Adventure travel is a growth market increasingly capturing the imaginations of those once considered to be winding down, too busy to escape or too nervy. But inspiring voyages of discovery among the new wanderlust crowd is the theme of the inaugural Beyond Steppes Travel Festival, which is bringing a weekend (September 17-18) of talks and events with the world’s most intrepid explorers, experts and conservationists to London’s Royal Geographical Society.
The 16 high-profile speakers will include Ranulph Fiennes (second picture), dubbed “the world’s greatest living explorer”; Edurne Pasaban, the first woman to reach all 14 of the 8,000m summits in the world; Alastair Humphreys, National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year; and “Bird in a Biplane” Tracey Curtis-Taylor (third picture), a modern-day Amelia Earhart who undertakes global flights in vintage aircraft.
Saturday’s theme will be Conservation and Wildlife, with highlights including talks by freediver Hanli Prinsloo (first picture); outspoken conservationist Chris Packham; and wildlife photographer, author and TV presenter Jonathan Scott.
Beyond the Ordinary will be the theme on the Sunday, with Fiennes headlining an afternoon of talks taking place alongside a seminar by travel author Eric Broug – plus there will be photography masterclasses, art exhibitions, travel clinics and documentary screenings. Works by wildlife sculptor Hamish Mackie, who will be sculpting at the exhibition, will be on sale, along with underwater photography by Peter Marshall, co-founder of ocean conservation trust I Am Water.
These prestigious names will be appearing for worthy causes – 100 per cent of profits will be shared among the Beyond Steppes Travel Festival charitable partners, including Tusk Trust, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, WildCRU, I am Water, Restless Development and Galapagos Conservation Trust. Tickets for the event cost £50 per day.