Natural wonders of the world

This is subscriber only post.
Get one year of online-only access — only $15!
Below is a sample of the article.
Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

In no specific order, following are the places I have visited that I consider to be the greatest of the natural wonders of our world. (The Grand Canyon in Arizona would be on this list, but I’m concentrating on sights covered by ITN, those outside of North America and the Caribbean.)

Several entries from my list of Lesser Known Natural Wonders, listed at the bottom, would be in this category if they were more widely known. I have been to 183 of the 194 countries on the ITN Official List of Nations.

Himalayas, Nepal – This great sight — mountains and mountains — was amplified by a 100-dollar hour-long plane ride along the southern edge. They are the highest and most impressive mountains in the world. (1996)

Iguazú Falls, Brazil and Argentina – Perhaps the greatest waterfall in the world (though Victoria Falls is a close second), it’s actually more of a series of cascades than a Niagara-like waterfall. (1995, 2001)

Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda (aka the Mountains of the Moon) –
They’re arguably the greatest natural wonder in the world, and I climbed them three times, though “trekking” is probably the better word since the only mountain climbing skill required is endurance.

Each trek took six to eight days and carried us through mountain farms, across raging rivers and through the most diverse and exotic vegetation existing on this planet until we reached peaks 19,000 feet high. Imagine, in the middle of Africa a few degrees north of the equator, six glaciers! (1997, 1998, 1999)

Okavango Delta, north-central Botswana – An unknown until recently, the delta is finally receiving the attention it deserves. It’s a vast shallow inland sea filled with islands and the clearest water in the world along with most of the African animals. The night I spent there was shattered with the screams of a porter being dragged by a lion out of his tent. We made a lot of noise and the lion took off. (1973)

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia – This great chasm is truly spectacular. You can walk right out to the falls; there are no barriers. (1972)

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Close to the Kenyan border, this is one of the most impressive sites in the world. I checked it out in 1980 and climbed it in 1988. Less than half of my group made it to the top; it was hard, hard work.

Mt. Fuji, Japan – This is one of the most beautiful sites in the world (and a lot easier to climb). (1974, 1978)

Serengeti and Ngorongoro, Tanzania – Here you have great lush plains and a huge volcanic crater, both filled with the animals of Africa. In one of my trips down into Ngorongoro, a tourist was complaining about not seeing any lions. The guide made a slight turn, and a minute later there were 10 lions — casually ignoring us. (1980, 1987, 1988)

Kruger National Park, South Africa – Of African national parks, this one is the greatest in terms of animals, both in variety and number. (1972)

Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda – On two trips here to see the gorillas, one took 20 minutes to find them and the second, four exhausting hours of tramping through the forest. In either case, they were fun to watch as they ate, passed gas and defecated almost constantly. (1988, 1989)

Milford Sound, New Zealand
You take a tour boat through it — very pleasant (as were the New Zealanders aboard). There were waterfalls all around during my early February visit. (2002)

Norwegian fjords – The mountains are much steeper and higher than those around Milford Sound in New Zealand, and the beer is a LOT more expensive. (1988)

Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan
Everyone knows you can buoyantly float in it, but what they don’t mention is it’s oily, and after a few minutes every sore and orifice burns — not real pleasant. (1964)

And here is my listing of not-to-miss Lesser Known Natural Wonders of our world that I have visited:

    South Georgia Island, Antarctica

    Lake Nahuel Huapi, Argentina

    Moreno Glacier, Argentina

    Torres del Paine, Argentina

    Cape Tribulation, Australia

    The Patanal, Brazil

    Lake Chad, Chad

    Lake District, Chile

    Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

    Canje River, Guyana

    Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

    Batur Crater, Bali, Indonesia

    Kelimutu, Flores, Indonesia

    Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

    Amboseli, Kenya

    Maasai Mara, Kenya

    Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia

    Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Malaysia

    Maldives

    Etosha Pan, Namibia

    Fish River Canyon, Namibia

    Rotorua, New Zealand

    Southern Alps, New Zealand

    Lake Baikal, Russia

    Mount-Aux-Sources (Drakensberg Mountains), South Africa

    Horton Plains, Sri Lanka

    Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

    Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

    Kibale National Park, Uganda

KURT SHAFER
Chatsworth, IL

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.

