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LIFESTYLE TRAVEL THE WILD FRONTIER


From jungle survival skills to diving into the abyss, travel companies are increasingly offering expedition-style adventures that make for a truly life-changing experience. Rachael Woolston goes off the beaten track to bring you six of the best


Extreme ranching in Guyana


Would you like a real taste of what it feels like to be a proper explorer? You’ll certainly get it with this epic adventure to a rarely visited corner of South America’s beautiful Guyana, where you will learn to ranch with the remote Amerindian and Vaquero Indians on their spectacular rolling savannahs. But first you’ll have to get there through the uncharted, mist-shrouded Amazonian jungle. With the help of ex-SAS personnel, who will accompany you on your trip, you will learn the skills needed to survive in the jungle, including foraging for food and hunting with a traditional bow and arrow. Travelling by foot and dug-out canoe, you will see all jungle wildlife – and you may even be lucky enough to spot the elusive Jaguar. Once you have reached the dramatic Amazonian


A typical dwelling, or tata, in Tamberma, Togo


Voodoo in North Africa Fancy exploring a culture unlike any you will have ever experienced? Then enter the Cradle of Voodoo, a breathtaking tour around North Africa. Before you envisage the voodoo of Hollywood films, complete with evil sorcerers and voodoo dolls, remember this is a religious practise that remains central to the lives of millions here. You will visit Akodessewa fetish market, where many of the religious and medicinal


ingredients used in voodoo are sold, before heading out to rural villages where the practise still dominates the lives of local people. And forget the usual lounging by the pool, on this trip you will be staying at a fishing village where the locals swim in the river and attempt to sit on the back of crocodiles, which they believe are sacred and contain the spirits of their ancestors. Don’t fancy your chances on a croc? There’s always the python pits of the voodoo


temples at Ouidoh, once a slave-trading post, to try. Or perhaps the throne of human skulls at the Royal Palaces of the pre-colonial kingdom of Dahomey, now a UNESCO world heritage site. Not for the faint-hearted, this 17-day trip involves camping and basic accommodation but will provide a fascinating insight into a little-known culture and will certainly take you far away from your day-to-day life. From £2,465 for 17 nights (a hotel for eight nights, camping for six nights and guest house for three nights) including meals, flights, transport and expert guiding. Book with Explore (0844 499 0901, www.explore.co.uk)


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plains, you’ll be picked up by 4x4 and will overnight in a traditional barracón, or bunkhouse. The next morning you will set off to help the remote Indian tribes round up their cattle, sleeping under the stars in the vast wilderness of the open savannah. This will leave you on a high long after your tan has faded. From £9,895 per person for 14 nights, based on two travelling, including most meals, expert private guiding, logistical support, equipment, and all internal transport (not including international flights). Book with Epic Tomato (020 7426 9899, www.epictomato.com)


A Guyanese man hunting


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