Secret Escapes: our 7 favourite places to decompress

After a high-octane PENCARI Black adventure, you will have thoroughly earned a few days of ‘R&R’ to recuperate. Through their service in the Special Forces, the PENCARI Black team have travelled to every corner of the world, and have whittled down their favourite, most awe-inspiring places for decompression after a healthy shot of adrenalin. Warning: reading on may induce wanderlust.


New Zealand – Located on the north western side of New Zealand’s beautiful South Island and facing the Tasmin sea, the Marlborough Sounds offer an idyllic retreat. Spend a week or two paddling by sea kayak from bay to bay where the deep blue of the ocean contrasts with the rich green of the jungle-like foliage that descends to the water’s edge. If the mood takes you, stop off for a meal and a drink at Okiwi Bay – “a quaint little drinking village with a fishing problem”.


Mohave and Colorado Deserts USA – The high desert wilderness of the Mohave and Colorado deserts is almost otherworldly, with rugged hills of bare rock, boulders and Joshua trees. It’s one of our favourite places for tracking and trekking, ideal for those wanting to get away from it all and escape for a while. Famous for its naturally dark night skies, the elevation, dry desert air and stable atmosphere make for excellent stargazing. You’re likely to hear coyotes calling, and it can all feel a bit like you’ve travelled back to another time.


Northern Norway – visiting this magical place in winter is a must. Having spent many months living and working in subzero temperatures surrounded by these incredible mountain edged horizons and ice filled fjords, returning to these regions is like coming home. The joy of skiing across a high altitude frozen lake covered in pristine snow, with only the sound of your breathing and the crisp crunch of freshly fallen snow, is a totally invigorating experience.


The Highlands of Scotland – sitting in a heather clad glen, overlooking a still highland loch and listening to a Golden Eagle hunting above, is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Whether fishing for salmon or climbing a Munro, the Scottish Highlands has it all – beautiful, wild landscapes, friendly people and for those in search of solitude, it offers the ultimate escape.


Cambodia – The friendly people, the lush jungle, the buzzing cities, the amazing food and the fascinating history of Cambodia cement its place in our top seven favourite places to visit. The sheer mind-boggling feats of engineering and the splendour of the ancient temples (be sure to visit Angkor Wat) are truly unmissable.


East Africa – Kenya is home to some of the world’s most remarkable wildlife. Sleeping under the stars while listening to the crickets and the occasional cackle of the hyena is an experience like no other. Home to the Big Five, on many occasions while teaching visual tracking, we have been fortunate to walk amongst some awe-inspiring animals. The opportunity to see an elephant calf with its mother at close hand is something you never forget and will change the way you think about these amazing creatures forever.


Borneo – Explore one of the world’s oldest rainforests, teeming with some of the most interesting wildlife on the planet. The third largest island in the world, in 1970 75% of Borneo was covered in glorious, pristine tropical rainforest. In just 40 years that figure has been reduced by 30%, through illegal logging, palm oil plantations and forest fires being the three main culprits of deforestation. Time is running out to visit this primordial triple canopy rainforest and the best way to see it is to immerse yourself in it, let it wrap itself around you and it will slowly unveil its secrets to you.


Where will your PENCARI Black adventure take you?