My top 50

(Updated May 2021)

 

  

  
Africa (10)

  

Ethiopia (my preferred country in Africa) : Dankalia, one of the most inhospitable areas on Earth, with absolutely stunning volcanic sites ; Erta Ale (with its lava lake, 2002 & 2006) and Dallol (2006). Quite different but equally uniquez :Omo valley : one of the most unique places in the world because of the wide variety of its indigenous peoples, espacially the still then (it was more than 30 years ago)  'untouched' Mursi with their lip plate women with lip plateswhen I was there (1988). Ethiopia again for its rich civilization : rock hewn churches, monasteries …, including Lalibela during Timkat (2005).

South Sudan : a unique expedition to meet still 'untouched' by progress and nearly never visited traditional tribes such as the Toposas & the Mundaris (2021).

Namibia (my 2nd best country in Africa) : a very scenic and diverse country : wildlife (Etosha, endangered desert elephants …), people (Himba ethnic group), scenery (some of the world's highest dunes)… (1991).

Botswana : a second & very extensive travel there, outstanding for wildlife (2011).

Niger : all around the Ténéré desert including Aïr & Djado, fascinating oasis, scenery ...  (2002).

Also in Niger, the 'Guerewol' : a stunning courtship ritual competition of the Woodabe Fula (2004).

DRC : a travel all around the eastern part of the country with volcanoes (Nyiragongo), national parks (gorillas, …), tribal life (Pygmies) & trek to Rwenzori (1989).

Southwest of Libya : a stunning part of Sahara (Akakus) with oasis lakes, rock paintings …. (1996).

Chad : also a stunning desert (Ennedi …) (2002).

Mali : a trek in Bandiagara meeting the Dogons (1981).

 

  

  
Americas (5)

 

Across USA & Canada from Boston to Fairbanks (Alaska) thru Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchevan, Alberta, Yukon (Alaska Highway), then back across British Colombia & the USA, my second long road expedition (1975)

Peru : Los Cedros trek in Cordiliera Blanca (North side) (2013) and Cordiliera Blanca (South side) & Cordillera Huayhuash treks (2012).

Peru ; the Quyllur Rit'i, the largest pilgrimage in Latin America (a mi inca, mi christian pilgrimage up to a sanctuary & a glacier) (2017). 

In Colombia (one of my favorite countries in South America where I went 4 times), the southern half of the country and the northern half (2010 & 2012) & a hike to the FARC stronghold (2021).

In Bolivia (which I visited twice), the Oruro carnival (2003).

  

   

   
Asia (16)

  

Papua (former Irian Jaya Province) (Indonesia) : trek in the Baliem Valley (meeting the Dani tribe, known as 'Stone Age' people, discovered only in 1938, where men wear only a penis gourd, still unchanged when I went there about 50 years ago) (1976).

Papua (former Irian Jaya Province) (Indonesia) : trek in the Southeast forest, meeting the Korowaï tribe, discovered only in 1974, whose dwellings are built on top of the trees (2002).

In the Himalayas (India), trek thru Zanskar to Ladakh (Pensi La, Padum, Karsha, Lingshed to Lamayuru), the year Zanskar was officially open to foreigners (1978).
In the Himalayas (India), 'Chadar' trek in winter : walking on partly frozen Zanskar River from Ladakh to Zanskar (2004).

Japan (my top country in Asia where I went 5 times) : several 'matsuris' (traditional festivals) in summer (2008).

In Mongolia (one of my favorite country in Asia where I went 3 times), a trek to discover the Tsaatan, nomadic people in the taïga (west of Khövsgöl lake), an endangered ethnic group (only 300 of them remain) (2007).

Bhutan : a very well preserved country where I went for the first time in 1987 ; I completed the famous 'Snowman Trek', considered as one of the most difficult trek in the world. Absolutely stunning landscapes & people (2015).

Tibet : 2nd extensive travel there from Lhasa to Western Tibet including Mt Kailash 'khora' (trek around this Tibetan sacred mountain) (2002).

