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Exhibitors in Focus: Wild Frontiers

How did your company start out?

In 1996 travel writer Jonny Bealby set out across India and the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province to follow in the footsteps of his two heroes from English literature, Peachy Carnehan and Daniel Dravot, from Kipling's classic tale, The Man Who Would Be King.

Travelling on foot, on an often gruelling and dangerous journey, he became captivated by a land of harsh natural beauty, political intrigues and a diverse and fascinating population. And when he finally emerged from Afghanistan back into Pakistan, what amazed Jonny was the near total lack of tourism to what was a relatively accessible region. The following year he returned to Northern Pakistan and swapped his travel-writing hat for that of a tour operator.

Running WF as a tiny sole trader business, Jonny advertised for groups and between 1999 and early autumn 2001 took a growing number of ever-appreciative clients to what had become a second home. Taking all that he’d learned from running trips to Pakistan, and all that he knew of the other locations from his writing assignments in Africa and Central Asia, he developed a business plan and in 2002 turned Wild Frontiers into a private limited company. At once he set about recruiting like-minded guides and office staff who shared his passion for the remote corners of the world and a short time later the company took off.

Whilst maintaining the same sympathetic approach to the people we visit and the regions through which we travel, Wild Frontiers now takes travellers to over 55 countries on five continents. Using passionate and knowledgeable guides, as well as dedicated and experienced office staff, we are able to provide unique and original itineraries that allow our clients to take a journey beneath the surface of the region and into those special and secret places we all love to discover.

Today Wild Frontiers operates from an office in Barnes, West London, where we have a dedicated team – all with a wealth of knowledge about our destinations. While expanding steadily Wild Frontiers maintains the same personal, flexible and deeply knowledgeable service that served us so well in Northern Pakistan.

 

What tours do you offer?

We offer both group tours and tailor-made holidays in some of the world’s most adventurous destinations, including Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan as well as countries such as India, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan.
 

What makes your company unique?

Our itineraries are created by experts who know our regions intimately, offering a true insight into the culture and authentic local interaction. Our small group sizes and network of friends in the destinations we visit mean our travellers enjoy unique and special experiences, such as finding themselves having lunch with shepherds in Kyrgyzstan.

Our expert tour leaders are given the freedom to improvise where necessary to allow for those unplanned moments which make a holiday so memorable, such as being invited to a wedding in India or sharing picnics with locals in Iran. Our small group sizes (a maximum of 12 travellers in most instances) also enable groups to get off the beaten track easily and we choose our transportation carefully, using vehicles such as 4x4s to navigate mountain passes.

Sustainable travel is also in our ethos; we use small guesthouses and homestays, eat in local restaurants and have set up our own charitable body, the Wild Frontiers Foundation (http://wildfrontiersfoundation.org/). All of these reasons and more led to use being named 'Best Ethical Tour Operator' in The Guardian/Observer Travel Awards 2012.

 

What new countries and itineraries will you be offering in 2016?
Our new group tours in 2016 will offer itineraries in a variety of destinations including Madagascar, Venezuela and Mexico, as well as some alternative routes through some of our most popular countries. Other new destinations include Bosnia, Serbia and a journey through Argentina and Chile, including impressive Easter Island. We will also be launching a 7.5 week Great Silk Road Overland trip from Beijing to Istanbul, perfect for anyone who’d like an in-depth and comprehensive journey along the ancient Silk Road.

On the tailor-made side we will also soon offer holidays in Antarctica and the Arctic Circle.

Recommend an incredible place to stay

Eagle’s Nest in the Hunza Valley, Northern Pakistan is located 3000m above sea level and 500m above the valley floor below. As the name suggests, it’s perched on a cliff face overlooking one of the most spectacular views in the world.

Traditionally decorated with wood and stone, the hotel meets modern standards. The restaurant serves meals prepared with fresh local ingredients and all water is from a fresh spring and safe to drink. Treks in the area are varied and all have magnificent views, and a visit to the Ultar glacier is certainly a highlight. From a view point just above the hotel you can see six 7000 metre peaks!

Meet the team from Wild Frontiers for even more inspiration and to book your next adventure at Destinations: The Holiday & Travel Show, you'll find them on stand AP164!