Where to Travel in 2024

2024 is all about firsthand encounters with the extraordinary. Here are eight unexpected destinations that have become places we’re lingering a little longer this year—each deeply intertwined with community and nature.

Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Chimpanzee at Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda

Trek to see chimpanzees Rwanda’s Nyungwe National Park. Image by Marcus Westberg

Newly anointed UNESCO World Heritage status—a testament to Rwanda’s commitment to conservation—Nyungwe is one of Africa’s oldest rainforests, renowned for chimpanzee trekking, birding, and hiking. The forest has incredible biodiversity with 1,100 plant species—including wild orchids that paint the forest in technicolor. Thirteen of Africa’s primates call Nyungwe National Park home, and inside the park, you can track chimpanzee and Ruwenzori colobus. It’s a birdwatcher’s paradise with 345 species and high levels of endemism. Immerse yourself deep in the rainforest as you trek the Cyinzobe Trail—a thrilling three-day, 15.5-mile hike revealing breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls and the Kamiranzovu River, ending at the One&Only Nyungwe House, the perfect haven after adventurous days. Munazi, a new lodge by African Parks, is on the horizon.

South Georgia, Antarctica

King penguins, South Georgia

One of the best times to see king penguins is during the mating season on South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic Ocean. Image by Cheryl Ramalho

In the heart of the Southern Ocean, South Georgia Island is home to the world’s largest king penguin colony—a staggering 450,000 pairs. Yet, few people come here to see this avian spectacle; the island is even less visited than the Antarctic continent because it’s only accessible by boat on extended itineraries. Navigate through the labyrinth of glaciers and rugged landscape accompanied by the calls of elephant seals as they slam their bodies against one another in displays of masculinity. Dodge fur seal pups as they wiggle their way across the sand. Known as the gateway to the Antarctic, South Georgia is also the final resting place of Sir Ernest Shackleton. It’s an expedition into the heart of the world nearly untouched.

Siwa Oasis, Egypt

Siwa Oasis, Egypt

Adrère Amellal is a house built of sand in Egypt’s Siwa-Oasis—one of the most extraordinary hotels in the world. Image by Paris Verra

Home to ancient tribes, cerulean salt pools, hot springs, shimmering olive trees, and majestic mountains, Siwa Oasis in Egypt’s western desert is the country’s best-kept secret. The lush haven has an incredible diversity of flora and fauna—including more than 300,000 palms—fed by freshwater springs from the Nubian Aquifer. Wander through the Fortress of Shali, explore the tombs on the Mountain of the Dead, and sit on the edge of the Great Sand Sea at sunset. In the heart of this Egyptian oasis lies a house built of sand, softly lit by beeswax candles and the starry desert sky. Adrère Amellal (Berber for “white mountain”) is one of the world’s most extraordinary hotels, crafted by pioneering Egyptian environmentalist Mounir Neamatalla. Sleep on salt blocks, sip mint tea, and be transported to a bygone era full of mystery.

Lamu, Kenya

Sailing on Lamu Island, Kenya

Sailing on a traditional dhow in Kenya’s Lamu is a quintessential experience on these islands. Image courtesy of Peponi

The Kenyan archipelago of Lamu invites visitors to slow down. Car-free, the labyrinthine alleyways of Lamu Old Town are suited for pedestrians and donkeys. The UNESCO World Heritage site is one of East Africa’s best-preserved Swahili settlements. Adorned with carved wooden doors and vibrant fuchsia bougainvillea, Lamu narrates its history best when guided. On Lamu Island, our go-to is Peponi Hotel—a family-run gem in Shela village with astounding sea views. Stroll the untouched 8.5-mile stretch of white sand skirting the Indian Ocean. Manda Bay Lodge is a remote retreat on the northern tip of Manda Island. Sail majestic wooden dhows on the Swahili coastline—a centuries-old tradition. Revel in the sunset and wait for nightfall to reveal a dazzling bioluminescence show that illuminates the ocean.

Cafayate, Argentina

Cafayate, Argentina

The Rio de Las Conchas meanders through the beautiful landscape of the Quebrada de Cafayate in northwest Argentinian’s Salta province. Image by Pedro via Adobe Stock.

Nestled in the Calchaquí Valley, Cafayate allures with distinctive high-altitude vineyards (one of the highest places in the world suitable for wine) and rugged landscapes, delivering authentic Argentine charm. Just two hours from Salta on a captivating single-lane highway with a backdrop of dramatic red-rock formations, it’s the perfect ending to a northwest Argentinean road trip. This region contributes a modest one per cent to Argentina’s wine production but is renowned for its picturesque vineyards and crisp Torrontés, an indigenous white grape varietal. Explore artisanal markets for culinary delights, ceramics, and textiles, and marvel at the Quebrada de las Conchas, a natural amphitheater. Unwind in the tranquil charm of Grace Cafayate Hotel, with sweeping valley views.

Likoma Island, Malawi

Snorkeling at Likoma Island, Malawi

Lake Malawi’s Likoma Island near Kaya Mawa is the perfect spot for freshwater snorkeling. Image courtesy of Green Safaris

For the free-spirited traveler, Lake Malawi’s Likoma Island beckons. Crystalline waters meet pristine shores with mango-laden trees and abundant fresh fish. Known as the country’s heart and soul, the world’s third-deepest freshwater lake is a magnificent blue, as far as the eye can see. It’s a haven for unique freshwater snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and swimming. Kaya Mawa, the ultimate barefoot eco-lodge by Green Safaris, is committed to preserving the environment with pioneering initiatives. Proudly standing as Malawi’s inaugural solar-powered lodge, the community also runs organic gardens that enrich the culinary experience and nourish locals.

South Luangwa, Zambia

Elephant at Sungani Lodge, Zambia

Take a walk with elephants in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. Image courtesy of Sungani Lodge

Come to South Luangwa for walking safaris—short or long—with outstanding guides to get up close to wildlife in their natural habitat of grassy plains, mesmerizing woodlands, and the Luangwa River. Walking safaris were pioneered by legendary conservationist Norman Carr in Zambia. Intensely beautiful, South Luangwa is home to an incredible density of leopard, plenty of elephant, and large journeys of giraffe. Base yourself at Lion Camp for an authentic safari experience or one of Sungani‘s seven spacious tents for something newer, long-stay-oriented, and remote. Want to spend more than a few hours on foot? Immerse yourself in the unspoiled wilderness on a raw fly-camping experience under a canopy of stars.

Colca Canyon, Peru

Colca Canyon, Peru

There’s nothing quite as staggering as a panoramic view of Peru’s Colca Canyon. Image by Adobe Stock

Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon—spanning nearly 14,000 feet from its highest point to its lowest—southern Peru’s Colca Canyon is a haven for adventure lovers in the heart of the Andes, three hours from Arequipa. Explore the picturesque mountain villages and sweeping grasslands on horseback or foot along an extensive network of trails carved out by the Río Colca. Hike amidst archaeological remains and Incan agricultural terraces in this Andean marvel as you witness the majestic flight of the condors—a bird sacred to the Incas best seen from the Mirador Cruz del Cóndor lookout. Stay at the stylish new Puqio, Peru’s first-ever luxury tented camp inspired by Andean explorers with outdoor tubs, woodburning stoves, and meals cooked in clay pots over open fire. Don’t miss a dip in the nearby hot springs.

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