In no specific order, following are the places I have visited that I consider to be the greatest of the natural wonders of our world. (The Grand Canyon in Arizona would be on this list, but I’m concentrating on sights covered by ITN, those outside of North America and the Caribbean.)

Several entries from my list of Lesser Known Natural Wonders, listed at the bottom, would be in this category if they were more widely known. I have been to 183 of the 194 countries on the ITN Official List of Nations.

Himalayas, Nepal – This great sight — mountains and mountains — was amplified by a 100-dollar hour-long plane ride along the southern edge. They are the highest and most impressive mountains in the world. (1996)

Iguazú Falls, Brazil and Argentina – Perhaps the greatest waterfall in the world (though Victoria Falls is a close second), it’s actually more of a series of cascades than a Niagara-like waterfall. (1995, 2001)

Rwenzori Mountains, Uganda (aka the Mountains of the Moon) –
They’re arguably the greatest natural wonder in the world, and I climbed them three times, though “trekking” is probably the better word since the only mountain climbing skill required is endurance.

Each trek took six to eight days and carried us through mountain farms, across raging rivers and through the most diverse and exotic vegetation existing on this planet until we reached peaks 19,000 feet high. Imagine, in the middle of Africa a few degrees north of the equator, six glaciers! (1997, 1998, 1999)

Okavango Delta, north-central Botswana – An unknown until recently, the delta is finally receiving the attention it deserves. It’s a vast shallow inland sea filled with islands and the clearest water in the world along with most of the African animals. The night I spent there was shattered with the screams of a porter being dragged by a lion out of his tent. We made a lot of noise and the lion took off. (1973)

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia – This great chasm is truly spectacular. You can walk right out to the falls; there are no barriers. (1972)

Mt. Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Close to the Kenyan border, this is one of the most impressive sites in the world. I checked it out in 1980 and climbed it in 1988. Less than half of my group made it to the top; it was hard, hard work.

Mt. Fuji, Japan – This is one of the most beautiful sites in the world (and a lot easier to climb). (1974, 1978)

Serengeti and Ngorongoro, Tanzania – Here you have great lush plains and a huge volcanic crater, both filled with the animals of Africa. In one of my trips down into Ngorongoro, a tourist was complaining about not seeing any lions. The guide made a slight turn, and a minute later there were 10 lions — casually ignoring us. (1980, 1987, 1988)

Kruger National Park, South Africa – Of African national parks, this one is the greatest in terms of animals, both in variety and number. (1972)

Parc National des Volcans, Rwanda – On two trips here to see the gorillas, one took 20 minutes to find them and the second, four exhausting hours of tramping through the forest. In either case, they were fun to watch as they ate, passed gas and defecated almost constantly. (1988, 1989)

Milford Sound, New Zealand
You take a tour boat through it — very pleasant (as were the New Zealanders aboard). There were waterfalls all around during my early February visit. (2002)

Norwegian fjords – The mountains are much steeper and higher than those around Milford Sound in New Zealand, and the beer is a LOT more expensive. (1988)

Dead Sea, Israel and Jordan
Everyone knows you can buoyantly float in it, but what they don’t mention is it’s oily, and after a few minutes every sore and orifice burns — not real pleasant. (1964)

And here is my listing of not-to-miss Lesser Known Natural Wonders of our world that I have visited:

    South Georgia Island, Antarctica

    Lake Nahuel Huapi, Argentina

    Moreno Glacier, Argentina

    Torres del Paine, Argentina

    Cape Tribulation, Australia

    The Patanal, Brazil

    Lake Chad, Chad

    Lake District, Chile

    Simien Mountains, Ethiopia

    Canje River, Guyana

    Kaieteur Falls, Guyana

    Batur Crater, Bali, Indonesia

    Kelimutu, Flores, Indonesia

    Mount Bromo, Java, Indonesia

    Amboseli, Kenya

    Maasai Mara, Kenya

    Kinabatangan, Sabah, Malaysia

    Kinabalu National Park, Sabah, Malaysia

    Maldives

    Etosha Pan, Namibia

    Fish River Canyon, Namibia

    Rotorua, New Zealand

    Southern Alps, New Zealand

    Lake Baikal, Russia

    Mount-Aux-Sources (Drakensberg Mountains), South Africa

    Horton Plains, Sri Lanka

    Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

    Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

    Kibale National Park, Uganda

KURT SHAFER
Chatsworth, IL