Adventure designer Richard Bangs dishes out 2022’s most desired destinations

Richard Bangs has created special experiences for Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Barry Diller, Martha Stewart, and Peter Guber.

MT Sobek, a 50-year-old adventure travel company, was founded on the premise of original exploration and experiencing world in ways that were never before attempted. The company designs bespoke trips for HNI travellers who seek the highest quality in the far away.

“We have created special experiences for Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Barry Diller, Martha Stewart, Peter Guber, and many others,” says Richard Bangs, the co-founder of MT Sobek.

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Richard Bangs, Co-founder of MT Sobek and Steller

The California-based company has, throughout the decades, made first descents of over 100 rivers, and has pioneered treks throughout the Himalayas, the Andes, the Alps, Caucuses and many more.

“MT Sobek offered the first trips to Antarctica, and I personally led the first adventure trips to North Korea, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Cuba, and even China in 1976, before rapprochement,” reminisces Bangs.

Bangs also co-founded Steller, a travel-inspired storytelling platform. He is also a part of the founding executive team of Expedia.com.

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MT Sobek’s 1987 trip to China.

Rise of adventure travel

Bangs sees adventure travel picking up in 2022.

“During the interregnum, travellers discovered the merits of outdoor experiences, the virtues of breathing fresh air, and the healthy benefits of moving through a wilderness. After two years of exploring living rooms and home offices, the urge to get out and feel the sun on the back, wind in the hair, splashes of cool river water on the face, has never been greater, or more urgent,” says Bangs.

MT Sobek has been seeing a 100% increase in trips to national parks and rafting wild and scenic rivers. The company has also been witnessing record numbers of advance bookings for Europe, Costa Rica, Galapagos, Kilimanjaro, Peru, and the country of Georgia.

“Even Antarctica is seeing a climbing trend as guests feel more comfortable with long-haul travel,” says Bangs.

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Tourists photographing penguins in Antarctica.

Asia and Pacific are still largely closed but will open soon. There will be a pent-up demand for adventure offerings there, he adds.

While MT Sobek caters to all ages, with trips ranging from easy (a cruise) to difficult (high-altitude climb), and from family to singles. Because of the price points, the average age skews older, 55 and up. The favourite activities include hiking, trekking, river rafting, adventure cruising and climbing.

Expensive adventures

The five most expensive adventures offered by MT Sobek include the Angola Expedition with Richard Bangs for $19,995; Antarctic Fly & Adventure Cruise for $16,195; Chile & Argentina Patagonia to Sea Hiking and Cruise for $10,595; Galapagos Adventure Cruise aboard the Integrity for $9,995; Japan Sacred Northern Lakes & Mountains Hiking for $9,995; Namibia Wildlife & Dunes Safari for $9,195, and the First Descent of the Onyx River in Antarctica for $300,000.

Shedding light on the company’s roadmap for 2022, Bangs says that the MT Sobek will continue with the legacy of pioneering and will offer new trips to Algeria, Southern Iraq, Tajikistan, Sudan, Chad, The Congo-to-Sea rail trip, and many others.

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