After one of the busiest starts to the year we’ve ever had at Wild Frontiers, we thought we’d pause for breath and share which countries are hot right now. Star of the show is undoubtedly Algeria, which we’ve been offering tours to for over 15 years and we are delighted to see it is finally getting the attention it deserves. Lebanon is also proving a hit with travellers in the Middle East and Sri Lanka is offering some of the best community-led experiences anywhere at the moment. Read on to find out more about why you should consider these countries and more in 2023.
We’ve been banging the drum for Algeria for over 15 years now, and just like with Georgia and Pakistan before it, we are delighted the rest of the world has finally caught up! Encouraging travellers to consider unfashionable destinations and help local communities is central to our ethos, but we also love it when a country has its moment in the sun, especially when it has been through a tough time.
And there can be no doubting that Algeria has been through a tough time recently. A brutal 10-year civil war in the 90’s was followed by a period of reconciliation in the 2000’s, before chaos returned with the Arab Spring. However, in 2019, a peaceful revolution known as the ‘Revolution of Smiles’ removed longstanding President Bouteflika, and current President Tebbouene was elected with 58% of the vote. Tebbouene introduced a new constitution aimed at reducing corruption and ensuring citizens’ rights, and ushered in a period of calm that the country is currently enjoying.
Visitors are starting to rediscover the delights of Algeria: wander through some of north Africa’s most impressive Roman ruins at Djemila and Tipiza; explore the whitewashed French architecture of Oran where Camus based The Stranger; soak up the atmosphere in the narrow alleyways and busy markets of Algiers’ Casbah and take in the oasis towns, abandoned villages and stunning desert scenery of the Western Sahara.
Lebanon is another country that has been through a lot recently. Already struggling to cope with the number of refugees from Palestine and Syria owing to recent conflicts, the country was then beset by a huge explosion in the city docks, corruption at the heart of government and energy crises which at one point threatened to paralyse the country. Yet the Lebanese are nothing if not resilient, and it’s one of our favourite destinations in the Middle East. Wild Frontiers’ sales expert Kenny travelled there in late 2022 and was determined that we should all do what we can to help this country back on its feet - starting by visiting. Discover Beirut’s fabulous nightlife and food scene, walk in the cedar forests of Chouff and explore the magnificent temple of Bacchus at Baalbeck - one of the Middle East’s finest Roman sites - with few other tourists to contend with.
Staying in the Middle East, Oman’s vast deserts, picturesque wadis, rugged coastline and ancient forts are attracting visitors seeking a quiet, cultural escape. Perfect for escaping what has seemed a never-ending winter, Oman has prove a huge hit so far in 2023. Find out what all the fuss is about with our popular group tour Oman Desert Adventure or one of our tailor-made trips.
Sri Lanka offers a huge amount to all types of travellers, whether that be an exciting family holiday, a solo adventure on our group tour or a romantic trip for two. Its charms have been known for some time, with Marco Polo declaring it the finest island in the world, yet it still offers many off the beaten track adventures, and we have worked hard to find a huge array of community-based experiences: stay with a local family in Kandy; learn about the world’s first Analogue Forest and take part in organic farming; and cycle around Anuradhapura as well as enjoying more well-known experiences such as climbing Lion Rock and visiting a tea plantation.