See the world in style with luxury tour operator Abercrombie & Kent’s seriously cool new Life Changing Year of Travel campaign. A collection of experiences designed to truly immerse travellers in a variety of destinations and ways, the new immerse experiences offer modern bon vivants the chance to try everything from Muay Thai in Thailand to truffle hunting in Tuscany.
Grouped into 12 different themes, travellers can choose to make a difference and understand animal life in a dream destination, such as meeting with conservationists in Botswana, or track a gorilla in Rwanda. For others who wish to challenge themselves and learn a new skill, they can learn Muay Thai or try Sri Lanka’s unique art of stilt fishing. And for the foodies, there’s a number of culinary wonders awaiting.
Here’s a taste of what’s on offer:
1 Conservation in South Australia
Wilderness lovers, step this way. Arkaba is a quintessential homestead among 24,000 hectares of South Australian outback. A former-sheep-station-turned-stylish homestead, experience its vetted conservation programme designed to monitor rare wildlife and the surrounding precious landscape.
Join a field guide in the evening to track a radio-collared quoll (a nocturnal marsupial). Set up monitors in key sites and install heat sensor cameras to capture the movement of these rarely seen creatures. What’s more, you’ll gain insight into the strategies used to minimise Arkaba’s impact on the land. Learn about its clever energy-saving tricks and the ‘buy local’ ethos. All Arkaba’s food and beverage is sourced from South Australia.
A seven-night tailor-made South Australia self-drive itinerary starts from £4,790 including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences
2 Help restore priceless art in Italy
There is a global effort underway to help restore the monuments that are the cultural heritage of Florence and are regarded as world treasures. At The Chapel of the Madonna of Giambologna, an artistic gem of the Renaissance period in Santissima Annunziata (Church of the Annunciation). This church is considered one of the top must-see churches in Florence – and here’s your chance to experience it first-hand.
Guests can take part on an ambitious restoration project to help restore priceless art. Accompanied by a member of the small, on-site team of art restorers, visit the Giambologna Chapel, one of the Basilica’s many side chapels. Observe firsthand how restorers bring out the original features of its Renaissance artworks, which might otherwise be lost forever.
A three-night trip to Florence starts from £1295pp. Includes flights, transfers, accommodation and guiding.
3 Try a cheetah conservation watch in Tanzania
Ready to go wild? Kusini and its southern plains are famous for their high cheetah population. But partly because of habitat loss and partly because of human conflict, cheetahs are now designated as Vulnerable to Extinction. Today there are very few of these sleek, majestic animals still roaming free in the wild.
The Serengeti Cheetah Project compiles vital information in the fight to protect the species. When a cheetah is seen, it is photographed and identified by its unique spot patterns. Its location, condition and reproductive status are entered into a database to map, monitor and protect the movement of cheetah populations.
With this unique experience, guests can go spotting a cheetah on safari with Sanctuary Kusini or another of the Serengeti camps, submit your photographs, along with information about where and when it was seen, to the Serengeti Cheetah Project. They will be entered into the database and provide valuable information to researchers.
12 nights start from £6,500pp. Includes flights, transfers, accommodation and some guiding.
4 Try your hand at Cowboy College in Arizona
Pull on a Stetson and leather chaps for a taste of real-deal cowboy life in Arizona’s desert. If you sign up to cowboy college, you’ll soon slot into the prairie picture. Saddle up and ride Western style, practising horsemanship as well as rope and wrangling techniques.
Whilst staying at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, learn how to swing a lasso like a pro and master the art of shoeing. You can show off your skills at the gymkhana, jumping fences and cantering around barrels.
12 night ‘south west family explorer’ tailor-made holiday including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences from £5,680pp
5 Master Muay Thai in Thailand
Martial arts’ fans won’t want to miss this chance to experience a Muay Thai lesson with one of Bangkok’s revered champions. Step into The Siam Hotel’s on-site boxing ring, where under the guidance of your pro, you’ll practice one of the world’s most effective striking martial-art forms. Learn to punch, kick, elbow and knee at lighting speed. Your instructor will perform pad work, while helping you perfect the dazzling moves.
After an intense workout, you can soothe your muscles in The Siam’s Opium Spa. A pampering herbal steam and Muay Thai massage is the perfect antidote.
12-night tailor-made Discover Thailand itinerary from £2,980 including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences
6 Take a heli-selfie with Christ the Redeemer in Brazil
Is this possibly the best view in the world? Take the ultimate selfie with Brazil’s iconic Christ the Redeemer from the heights of a helicopter ride. While most tourists take pictures from the foot of this 30-metre statue, those adventurous enough can get close to it like never before.
They’ll take off the helicopter doors so you can drink in 360-degree views of Rio from a new angle – a unique souvenir to share with family and friends. Take a classic ‘shoe-selfie’ for Instagram or get snap happy with the GoPro, taking pictures that trump even those famous Oscar selfies. Post-selfie, relax at Belmond Copacabana Palace. Think old-school opulence with prime position on Copacabana beach
A nine-night tailor-made Classic Brazil itinerary starts from £4,945 including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences.
7 Go oyster picking in Ecuador
Accompanied by an expert chef, head out to a rocky islet where you can pick oysters for lunch. Step out into the sun and salty air when the tide is low to gather oysters from the tide pools and exposed reef. Prize open the oysters with a knife revealing pearlescent beauties.
Then indulge in that straight-from-the-sea flavour, especially vibrant in the first few minutes. There’s no need for Tabasco or sauces. You can taste the full effect of their natural flavour perfectly paired with a crisp chardonnay – the ultimate shoreside dining experience before retiring to Tanusas Retreat & Spa, a stylish coastal hideaway with thatched roofs and a pampering spa.
A ten-night tailormade Discover Ecuador itinerary starts from £3,995 including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences.
8 Take on Tuscany truffle hunt
Gourmands, don’t miss out on this seasonal escape. Rise early to capture idyllic Tuscan scenes from Asciano, a hilltop town famed for its annual white truffle festival. Meet an experienced tartufaio (truffle hunter) and his faithful dogs and let the hunt begin.
Start scouring an exclusive reserve, one of the few areas in the world where you can find this precious tuber. As you wander through the woodland, watch the specially trained hounds use their powerful noses to dig out Italy’s most prized delicacy. Why not finish the hunt with lunch and wine tasting in a picture-perfect spot?
A seven-night ‘discover Florence & Tuscany’s’ food and wine trip from £1,625pp including flights, transfers, accommodation and some experiences.
To find out more or book an experience, please click here.