Lena Pillars, Russia

Lena Pillars
photo © A. Butorin
The Lena Pillars are a Unesco World Heritage site with stunning rock pinnacles formed in the Cambrian period alongside the river Lena, around 200 kilometers south from the Siberian city of Yakutsk, known as the coldest city in the world.

 

The pillars are up to 300 meters high and the area is an important archaeological site, with loads of Cambrian fossils and ancient human rock paintings.

Bonito, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil

Bonito Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
photo © Lucas Cordeiro Barbosa Dijigow
 

The area surrounding the municipality of Bonito is one of the best natural attractions in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, in the South-Western part of Brazil.

One of the best sightseeing from Bonito is the Rio da Prata and Rio Sucuri / Rio Formoso, where floating guided tours allows to snorkel and dive into the crystal-clear water: a unique scenery created by the water flowing onto the limestone rocks.

Abismo Anhumas
photo © Edmilson Sanches

About 20 km West from Bonito other striking natural formations are the Abismo Anhumas (Anhumas Abyss), an underground lake 70 meters below the ceiling of an enchanted cave with underwater stalagmites, (among the biggest in the world, up to almost 20 metres high) and the Gruta do Lago Azul Natural Monument, one of the biggest flooded caves in the world, were prehistoric large mammals fossils of giant sloth, sabre-toothed cat and giant armadillo have been found.   

50 km South of Bonito, the Buraco das Araras, a massive sandstone crater,  hosts hundreds of aracari toucans and red/green macaws.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

It seems a bit weird that a river doesn’t reach the sea, but this is what happens to the Okavango, the fourth longest river on the African continent. It rises on the Angolan mountains to finish his race in Botswana, flowing into a sandy sea: the Kalahari desert.

The origin of this phenomenon dates back to the ice age, when the river flowed into the great Makgadikgadi lake, now a desert.
 
At its mouth, it forms an internal delta, a cradle of unbelievable biodiversity considered one of the best-preserved natural areas where huge quantities of animals can be found, of almost all the species of the African continent.

Baceno, Italy

Orridi di Uriezzo
photo © mytouristmaps
Although not spectacular as its distant relative Antelope Canyon (USA), the Uriezzo Gorge (Orridi di Uriezzo) has the charm of a place you do not expect to find in Piedmont, more precisely near Baceno, Verbania province.


Formed by the water erosion during the glacial period, the gorges can be walked on, allowing visitors to admire the rock formations illuminated by the few light beams penetrating from above.

The Southern gorge is the most spectacular, about 200 meters long and up to 30 meters deep.


In the nearby, along the Toce River, can be observed the impressive Marmitte dei Giganti: cylindrical rock potholes formed by water erosion.

Pantanal, Brazil

Pantanal
© Raphael Milani
The Pantanal Conservation Area, located in Brazil, Bolivia & Paraguay, is the world’s largest tropical wetland, with an estimated surface area of about 170.000 square kilometers (at least 20 times the size of the Everglades, in Florida); it is one of the most unspoiled and unexplored places of the world.
 
For much of the year, the 80% of the land is submerged by the water, allowing the growth of a large variety of aquatic plants and supporting one of the world’s best diversity of wildlife. 
In addition to anacondas, caimans, jaguars and many other animals, you can also meet the pantaneiros, people living here of animal husbandry.