China (Inner Mongolia) : trek across Badain Jaran desert (Mongolian name for 'Mystery Lakes'), a dramatic desert with fabulous lakes (2013).

Pakistan & China : K2 base camp treks (Pakistan : south side, 2017 ; Xinjiang : north side, 2016).

Nepal : trek to the remote and still traditional (when I was there) kingdom of Mustang, which was opened to tourism only in 1992 (1993).

Nepal : trek to Everest base camp via Gokyo lakes & to Island Peak base camp, one of my best treks in Nepal for landscapes (2006). By chartered helicopter in 2014, I saw from the air this region (and also Manaslu & Annapurna regions) (fabulous flights !).

Nepal : Lower & Upper Dolpo trek (2005).

Nepal : Makalu base camp trek (2009).

Nepal : Manaslu base camp & around Annapurna trek (2010).

Nepal & Sikkim : Kanchenjunga base camps NorthSouth & East treks (2012 & 2007).

Vietnam : an extensive travel among North Vietnam minorities (2008).

 

  

  
Antarctica, Sub-Antarctic Islands & Mid-Atlantic Islands (4)

   

West Antarctica (inland : Ellsworth Mountains) & Geographic South Pole (2012).

Subantarctic Islands : South Georgia, South Sandwich Islands & Weddell Sea (2004) (aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov).

Antarctic Peninsula, Peter I Island, Ross Sea & Campbell Island (2003) (aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov).

TAAF (Terres Australes & Antarctiques Françaises) : Kerguelen, Crozet, St Paul & Amsterdam ( (2003) (aboard Marion Dufresne).

 

  

  
Arctic (6)

    

In Russia (Yamal Peninsula, near Arctic Ocean), I had a fantastic experience : I spent one week in a Nenets camp & participated in their transhumance (Nenets are nomadic reindeer herders) (2008).

Geographic North Pole & Franz Josef Land (Russia) (2004) (aboard the nuclear icebreaker Yamal).

Around Eastern Siberia & first part of Northeast Passage (from Anadyr : Chukotka, Bering Strait & Wrangel Island), followed by the Northwest Passage up to Resolute (Bering Strait, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut)  (2005) (aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov).

Canadian Arctic (Ellesmere Island …) & North Greenland, from Resolute (Nunavut) up to the Arctic Ocean (2003) (aboard the icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov).

In Canada, prime viewing of lots of polar bears when they begin their move from their summer habitat on the tundra back to seal-hunting territory at Churchill (2008).

In Canada, along the only-winter Dempster Highway, from Yukon thru Northwest Territories up to Inuvik, on the Arctic Ocean (2013).

  

  

  
Atlantic Ocean (2)

   

Ascension Island & St Helena (full week there) (2005) (aboard M/S Helena, last working Royal Mail Ship in the world, out of service now) (and again in 2015).

All Iceland (2009).

  

   

   
Indian Ocean (1)

  

Iles Eparses (difficult to reach & extremely seldom seen uninhabited French islands : Europa, Juan de Nova, Glorieuse, Tromelin) (2009) (aboard Marion Dufresne).

 

   

    
Pacific Ocean (6)

 

Papua Niugini : the Highlands & their primitive tribes, the Sing Sing (huge annual gathering of tribes), Trobriand Islands, New Britain, New Ireland and an outstanding experience down the Sepik River on a dugout canoe (1982).

Across South Pacific : From French Polynesia to Pitcairn Island (remotest inhabited place on Earth where the Bounty mutineers took refuge), Henderson Island, Ducie and Easter Island (2006) (aboard The World, an amazing experience).

The Galapagos (2003).

Hawaii Islands (twice) especially the volcanic sites (Halema' Uma lava lake, lava flows in the ocean …) (2013).

Vanuatu ; especially volcanoes (Benbow, Yasur …) & ethnic groups (Nambas) (2002).

French Polynesia : Tuamotu Islands & Marquesas Islands (2006) (aboard Aranui 3).

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