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Special Events

Imagine discussing wildlife conservation issues with world-renowned researchers in Africa’s game reserves, joining the world’s leading archaeologists for special access to the world of the Maya, traveling with award-winning writers in Alaska, or watching an eclipse in a remote corner of the planet with top astronomers—these are some of the unique experiences offered by our Special Events program. These symposiums and specially themed journeys, each featuring a team of eminent guest experts, are our unique way of bringing you an insider’s view, and you can only find it with Wilderness Travel. Our list of past luminaries is long and has included Jane Goodall, Sir Edmund Hillary, Mary Leakey, wildlife biologist George Schaller, author Barry Lopez, astronomer Alex Filippenko, mountaineers Reinhold Messner and Conrad Anker, and adventurer Thor Heyerdahl. Read about our upcoming Special Events below, and scroll down for a look at some of our past programs!

antarctica south georgia penguins mountains

Total Solar Eclipse of 2021: Antarctica and South Georgia

November 22-December 12, 2021

Expedition Cruise Program aboard the Seaventure
with Special Guests Alex Filippenko, PhD, Tim Jarvis, and Conrad Anker

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Join us for an absolutely spectacular experience—seeing a total solar eclipse on an expedition cruise to South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninsula, in the company of a team of expert naturalists and world-renowned Guest Speakers. We travel aboard the Seaventure, which provides the flexibility to maneuver to the ideal viewing position on Eclipse Day.

Our Guest Experts

Alex Filippenko, PhD, is the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at UC Berkeley. An extraordinary astronomer and educator, Dr. Filippenko has been voted “Best Professor” at UC Berkeley a record nine times. As of 2019, he has seen 17 eclipses, 12 of them with Wilderness Travel. Tim Jarvis, environmental scientist and adventurer, recreated Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 800-mile survival journey in a replica of Shackleton’s 25-foot open lifeboat—including crossing South Georgia’s treacherous crevassed glaciers—all using rudimentary period clothing and equipment. His adventure is chronicled in Chasing Shackleton, and a PBS documentary. Tim is the Australia World Wildlife Fund Global Ambassador. Conrad Anker, an acclaimed mountaineer, recently climbed Ulvetanna in Queen Maud Land, adding to his Antarctic summits. Among his Himalayan expeditions are three Everest climbs, including one on which he discovered the body of legendary explorer George Mallory. See the Leaders tab for complete biographical information.

alaska cruise humpback whales jump

Alaska's Glacier Bay: Wilderness and Wildlife of the Inside Passage

August 21-28, 2022

Expedition Cruise aboard the Wilderness Explorer
with award-winning nature writers Kim Heacox and Debbie Miller

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Glacier Bay’s magnificent blue-white glaciers, stunning fjords, and the temperate rainforests that flank the wildlife-rich waterways of the Inside Passage are the extraordinary settings for our Special Event. We'll journey with award-winning authors Kim Heacox and Debbie Miller aboard the comfortable 74-guest Wilderness Explorer, with hiking, whale watching, sea kayaking, and exploring by skiff all along the way. Our adventures are enriched by unforgettable presentations and daily informal interactions with our Guest Speakers. Their insights into the human relationship with the natural world bring an even greater depth to our experience as we explore one of the most staggeringly beautiful landscapes in North America.

egypt giza pyramids camel

Wonders of Ancient Egypt Symposium

December 3-14, 2022

An Archaeology Exploration from Giza to Luxor

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In Egypt, the ancient land synonymous with the very concept of archaeology, new discoveries continue to emerge from the sands. To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Howard Carter’s discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum, and these remarkable new finds, Wilderness Travel is bringing together the world’s leading Egyptologists to share the Wonders of Ancient Egypt. Our fascinating 12-day traveling symposium brings us from the Great Pyramids of Giza to Luxor, where we explore the famed West Bank of the Nile in depth. Along the way, we anticipate special “behind the scenes” access to some of the exciting new discoveries not open to the public, such as the Village of the Pyramid Builders at Giza, Wahti's Tomb at Saqqara, and the “Lost Golden City of Luxor.” As we travel and explore, our symposium group—just 58 participants—has the extraordinary opportunity to enjoy a rare “insider’s” look at one of the world’s most astounding civilizations.

Our Guest Experts

Dr. Zahi Hawass, former head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, whose team recently found the “Lost Golden City of Luxor;” Dr. Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at the American University in Cairo and the world’s leading expert on animal mummies; Dr. Kent Weeks, who revealed the extent of the Tomb of the Sons of Ramses II, the largest tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings; and Dr. Mark Lehner, considered the foremost expert on the Great Pyramids, who discovered the Village of the Pyramid Builders.

komodo island

Total Solar Eclipse of 2023: From Kimberley to Komodo

April 14-28, 2023

The Legendary Kimberley and Exotic Islands of Indonesia, Plus an Eclipse!

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Experiencing a total solar eclipse is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill, and we’ve combined it with two epic adventure destinations: the remote coastal world of the Kimberley, with its plunging waterfalls and ancient Aboriginal culture, and the lush islands of Eastern Indonesia, including the UNESCO-designated Komodo National Park, home to teeming coral reefs and world-famous dragons. Our days will be filled with adventure: we’ll explore by go-anywhere Zodiac, visit ancient rock art galleries, ride the tidal rapids at Horizontal Falls, hike up a volcano, snorkel on a pink beach, and meet the fearsome dragons in their natural habitat. All the while, we enjoy the on-board excellence of the 120-guest Coral Geographer, whose small size and superb maneuverability give her the ability to anchor close to shore.

Past Special Events

Namibia: A Vision for Wildlife • April 2019

Location: AfriCat Foundation, Okonjima and Etosha National Park

Featuring: Garth Owen-Smith, Tammy Hoth-Hanssen, Simson Uri-Khob, Julian Fennessy, Philip Stander

Patagonia! Epic Climbers and Conservationists • November 2018

Location: Argentina’s world-famous Los Glaciares National Park

Featuring: Kris Tompkins, Rick Ridgeway, Conrad Anker, and Alex Honnold

World of the Maya: New Discoveries in the New Millennium • December 2017

Location: Antigua, Guatemala City, and Northern Guatemala; with Tours in Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and Mexico

Featuring: Simon Martin, Richard Hansen, Marcello Canuto, Francisco Estrada-Belli, and Tomás Barrientos

Alaskan Dreams • July 2017

Location: Alaska’s Inside Passage, from Sitka to Juneau

Featuring: Barry Lopez and Richard Nelson

Legendary Explorers • November 2016

Location: The Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica

Featuring: Conrad Anker, Tim Jarvis, Carl Safina, and Frans Lanting

Alaskan Passage • May 2015

Location: Alaska’s Inside Passage, from Ketchikan to Juneau

Featuring: Barry Lopez and Richard Nelson

The Arc of the Sacred • January 2015

Location: Angkor, Cambodia, with Tours in Cambodia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, India & Nepal

Featuring: Helen Ibbitson Jessup, Vasudha Narayanan, Todd Lewis, Damian Evans, and John Sanday

Perspectives on East Africa • June 2014

Location: Laikipia, Kenya, with Safaris in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania

Featuring: Iain Douglas-Hamilton, Louise Leakey, Richard Estes, Laurence Frank, and Frans Lanting

World of the Maya: Cycles of Time • December 2012

Location: Uxmal, Mexico, with Tours in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras

Featuring: Anthony Aveni, Susan Milbrath, Harvey Bricker, Victoria Bricker, Karl Taube, Alfonso Morales

Ancient Kingdoms of Peru • July 2011

Location: Northern Peru, with Treks and Tours Throughout Peru

Featuring: Richard Burger, Michael Moseley, Walter Alva, Joanne Pillsbury, Luis Jaime Castillo

Wonders of Ancient Egypt • January 2011

Location: Cairo, Abu Simbel, Aswan, Nile Cruise, Luxor, and Alexandria, Egypt

Featuring: Zahi Hawass, Mark Lehner, Kent Weeks, Jean-Yves Empereur, Raymond Johnson

World of the Maya: New Discoveries at Ancient Copán • December 2009

Location: Copán, Honduras, with Tours in Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize

