Apart from Antarctica South America is the continent least visited by South Africans. With flying from South Africa being particularly difficult due to the shortage of direct flights, and the continued strengthening of the continent’s economies leading to higher prices, South America has some pretty daunting hurdles to overcome for the local traveler. Fortunately it is capable of leaping over these hurdles with absolute abandon as, once there, one quickly discovers it is a continent still loaded with unique experiences, and undiscovered adventure.
First, and foremost, it is a destination of rare, and genuinely heart-stopping beauty.From the world’s highest waterfall, Angel Falls, to the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia, the world’s largest salt flats, the continent offers sites not possible anywhere else in the world. The famed Galapagos islands off the coast of Ecuador house wildlife that can not be found anywhere else on earth, as does the world famous Amazon Jungle. Amongst all this lie the ruins of dozens of ancient civilisations, often set in some of the most stunning and untouched parts of the continent. If you have never been before here are three tours which may help you dip your toe in the culture, beauty and incredible life altering adventure of this magnificent continent.
An extremely diverse country, Chile is a great country to visit to kick off a discovery of South America. It stretches from the southern tip of the continent all the way up the Western coastline to Peru and as such has some of the most diverse scenery around. From the scorching Atacama desert to towering mountains and fertile wine valleys Chile has something to take your breath away around every corner. From the gorgeous terraces of Valparaiso to the Magdalena Island penguin colony and the famed Torres Del Paine National Park this tour will give you a comprehensive tour of this starkly original country. There is even an optional excursion to see the famed statues on Easter Island.
If you want to see the wildlife of South America the Amazon may seem the obvious place. Sadly the thick vegetation makes it almost impossible to get a decent view. Instead the wise adventurer should head to world’s largest tropical wetland; the world famous “Pantanal“. While based on a combination of lodges and houseboats you will head deep into the wilderness in search of the elusive Jaguar in it’s natural habitat. It’s a trip straight out of an adventure novel as the boat drifts through the pristine surroundings eventually bringing you face to face with this rarely seen predator.
Peru is home to some of South America’s most iconic attractions. Lake Titicaca is the highest great lake on earth, it’s stillness and reflective quality inspires contemplation. The mysterious Nazca lines, a series of giant geoglyphs carved into the desert floor, still amaze and confuse those who witness them, while the mist shrouded temples of Macchu Picchu are often listed as being amongst the most beautiful places on the planet. This tour of Peru takes in all three attractions, giving you plenty of time to hike your way along the ancient Inca steps to the Sun gate. It’s an unforgettable journey to the heart of an ancient world that time has almost forgotten and should be every traveller’s bucket list.
And if you need anymore inspiration to take the plunge on this continent, take a look at this video: