Jujuy Province, Argentina
Jujuy Province in northwest Argentina is the country’s interface with the desert: A land remote, arid, and dramatically handsome. An ever changing palette of light, shadow, and color transforms Jujuy (pronounced hoo-hooey) into a photographer’s paradise. The striking salt flats of Salinas Grandes, pictured here, are mined through rectangular pools.
Skeleton Coast, Namibia
One of the planet’s starkest, most unspoiled shorelines, the Skeleton Coast stretches more than 300 miles along Namibia’s northern seaboard. Considered a deadly wasteland in years gone by, the coast is now cherished for its rich wildlife, a blend of sea creatures, desert critters, and savanna animals. Here, African penguins forage in the gin-clear waters off Mercury Island.
Nile Valley, Egypt
For much of its journey across northern Africa, the Nile Valley passes through desert, but the 130 miles of river between Aswan and Luxor—where the Karnak Temple, pictured here, was built beginning around 2000 B.C.—are the most striking of the Nile’s entire length.
Samburu District, Kenya
North of Mount Kenya, the terrain of Kenya evolves from forested highlands into a rust-colored wilderness that stretches more than 150 miles across the country before bleeding into the Turkana Desert. This is the traditional homeland of the Samburu people, who still decorate their hair and faces with an ocher clay that matches their earthy surroundings.
Every year in the remote reaches of Peru, wild vicuñas are rounded up during Gran Chaccu, an annual shearing event rooted in Inca tradition. Andean herders surround these wild, long-necked cousins of llamas and alpacas, prized for their precious wool, considered one of the finest natural fibers in the world. Once the animals are shorn, they are let go and bound, one by one, for the hills, free again.
Weddell Sea, Antarctica
Visiting the Weddell Sea—at the bottom of the world—requires a healthy sense of adventure. Most tourists arrive by ship from the tip of South America across the notoriously stormy Drake Passage. The payoff is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in a sea full of solitude, witnessing the shifting power of vast sheets of ice, as well as unspoiled wildlife on one of the most remote places on Earth—South Georgia Island, pictured here.
Gangtey Valley Bhutan
Bhutan’s breathtaking and little known Gangtey Valley is situated on the sun-drenched western slopes of the Black Mountains. Lording over the gently hollowed, treeless valley is the 17th-century cloistered Gangtey Monastery, where mask dances are a highlight of the annual Tsechu religious festivals.