Travel insights from Jenna Buege, contributing editor of The Compass

Indulge in a Unique Experience with These Exotic Guided Tours

These seven exotic guided tours are celebrating the weird and the wonderful. From big cats and rhinos in East Africa to little green men in England, these tours are sure to satisfy every traveler’s wanderlust.

The Plains of Africa

Fun fact, the word “safari” means journey in Swahili. This begs the question, is there really a better way to get your adventure on than with a journey to the heart of Kenya for a magical safari experience? I think not. Luckily, Explorations by Collette offers The Plains of Africa, a guided tour where travelers will voyage on a 14-day experience jam-packed with incredible wildlife sightings, culinary delights, and African folklore and traditions. One highlight of this trip that past travelers can’t stop raving about is an overnight stay at the Sarova Shaba Lodge located in the Shaba National Reserve. The lodge is described as a natural oasis where travelers can walk among a mini forest of indigenous trees, watching for colorful fish in the on-site fish pond and soaking in a large free-form swimming pool.

City to Surf in Byron Bay

Take a trip to the Land Down Under and learn to hang ten with the exciting City to Surf guided tour hosted by Contiki. During this six-day adventure, travelers will explore the east coast of Australia’s best beaches and lights as they voyage from sunny Sydney to laidback Byron Bay. Favorite trip moments include watching the sunset in Sydney Harbour, relaxing at Bondi Beach and group BBQ sessions complete with fresh seafood and steak. Of course, this tour wouldn’t be named City to Surf without the opportunity for travelers to get their feet wet. Groups can attend surf lessons, rent kayaks and even ride jet skis.

Hobbiton Tours

Fantasy nerds unite; Hobbiton Tours will make all your wildest Lord of the Rings dreams come true with a journey to Middle-earth (aka New Zealand). Seeing as over 150 filming locations there were used to bring the magical LOTR story to life, Hobbiton Tours offers a variety of tours for travelers to pick from. One of the company’s most popular choices is the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour where visitors will step foot into the lush pastures of the Shire and marvel at the intricate details of the films’ awe-inspiring set. Those looking to spend a little extra time exploring Hobbit holes can opt for a tour and meal option where they will enjoy a delightful lunch buffet in the Party Marquee.

Galapagos Island Cruises

Giant turtles, spiky marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies await on this exciting adventure to the Galapagos Islands with Intrepid Travel. And that’s not all for exotic wildlife species, nope, travelers will also say hello to curious penguins and lazy sea lions on this unique cruise experience. Travelers can choose a tour lasting anywhere from seven to 17 days where they can expect to visit natural gems such as Devil’s Crown, Isla Genovesa, Isla Isabela and the Charles Darwin Research Station on Isla Santa Cruz.

England Crop Circle Tour

The truth is out there, or at the very least England is a hub for bizarre activity. In fact, England’s high-strangeness is so intriguing that there’s an entire tour dedicated to chasing mysterious balls of light, observing massive crop circles and pondering the enigma that is Stonehenge.  Dr. Hein’s Crop Circle Tours immerse travelers in magical situations as they walk the world’s oldest road, fly over crop circles in a small plane, visit the mythical Merlin’s Mound and practice their dowsing rod skills near sacred ley lines. Each tour is seven days long and travelers can expect first-class accommodations, stops at historic restaurants and traditional English pubs and even group afternoon tea.

Bollywood Tours in India       

Do you love the colorful flair of Bollywood? Then you won’t want to miss visiting various sets and filming locations with Mumbai’s Bollywood Tours for the chance to see the city as you never have before. Travelers can choose from a variety of Bollywood themed tours including the Bollywood & Night Life Tour, the Bollywood and City Tours, the Bollywood and Slum Tour and the Full Day Bollywood Tour. One of the company’s most popular tours is the Full Day Bollywood Tour where groups travel to live shooting sites, explore a Bollywood museum, watch live dance numbers and learn about the voice dubbing process. As if that wasn’t enough excitement for one day, the Full Day Bollywood Tour also comes with a complimentary lunch and bus drive past the homes of famous Bollywood stars.

The Voodoo Trail

Looking for an authentic cultural experience like none other? G Adventures’ 16 day Voodoo Trail tour might fit the bill. The Voodoo Trail takes travelers off the beaten path as they jaunt across foothills, forests and villages to gain insight into the origins of Africa’s mystical animist religions. Each tour group is led by an expert guide as travelers make their way from African coastal city Lomé to capital city Ouagadougou. Along the way group members will see unique wildlife like hippos on a boat ride on Lake Tengrela, visit the Loropeni ruins, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and meet traditional healers and voodoo practitioners.

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