Whether you are seeking a gap year destination or something off the beaten path, here are 12 natural wonders you must see before you die.
When we speak of wonders of the world, one’s mind travels to the Taj, or the Pyramid of Giza. These are man-made wonders; glorious and definitely must-see, but the natural world holds greater wonders than man will ever be able to create. Here are 12 such natural wonders you absolutely, simply must see before you pass on.
Aurora is a brilliant, natural display of colored lights that are created when electrically charged particles collide in the ionosphere, directed by the Earth’s magnetic field. This effect is called Aurora Borealis in the northern latitudes and as Aurora Australis in southern latitudes. These lights were named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora. You can see these lights from high locations in Alaska, Sweden, Antarctica and south of Madagascar and north of Australia.
The Aldabra coral atoll is the second largest in the world, situated in the Aldabra Group of islands that’s part of the Seychelles on the Indian Ocean. This beautiful coral atoll is a designated a World Heritage Site and is preserved for its beauty and amazing animals, such as the Aldabra Giant Tortoise. The world’s largest land crab, the Coconut Crab also lives there, apart from manta rays, hammerhead sharks, green turtles, hawksbill turtles and barracuda.
3. Great Migration In Serengeti
If you’re in Africa in February, visit the Ngorongoro area of southern Serengeti of Tanzania to watch a stampeding procession of 500,000 zebra, followed by 1.8 million wildebeest, followed by 100,000 plains game. This major stampede goes on for hours, raising huge dust clouds and creating enough noise to kill your eardrums.
4. Dead Sea
The Dead Sea is actually a salt lake bordered by Jordan and Israel, whose waters are 8.6 times saltier than the ocean. The mineral-rich mud from the Dead Sea can cure anything from skin diseases to osteoarthritis. The salinity discourages pollens, bacteria and allergens from growing. It also makes the water buoyant, so you can float in the middle of the sea without drowning.
5. Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, USA has an area of 3,468.4 square miles, comprising diverse wildlife, multiple ecosystems, natural geysers, rivers, subalpine forestry, mountain ranges, canyons, lakes and even active volcanoes. There’s also a large herd of bison here. Whether you’re a casual traveler, adventurer or nature lover, this magnificent park is a must-visit.
6. Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, North-east Australia is the world’s largest coral reef system. It contains 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, built entirely by coral polyps. The Reef supports a wide diversity of life, both on sea and land. Tourists flock to the Reef every year just to observe the magnificent reefs and the teeming life here, something you shouldn’t miss.
7. Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed a few million years ago. This 2,000 feet deep, 100 square miles large crater is home to 25,000 different animals, except impalas, giraffes and crocodiles. There are plenty of rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants and buffalos to satisfy the wild animal lover in you.
8. Puerto Princesa Underground River Park
The 8.2 kilometer Puerto Princesa Underground River Park in the Philippines flows under a limestone karst mountain. The river winds through huge cave chambers that have intriguing stalactite and stalagmite formations. This is the longest navigable underground river in the world, attracting 1000’s of tourists every year.
9. Eisriesenwelt Caves
The Eisriesenwelt Caves in Austria is the largest ice cave in the world. About 200,000 tourists visit this place to see the mind-blowingly beautiful, huge giant ice sculptures that are everywhere. There’s 25 meter high Great Ice Embankment, and a giant ice structure resembling a human and much, much more.
10. Azure Window
The Azure Window is the name given to a natural stone arch overlooking the sea of Gozo, formed when two limestone caves collapsed many years ago. The 22.54-meter high arch has been filmed for many movies. People flock to see the natural stone arch, the magnificent views, and experience cliff diving from the top of the arch, scuba dive and boat on the waters.
11. Great Blue Hole
This is a huge circular submarine sinkhole, 407 feet deep and 984 feet wide. The Great Blue Hole contains several kinds of sharks such as nurse sharks, the Caribbean reef shark, the bull shark, the Blacktip shark, and hammerhead sharks and so on. Risk-taking scuba divers love to dive among the sharks; with the fabulous visibility, this is a great place to do some shark filming.
12. Arenal Volcano National Park
The Arenal Volcano National Park is where you head to if you want to observe a huge active volcano at close range. The park contains multiple volcanoes, some of them with blue lagoons in them. Lovers of volcanic lava formations and landscapes visit here in droves.