Reasons to Go
Geoffrey Kent’s Top Places to Travel to in 2020
Having dedicated his life to travel, A&K Founder and Co-Chairman Geoffrey Kent is often asked for his recommendations on where to go and what to see. Here are his top picks — nine must-see destinations and the most rewarding ways to explore them with A&K.
Luxury Egypt tours have seen a strong resurgence of international travellers this year. When the Grand Egyptian Museum on the Giza Plateau opens this fall, it will feature more than 50,000 ancient artifacts, most never before seen by the public. “Egypt right now is as welcoming and upbeat as I have ever seen it,” says Geoffrey. “The ability to see the Pyramids without the crowds will not last long.”
The Okavango Delta offers some of the most exciting game viewing in Africa, including a rhino population growing with support from A&K Philanthropy. Britain’s Prince Harry, who fell in love with Meghan Markle in Botswana, calls it his “second home” and actively works to support rhino conservation. “I took Prince Harry on his first safari to Botswana when he was 13,” recalls Geoffrey, “and it is rewarding to see how important it has become to him.”
For almost 300 years, Cordoba was one of the most important cities in Europe and the Islamic world. Visit the 10th-century Mezquita, a cathedral and former great mosque with a breathtaking Moorish-influenced interior. “Cordoba is best experienced on foot,” notes Geoffrey. “Wander its narrow, flower-lined streets, then step inside the Mezquita to marvel at the colorful arches and intricate details.”
Wadi Rum, Jordan
Wadi Rum is familiar to filmgoers as the stand-in for Mars in The Martian and Jedha in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and was recently seen in Disney’s live-action Aladdin. It was also home to T.E. Lawrence, known as Lawrence of Arabia, and 2018 marked the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great Arab Revolt he led.
Interest in Russia has exploded recently, and American travellers are intent on discovering for themselves what this vast nation has to offer. “Visiting St. Petersburg was such a highlight for many guests on our recent Private Jet Journey,” says Geoffrey, “especially private access to the Hermitage and Fabergé Museums, that we built a new luxury journey around these experiences.”
Renowned for its turquoise waters and towering mountains, Switzerland celebrated 170 years since its confederation in 2018. Combine the beautiful Swiss Alps with the glories of the Italian Lake District or take a family adventure that features James Bond Mountain, chocolate tastings and jaw-dropping natural wonders while hiking or rafting. Enjoy breathtaking vistas by rail as well. “Dine on the famous Glacier Express,” suggests Geoffrey, “as you traverse the majestic scenery.”
There are few places on earth where you can have such close-up experiences with wildlife as in the Galápagos. Each island has its own distinctive character and your naturalist guide points out how plants and animals adapt to the unique local conditions. As Geoffrey reminds us, opportunities to explore abound offshore, too: “I enjoy any chance to snorkel with sea lions and turtles. You also have the rare opportunity to see marine iguanas feeding underwater.”
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is drawing new interest from travellers as Belfast has grown into a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a developing culinary scene that remains true to the culture and heritage of the region. Explore the city with a local expert who can share insights into the complex history of the region. “However, no trip to Belfast would be complete without a drive out to the Giant’s Causeway along the Antrim Coast Road, one of Europe’s most scenic drives,” adds Geoffrey.
Blessed with perhaps the world’s largest concentration of stunning natural wonders, New Zealand’s South Island offers a pristine environment for outdoor enthusiasts. “It’s difficult to overstate its beauty – and how much it has to offer,” says Geoffrey, “from world-class wineries and indigenous art, to an abundance of thrilling adventures.” Explore picturesque Milford Sound by helicopter and land on the ice floes of Isobel Glacier, or hike along one of New Zealand’s Great Walks.