25 places to see before you die

 

There are places all over the world that inspire with their history, beauty and uniqueness and seeing these is a once in a life-time experience. Every avid traveller undoubtedly has a list of dream destinations. If you have yet to make yours, here are 25 places to travel to and see before you die.

 

Angel Falls – Venezuela

These are the world’s highest waterfalls soaring 979m into the misty clouds above. Be warned, however, a trip to the falls is not an easy endeavour. A special flight is needed to travel to Canaima Camp which is the starting point for river tours to the base.

Angkor Wat* – Cambodia

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is an ancient temple in Cambodia

This temple was built in the 12th century as the state’s capital and temple city. It is an important symbol in Cambodia even featuring on their national flag and is a major attraction. The city is so old trees have grown around the ruins.

Antelope Canyon – USA

Located in the Navajo, the canyon provides some of the best photographic opportunities when you travel. The amazing patterns in the canyon were formed by the erosion of the Navajo during flash floods. Rainwater rushes into the passageways smoothing the edges of the rocks to make flowing patterns.

Blue Lagoon – Iceland

No where on earth does fire and ice have such a spectacular effect. An example of this is in this geothermal spring where temperatures range between 37 and 39ºC. The water reportedly solves many skin ailments. The best time to go is during sun set.

Bora Bora – Society Islands of French Polynesia

Bora Bora

Bora Bora is an island retreat in the middle of a reef (Tahiti Tourisme)

This is a volcanic island paradise in the middle of a barrier reef and lagoon of clear turquoise water. There is no getting closer to the lagoon than with the over-the-water bungalows. The water is clear enough to see the marine life through it.

Carrerra Lake – Argentina/Chile

The deepest lake in South America is home to a glittering combination of different colour water: turquoise, emerald, aquamarine and azure. Marble protrusions have formed on the beachside in hues of blue and pink and different shapes as a result of erosion.

Cave of Crystals – Mexico

This cave, 980 feet below the surface, is home to giant selenite crystals- some of the biggest ever found. The largest weighs 55 tonnes. The crystals are formed when hydrothermal fluids rise from the magma chambers. Temperatures can reach 58ºC making protective clothing a necessity.

Hawaii – USA

Hawaii

Visit Hawaii to for amazing beaches and active volcanoes

Hawaii is the destination of beautiful beaches and active volcanoes. The large amount of active volcanoes means the size and shape of the island chain is constantly changing. Be sure to make a stop at Maui which is one of the most beautiful islands.

Iguazu Falls – Argentina/Brazil

A volcanic eruption cracked the earth forming one of the most breath-taking sights worldwide. Up to 275 water cascades make it taller than the Niagara Falls and twice as wide. During rainy season 450 000 cubic feet of water fall over the edge per second.

Machu Picchu – Peru

Visit these mountain-top ruins which were the home of the Inca Empire before it was abandoned during the Spanish conquest. They are on the slopes of the Andes and above the Amazon basin. The ruins were only discovered in 1911 by a historian, Hiram Bingham.

Moraine Lake – Canada

Lake Moraine

Light refraction creates the beautiful turquoise colour of Lake Moraine

The lake, in Banff National Park, is another colour fest for your eyes. In late June, when it is at its fullest it reflects a turquoise shade. This is a result of refractions of the rock flour at the bottom of the lake.

Petra*– Jordan

This city is one of the wonders of the world as it was carved into the rock face by Nabataeans more than 2000 years ago. It is also called the Rose because of the pink hue of the rock. The city is the main symbol of Jordan.

Petra Jordan

The ancient ruins of Petra in Jordan

Plitvice Lakes National Park* – Croatia

Plitvice Lakes

Plitvice National Park boasts an assorment of lakes in magical colours

This collection of 16 picturesque natural dams, separated by limestone barriers, ranges in colour from blue-green to grey. Their colours change daily depending on the organisms and minerals present and the angle of the sun. It is the oldest national park in southeast Europe.

Pyramids of Giza* – Egypt

Pyramids of Giza

The Sphinx and Pyramids in Egypt

The pyramids are one of the most impressive attractions in Africa. Of the pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and largest and was built for Pharaoh Khufu. It is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the only one that remains mostly intact.

Rapa Nui* – Chile

Rapa Nui Chile

Walk between the Moai at Rapa Nui in Chile (UNESCO Ko Hon Chiu Vincent)

 

At Rapa Nui you can walk between 887 massive stone, head-shaped statues called Moai. They honour the locals’ ancestors but their history is shrouded in mystery. Look out for Paro – the largest statue measuring 33 feet and weighing 82 tonnes.

Santorini – Greece

If Greece draws to mind images of white houses, panoramic sea views and volcanic landscapes, you are thinking of Santorini. It is the remains of a city after a volcanic explosion destroyed most of the earliest settlements. Remnants of lost civilisations lie under the ashes of the volcano.

Stonehenge* – UK

Stonehege UK

Stonehenge in the UK is a World Heritage Site (UNESCO Francesco Bandarin)

Suggestions of the origin of this ring of standing stones range between stories of an ancient burial ground to a place of worship of ancestors. Estimates say its construction took more than 30 million hours. The best time to see the stones is when the sun sets behind them.

The Grand Canyon* – USA

This is one of the USA’s greatest natural wonders. It is a 446km long, 29km wide and 1.6km deep gorge formed by the Colorado River. Nearly 2 billion years of the earth’s geological history is revealed by the canyon. It is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon in the USA in Winter (Larry D Fellows)

The Great Barrier Reef – Australia

As the world’s largest coral reef system. you can even see it from space. Despite this, more than half of the reef was eroded since 1985. It is home to one of the most awesome collections of marine life worldwide. It is also one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The Great Wall of China*

Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China is possibly one of the greatest military defenses (UNESCO Giovanni Bocardi)

The wall spans the northern border of China. It is a collection of smaller walls which connect to form one 21 000km wall. It was built to protect China from military intrusion. Travel here during spring or autumn during cherry blossom season.

The Maldives

The Maldives is two coral reefs in the shape of rings and consists of up to 1 190 coral islands. It is also an island paradise of deep blue seas, turquoise reefs, palm trees and white beaches. When you travel to the Maldives you can lie on the beach while dazzling arrays of fish swim just a few meters from you.

The Taj Mahal*– India

This marble mausoleum is an architectural marvel taking more than 22 years to build. It houses the body of emperor Shah Jahan’s third wife and is now a symbol of eternal love. The tomb is now a central focus of the Taj.

The Wave – Utah

When you first see the Wave you may find it hard to believe your eyes. It is a sandstone rock formation in ribbons of colour as a result of crosswinds and erosion over the years. Precipitation and oxidising minerals create the ribbons or ‘Liesegang Bands’.

Victoria Falls* – Zimbabwe/Zambia

Victoria Falls Zambia

Victoria Falls is one of Africa’s greatest attractions (Zambia Tourism)

The falls form the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is the greatest curtain of falling water in the world and its nickname is the ‘smoke that thunders’ by local tribes. If you can brave the off-spray, there is a path alongside the falls which should not be missed when you travel there.

Yosemite National Park* – USA

As the first national park in the US, Yosemite started the movement to demarcate national parks. Its waterfalls are the most famous but there are also other interesting wonders of nature such as the granite cliffs which many people travel to, to see. The park also lies on an extinct volcano.

Yosemite National Park USA

Yosemite National Park is one of the first national parks in USA (Kenny Karst DNC Parks and Resorts at Yosemite Inc)

*World Heritage Sites*

These places have special cultural or physical significance. UNESCO believes it is in the interest of the international community to preserve the sites. Certain sites can obtain funds from the organisation for their maintenance.

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