Massive volcanic craters, acres of raw jungle and stretch of deserted sand dunes: the work of Mother Earth is just incredible. Thanks to these Natural Wonders, our Earth has been blessed with gorgeous landscapes and undulating backdrops. Without environmental protection, they might be gone faster than we expect. To pay tribute to these phenomenal sites, I’ve compiled a list of seven natural wonders of the world, based on my own opinion. I’ve personally visited all seven of them and can prove that they are all amazing and impressive. But obviously this is not a definitive list, it’s just my humble opinon. Check out my list and let me know which of the seven natural wonders you’ve been in the comments field below!
7 Natural Wonders of the World
1. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The crater is a sprawling conservation land in Tanzania, with one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. As a natural sanctuary to thousands of birds, lions, zebras, black rhino, it is often called Africa’s Eden.
Known as the “largest unbroken caldera in the world”, the crater is 610 meters deep and 260 sq km. Only the indigenous tribe of Maasai are allowed to live in the land. The crater is most popular for bird watching, photography, walking safaris, and game viewing.
Getting there: Fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport, then make your way to Arusha or Moshi. Most tour operators are based out of Arusha or Moshi and you can easily book a 4-day wildlife safari once you’re there. Most wildlife safaris will bring you to the Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park and Lake Manyara. From Arusha the crater is about a 3 hour drive. A good place to stay at in Arusha is Good Times Villa, which is affordable and exceptionally clean. If you’re looking to stay in Ngorongoro, check out Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, a luxurious and beautiful safari lodge with the best views in the area.
2. Iguazu Falls, South America
Located on the Argentinean-Brazilian border, Iguazu Falls divides the countries, as if the waters were plunging off the edge of the tectonic plates. It has been compared to the Victoria Falls and Niagara Falls, but the Iguazu definitely offers better views and well-designed walkways. At the Devils’s Throat, you are standing in the midst of the torrential waters, surrounded by 360degrees of waterfalls. Visitors can see the falls from the Brazilian side (Foz de Iguacu) or the Argentinean side (Puerto Iguazu).
Getting there: Buses and flights are available from most major cities in Argentina and Brazil to Iguazu. Flights from Buenos Aires to Iguazu cost around $200 return, but that’ll save you from an 18-hour bus journey. On the Argentinian side, we stayed at Terra Lodge at Puerto Iguazu and highly recommend it. It’s not the cheapest place, but it’s very tastefully designed (log cabin style) and well equipped with a pool and spa. On the Brazilian side, I recommend staying at Foz Plaza Hotel at Foz de Iguacu, a modern hotel that’s suitable for those used to five-star comfort.
3. Sahara Desert, North Africa
The Sahara is the world’s largest hot desert covering over 9 million km sq of area. Spanning most of Northern Africa (Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Chad and Algeria), it’s almost as large as the continent of Europe. Consisting of rocky formations and large sand dunes, a trip through the Sahara is one of mystique and desolation. Visitors can experience the various cultures around the desert through the little Saharan villages.
Getting there: The Sahara is most accessible in Morocco. Most travelers to Morocco will take an organised Morocco desert tour into the Sahara from Marrakech. Average prices start at around $100 per person for a 2 day, 1 night excursion. That’s usually the most convenient and cost-effective way to explore the Sahara. In Marrakesh, we stayed at Riad Azul Marrakech, which was well-price, stylish and well located near to the main square. Check the latest prices here.
4. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Over 972km west of continental Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands have been secluded from humans for thousands of years, resulting in unique and endemic species of wildlife. This volcanic archipelago of 13 islands is sprouting with marine lizards, giant land tortoises and blue-footed boobies everywhere. An opportunity to visit the islands makes one feels privileged to experience such rare sights in this modern world. Many budget travelers are deterred from visiting due to the high price of entering the Galapagos, but it IS possible to travel the Galapagos Islands on the cheap.
Getting there: The main gateway to the Galapagos Islands is Guayaquil, followed by Quito on mainland Ecuador. There are flights from Guayaquil to Isla Baltra or Isla San Cristobal daily, and they usually cost around US$150 each way. Check for flight prices here. From there, you can take a boat to the island in which you are planning to stay. We stayed at the Hotel España in Puerto Ayora ($30/night for a double) on Santa Cruz Island, which is accessible by boat from Baltra. It’s a great budget option for those looking for something cheap and centrally located.
5. Amazon Rainforest, South America
An extensive forest covering most of the Amazon Basin of South America, is spread across 8 different countries and covers over 5.5 million km sq. Home to proliferate wildlife and nearly-extinct primitive tribes, the Amazon Rainforest is the largest and most species-rich tropical rainforest in the world.
The majority of the forest sprawls across Brazil, with Manaus as the best place to enter the jungle from. We traveled to the Amazon from Baños, Ecuador, on a three-day trekking trip that included nocturnal walks, boat trips on dugout canoes and visits to the Indigenous tribes.
Getting there: To get to the Amazon, you can enter from any one of the following nine countries — Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. On our trip, we entered from Ecuador and trekked into the forest with a guide.
6. Grand Canyon, USA
A steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in Arizona is one of the most awe-striking natural site in the United States. The Grand Canyon is a creation formed by over two billions years of nature’s work. Aside from casual sightseeing from the South Rim, the floor of the valley is accessible by foot, mule or rafting. Other activities like whitewater rafting, hiking and running are especially popular.
Getting there: The easiest way to reach the Grand Canyon is by flying into Las Vegas, Nevada, then catching a bus, renting a car, or taking a guided tour out to the canyon. The journey takes around 4 hours each way. There are a handful of resorts to stay in at the park, or you can return to Las Vegas on the same day and spend the night there.
7. Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The world’s largest coral reef system stretches over 2,600 kilometers and can be seen from outer space. Supporting a wide diversity of marine life, the Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage site since 1981. A large part of the reef is protected by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which helps to limit the impact of human use, such as overfishing and tourism. A trip to Australia would be ideal from November to May, when summer temperatures are pleasant and Queensland’s vibrant aquatic life is at its most active.
Getting there: The easiest way to get to the Great Barrier Reef is via Brisbane as that’s the nearest big city. You can easily find flights from London to Brisbane for around £500 return. You can also fly to Hamilton Island via some major cities in Australia. Heron Island is where we stayed when we visited, and is a great option for easy access to the nature and wildlife of the Great Barrier Reef. The island has a fantastic resort, with spa and diving add-ons available.
Do you agree with this list? How many of these natural wonders have you been?
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