Life willinevitably turn dull and tedious once welose the ability to wonder. However, with such a load of beauty in the world,this scenario is, luckily, a no-go. Havea look at some of the lesser known natural wonders and let yourself be floodedwith awe.
Deadvlei, Namib-Naukluft Park, Namibia
Withskeletons of camel thorn trees pricking out of the cracked salt pan andenormous fiery dunes around, Deadvlei combinesapocalyptic images with incredible natural energy. And it is this contrast thatmakes droves of photographers willing to risk the toilsomejourney in order to capture a piece of a dried up land.
Great Blue Hole, Lighthouse Reef, Belize
Arounda quarter of a mile (400m) wide, 480feet (145 m) deep, and peeping from the Caribbean Sea like a giant eye, the mesmerizing Great Blue Holeis by far the most unusual dive site in the world. Briskly shoals of fish, enormousturtles and reef sharks regularly keep scuba divers company.
Erg Chebbi, Merzouga, Morocco
The hypnotizingsand heaps of Erg Chebbi, near a small village of Merzouga, altogether span anarea of 22 kilometers and host a number of activities for adventure seekingtravelers. Take a walk along the ridge, traverse the fiercely orange sands on acamel’s back, slide down the 150 m high dunes, spend the night by the camp fireand let the morning greet you with the magic of a sunrise.
Lake Tekapo, South Island, New Zealand
Halfwaybetween Christchurch and Queensland, at the foot of the Southern Alps, therestretches a lake with an unearthly shade of blue and a population of lupinsthat covers its shore with a thick carpet of white, pink and purple. There are severalresort hotels at the lake’s southern end, but otherwise, the area ispristine, solitary and amazingly beautiful.
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Hunan Province, China
Zhangjiajie National Forest Park isthe highlight of Wulingyuan Scenic Area in northern Hunan Province. Some 3,000 slim karst pillars shoot towards the sky and hide a wealth of ravines, gorges,pools and waterfalls between their slender, sandstone bodies. To give you a hint of what impression it all makes,one of the pillars, the 3,544-foot (1,080 m) Southern Sky Column, has beenrenamed “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” as the park officials believe thelandscape inspired the floating mountains featured in Cameron’s movie.
Nā Pali Coast State Park, Kauaʻi, Hawaii
There’s no need tointroduce Hawaii to anyone and extoll its extraordinary beauty, but Nā Pali Coast on the northwest side of Kauaʻi island does deserve a separatemention. Ripped by enormous cliff formations and inaccessible to vehicles, the park is ahaven for hikers, with trails running all along the rugged grandeur, right nextto the edge of the cliffs. Special permits for hiking and camping are required,so make sure you plan ahead.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Patagoniais frequently mentioned among the world’s most magical spots and watching thebreathtaking ice theater of Los Glaciares National Park,one can hardly wonder why. With a 5 km long front line and a height of over 70meters above the level of the water, Perito Moreno allows for a unique trekkingexperience. Besides that, numerous wooden walkways give a clear overhead viewof the bluish ice masses advancing over Lago Argentino.
Derweze gas crater, Derweze, Turkmenistan
The flamingcavern, dubbed „the Door to Hell” by the locals, is a natural wonder exposed tothe world thanks to a little help of a human hand. When Soviet geologists weredrilling for natural gas in 1971, the ground beneath the rig collapsed, leavinga huge gap filled with combustible fumes that the drillers simply decided toburn preventively. Nobody expected, however, that what was supposed to be aslightly bigger bonfire, would become an eternal flame that is still burning today.
Blue Lagoon, Grindavík, Iceland
“Energy for life through forces of nature” – sogoes the motto found on Blue Lagoon’s website. However, Iceland’s mostpopular geothermal spa will not only energize your body with steaming watersand silica mud, but also soothe your soul with unobstructed views acrossthe lava fields. Set in the pure heart of the unique Icelandic landscape andtapping into its natural potential, the Blue Lagoon makes for a truly amazingspa experience, even for those who normally tend to avoid this sort ofpampering.
Fly Geyser, Washoe County, Nevada, USA
Thisalien-looking mound is not entirely a natural phenomenon, but rather a resultof human interference with the geothermal potential of Mother Earth. At the beginning of the 20thcentury, a test well was drilled at the site, but nobody predicted that theheated water would not stay confined forlong. Several decades later, it began escaping to the surface, leaving a coatof dissolved minerals, which have accumulated over time and formed a bizarrecreation that’s still expanding.
Champagne Pool, Waiotapu, North Island, New Zealand
Somesay it’s the most fascinating attraction of New Zealand, and bearing in mindthan the remote island country is perhaps the most fascinating place on Earth,the expectations for the Champagne Pool run really high. And chancesare this multicolored pond of bubbling CO2 will indeed leave youagape at its surreal appearance.
Chocolate Hills, Bohol Province, Philippines
Chocolateand hiking – two great pleasures combined. And even when you discover that thechocolate thing is just a sweet comparison based on color resemblance, you’ll love the place all the same. The 1200+hills are very uniform in shape, mostly between 30 and 50 meters high, and coveredwith grass, which turns chocolate brown at the end of the dry season. Not a fanof cocoa? Some compare the hills to women’s breasts, and there are several other associations possible, so rest assured thatnobody will be left with the imagination unfueled.
Lagoona Colorada, Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, Bolivia
There’sno way not to look at this place through rose-tinted spectacles! Hundreds ofpinkish Puna Flamingos wade in the reddish, deep blue, white and yellow waters ofLaguna Colorada (owing the color to the pigmentation of some algae, borax andsulfur sediments), which all makes the reason for its name immediatelyapparent and truly an unforgettable visual treat.
Blyde River Canyon, Mpumalanga, South Africa
The 20-mile (33 km) long gorge issaid to be the world’s third largest canyon, but it definitely holds thelaurels for landscape variety and accessibility. A very good touristinfrastructure in the region makes the 25000 hectares of lush hills, sharp riverbends and enormous potholes a surprisingly hiker friendly and inviting territory.