and the region’s unmissable dive sites include Roca Redonda, where there’s an underwater volcano to explore; Isabela Island, where you can swim with seals and sealions; and Academy Bay, where divers regularly spot hammerhead sharks, eagle sharks and manta rays.
Take part in the Iditarod
Put the man’s best friend theory to the test by spending 15 days with a team of canine companions, mushing your way across Alaska. The 1,000-mile Iditarod race takes place every March. All participants must have completed a number of qualifying races (finishing in the top 75 per cent) and the winner can expect to take home around £37,000. The prize money fluctuates depending on the number of competitors who make it to the finish line. In other words, competitors who notice that a fellow competitor has ploughed into a snowdrift should probably think twice before helping him or her out.
Sail around the Antarctic
If you’ve ever considered booking an Antarctic cruise, it’s worth choosing your cruise line carefully. All too many cruises allow you to spend merely a day or two in the region, after setting sail from South American cities for convoluted voyages that involve just a quick dip into Antarctica itself.
Book a cruise with Holland America and you’ll spend four days (more time than any other cruise line) sailing around the Antarctic Peninsula. Highlights include Cuverville Island, which has the world’s largest gentoo penguin colony, and a crossing of the Drake Passage, which separates South America from Antarctica.
Cruise around Antarctica
Join marine conservationists on a research dive in Indonesia
Raja Ampat is regarded as one of the world’s best diving destinations, and it’s also one of the most remote. This beautiful Indonesian archipelago in West Papua is famous for its colourful corals and the diversity of its marine life. Ever dreamed of spotting a wobbegong, golden sea squirt or Indonesian speckled carpet shark? Then Raja Ampat is the place for you.
Base yourself at the Misool Eco Resort and all proceeds go to the Misool Foundation, a marine conservation project which helps to protect the surrounding area – and guests can join the foundation’s conservationists on research dives.
Complete the North Pole Marathon
Regular marathon runners often cite London and New York as the most spectacular settings for the famous race, but for a truly awe-inspiring endurance event, sign up for the North Pole Marathon, which takes place every April and has been certified by Guinness World Records as the Northernmost Marathon on Earth.
The one downside? Despite the spectacular backdrop, be prepared for a little déjà vu – the route consists of 10 laps of a 2.62-mile circuit, simply because the risks which come with the territory (polar bears and sub-zero temperatures, to name a few) means a point-to-point route isn’t possible. You’ll also need a fair few sponsors – prices start from around £14,000 for a package which includes flights from Svalbard to the North Pole, race entry and accommodation.
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