5 Top Adventure Tour Companies

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Now is the time to plan your summer and, especially, your spring adventures. Whether you want to track lions, giraffes, and wildebeest in Botswana, trek through the jungles of Costa Rica, raft rivers in Alaska, or travel to the temples of Thailand, there’s a tour company that can take you. Adventures are easier when the outfitters take care of transportation, lodging, and food. Importantly, the outfitters add an extra element of safety. The company’s guides know the region. They can navigate the class III-IV rapids, know where to look for lion in the bush, and can take you to scenic hiking spots in China.

These five adventure travel companies offer an array of memorable trips. Each outfitter also features trips geared to families.

Mombo Lions© Candyce H. Stapen Photography

Wilderness Safaris, which has been offering guided safaris since 1983, operates 50 lodges in Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Because most of the lodges are on private concessions, Wilderness’ guides can track animals off-road and take you on night drives in hopes of spotting leopard and lions hunting. Since the lodges are relatively small, you see few other vehicles on outings, allowing you to appreciate the vastness of the bush as well as the wildebeest, zebras, giraffe, elephants, and other animals. Wilderness Safaris offers pre-arranged tours as well as custom safaris. Pick your dates, your destinations and your camps from basic but comfortable adventure camps to classic luxury tented camps or even more luxurious premier camps.

Butterfield & Robinson has offered luxury walking and bicycling for nearly 50 years. To these, B&R has added multi-active trips (walk, bike, raft, and elephant ride in Thailand, for example), wildlife journeys, as well as food and wine trips curated by Saveur, the gastronomic magazine, and B&R staff. The 2016 Saveur trips feature culinary adventures and hands-on cooking in Provence, France; Florence and Tuscany, Italy; as well as Marrakech, Morocco. Among B&R’s many destinations are Greece, Holland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Argentina, and Ecuador.

O.A.R.S. has offered river trips for more than 45-years. The company maintains guide-to-guest ratios of one-to-four and employs experienced river specialists. You can opt for whitewater trips in remote areas in Alaska, ride the wild water through the Grand Canyon, or pick tamer trips such as Oregon’s Rogue River, a journey that mixes whitewater with scenic stretches. The company partners with outfitters for international trips that include rafting the Zambezi in Zambia, paddling in Guatemala and kayaking, fishing and horseback riding in British Columbia, Canada.

Sierra Club Outings takes adventurers, whether never-evers or experienced outdoors people, on trips in the US as well as in Central America, Canada, Asia, and Africa. Sierra Club’s trips are especially good choices for those who want to learn an outdoor skill, especially while exploring the US Naturalist guides help participants get comfortable with the wilderness. Options include beginning backpacking in California’s Yosemite, hiking with llamas in Wyoming or canoeing the Suwannee River in Georgia and Florida. A trek through Costa Rica’s rainforests, walks through England’s countryside and tours, snorkeling and kayaking in Vietnam are some of the international trips. In general, the Sierra Club trips tend to be moderately priced.

china© Candyce H. Stapen Photography


Asia Transpacific Journeys specializes in small group trips—no more than 18 people—as well as custom journeys to Asia. Among the countries visited are China, Vietnam, Fiji, Cambodia, and Thailand. On the tours you see the main attractions and also enjoy special outings. China trips may include tickets to an acrobatic show and the Beijing Opera as well as a private performance of classical music on traditional Chinese instruments.