Featuring: Robert Sharer, Ricardo Agurcia, Marc Zender, Ellen Bell, Francisco Estrada-Belli, Loa Traxler

Perspectives on Southern Africa • August 2007

Location: Chobe National Park, Botswana, with Safaris in Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia

Featuring: Mark Vandewalle, Anthony Hall-Martin, Laurie Marker, John McNutt, Dereck & Beverly Joubert, Mike Main

The Alps: Perspectives on a Climber’s World • June 2007

Location: Bolzano, Italy, with Hiking Tours in Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia

Featuring: Reinhold Messner, David Breashears, John Cleare, Peter Hansen, Angelika Fleckinger, Eduard Egarter-Vigl

Arctic Odyssey • September 2006

Location: Svalbard, Greenland, and Iceland

Featuring: Will Steger and Frans Lanting

Antarctica: In the Wake of the Great Explorers • February 2006

Location: The Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica

Featuring: Reinhold Messner, Conrad Anker, Caroline Alexander, Frans Lanting, Jerry Kooyman

A Greek Odyssey • May 2005

Location: Athens, Delos, Syros, Amorgos, Santorini, Crete, and the Southern Peloponnese, Greece

Featuring: Andrew Szegedy-Maszak and Albert Leonard, Jr.

World of the Maya: Palenque • December 2004

Location: Palenque, Mexico, with Tours in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras

Featuring: Merle Green Robertson, Bill Fash, Anthony Aveni, Marc Zender, Alfonso Morales, Julie Miller

Wonders of Ancient Egypt • January 2004

Location: Cairo, Abu Simbel, Aswan, Nile Cruise, and Luxor, Egypt

Featuring: Zahi Hawass, Mark Lehner, Kent Weeks, Lanny Bell

Dubrovnik to Venice • September 2003

Location: Croatia, Montenegro, and Italy

Featuring: Larry Wolff and Ida Sinkevič

Whales and Wildlife of the Sea of Cortez • March 2003

Location: The Sea of Cortez, Mexico

Featuring: Reinhold Messner and Joe Kane

Circling the Bering Sea • July 2002

Location: Alaska, Kamchatka & Chukchi Peninsula, Russia

Featuring: Galen Rowell, Frans Lanting, Orcutt Frost, Aldona Jonaitis, Mark Brazil, Angela Kepler, Tony Huntley, and Bob Rubin

Perspectives on the Himalayas • April 2002

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal, with Treks and Tours in Nepal, Bhutan, and India

Featuring: Sir Edmund Hillary, George Schaller, Conrad Anker, Galen Rowell, John Sanday, Chokyi Nima Rimpoche, Thomas Schrom, and Lee Birch

An Antarctic Odyssey • February 2002

Location: The Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica

Featuring: Will Steger, Barry Lopez, and Galen Rowell

Crossroads of History in the Mediterranean • September 2001

Location: Spain, Tunisia, Sicily, and Greece

Featuring: Kathryn Miller and Carolina Lo Nero

World of the Maya: The Millennium at Tikal • December 1999

Location: Tikal, Guatemala, with Tours in Guatemala, Mexico, Belize, and Honduras

Featuring: Clemency Coggins, Federico Fahsen, Christopher Jones, Robert Sharer, and “Chip” Morris

Perspectives on East Africa • March 1999

Location: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, with Safaris in Tanzania and Kenya

Featuring: Jane Goodall, Cynthia Moss, David Bygott, Richard Estes, Esmond Bradley Martin, Sarah Cleaveland, and Sarah Durant

Empires of the Sun: Tiwanaku to Cusco • July 1998

Location: Bolivia and Peru, with Tours and Treks Throughout Peru

Featuring: Michael Moseley, John Hemming, Charles Stannish, Johan Reinhard, Joseph Bastien, Brian Bauer, Andrea Heckman, and John Janusek

World of the Maya: Copan • December 1997

Location: Copán, Honduras, with Tours in Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize

Featuring: Pat Culbert, Bill Fash, Anthony Aveni, David Stuart, Ricardo Agurcia, and Barbara Fash

Perspectives on East Africa • August 1996

Location: Nairobi, Kenya, with Safaris in Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda

Featuring: Jane Goodall, Mary Leakey, Jeannette Hanby, Frans Lanting, Joyce Poole, and Daphne Sheldrick

The Incas • July 1996

Location: Cusco, Peru, with Treks and Tours in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile

Featuring: Brian Bauer, Jorge Flores Ochoa, Gordon McEwan, Susan Niles, Jean-Pierre Protzen, Johan Reinhard, and Gene Savoy

Photography with the Masters • May 1996

Location: Otavalo, Ecuador, with Photo Tours in the Galápagos Islands

Featuring: Galen Rowell, Frans Lanting, and Robert Holmes

Archaeology of Peru • July 1995

Location: Chiclayo, Peru, with Treks and Tours Throughout Peru and in Ecuador

Featuring: Thor Heyerdahl, Richard Burger, Gary Urton, Johan Reinhard, Vincent Lee, Walter Alva, Garth Bawden, Alan Kolata, Federico Kauffmann-Doig, David Dearborn, and Amy Rodman

Eclipse Programs

To witness a total solar eclipse is an unforgettable experience—and our unique eclipse travel programs are once-in-a-lifetime travel adventures! We have organized programs for 13 total solar eclipses in 22 different locations around the world—with a remarkable success rate—and have a reputation as one of the very best eclipse travel companies in the business. Renowned astronomer Alex Filippenko, PhD, one of UC Berkeley’s most popular professors, brings his expertise and enthusiasm to most of our eclipse trips.

Total Solar Eclipse of 2019: The Isles of Polynesia • June 2019

Featuring: Alex Filippenko,Rick Fienberg, Mark Eddowes, and George "Keoki" Stender

Total Solar Eclipse of 2016: Darwin to Kota Kinabalu • March 2016

Featuring: Rick Fienberg

Total Solar Eclipse of 2016: From Bali to Borneo • March 2016

Featuring: Alex Filippenko

Total Solar Eclipse of 2013: Morocco to Cape Verde • October 2013

Featuring: Alex Filippenko and Olga Stavrakis

Total Solar Eclipse of 2013: Spain to Sierra Leone • October 2013

Featuring: Rick Fienberg, Christine Drake, and Deborah Mack

Total Solar Eclipse of 2012: Bali to Australia • November 2012

Featuring: Alex Filippenko

Total Solar Eclipse of 2012: Fiji to New Caledonia • November 2012

Featuring: Rick Fienberg, Holly Gilbert, and Mark Eddowes

Total Solar Eclipse in Tahiti • July 2010

Featuring: Alex Filippenko, Jay Anderson

Total Solar Eclipse in Polynesia • July 2009

Featuring: Alex Filippenko, Owen Gingerich, and Rick Feinberg

Total Solar Eclipse in Mongolia • August 2008

Featuring: Alex Filippenko

Total Solar Eclipse: Egypt, Turkey, and the Mediterranean • March 2006

Featuring: Joel Weisberg, Perry Hackman, Owen Gingerich

Total Solar Eclipse in Zimbabwe • June 2001

Featuring: Alex Filippenko and Perry Hacking

Total Solar Eclipse in Turkey • August 1999

Featuring: Alex Filippenko and Joel Weisberg

Total Solar Eclipse and 20th Anniversary in the Caribbean • February 1998

Featuring: Alex Filippenko and Owen Gingerich

Total Solar Eclipse in the Galapagos Islands • February 1998

Featuring: Perry Hacking and Tom Bullock

Total Solar Eclipse in India, Thailand, and Cambodia • October 1995

Featuring: George Smoot, Donald Goldsmith, Owen Gingerich, Tom Bullock, Alex Filippenko, Perry Hacking, Robert Havlen, and Joel Weisberg

Total Solar Eclipse in Chile and Peru • October/November 1994

Featuring: George Smoot, Donald Goldsmith, Owen Gingerich, Tom Bullock, Alex Filippenko, Perry Hacking, Robert Havlen, Joel Weisberg, Mitzi Adams, and Mark Davis