Wild Guanabana’s Omar Samra talks about why everyone should go on an adventure at least once in a lifetime and about his next big trip: trekking the Himalayas
Here’s to freedom, cheers to art. Here’s to having an excellent adventure and may the stopping never start.” So is the very core philosophy of Omar Samra’s Wild Guanabana travel company which promotes the world as an incredible place worth exploring and discovering; that by removing ourselves from the distractions of everyday life and taking on new and challenging experiences, we grow and learn more about ourselves and the world in ways we never thought possible.
“We fondly think of ourselves as a platform for life-changing journeys to unfold and know nothing more fulfilling than creating and sharing these experiences with others,” says Omar Samra, an adventurer, mountain climber and social rights activist of Wild Guanabana, which he started up in 2009.
Samra leads two or three international trips a year; back home he also heads trips tailored to students and companies. Samra likes to focus on character building, leadership and self-reliance when he’s with the students while companies generally like to go for a more exciting team building experience when they book with Samra.
Next month, Samra is set to lead a group on a 10-day Himalayan trekking trip in one of the most remote regions of the Nepalese Himalayas. The group will trek through wilderness and spectacular rhododendron forests, from one small village to the next and then onto higher altitudes to take in the white Himalayan vistas and fantastic lush greenery.
“Like all our trips, this trip caters to anyone with a passion for self-discovery. Most of our clients have never been on an adventure trip in their lives,” says Samra. “We are always keen to offer the best destination value at a very competitive [price]. So for example for this trip the accommodation will be in basic hotels in town and tea houses across the mountain with local families, which offers a great opportunity to experience this unique culture.”
Ensuring that visitors make the most of their stay is the dedicated Wild Guanabana team, representatives of which accompany groups from the minute they arrive at Kathmandu. “We have a very well-trained team, who is very passionate; and we only travel to places we have been to ourselves and know the destination very well to be able to offer a first-hand experience and a memorable adventure,” Samra says.
The trip begins with the group trekking through the scenic valley until the Tamang settlement of Dunche at an altitude of 2,030 meters to enjoy views of the picturesque village as the sun sets. On the next day, the group will leave the village and follow the trail passing the terraced potato fields, crossing over a small stream, and continue to climb up a steep ascent through lush forests and a cliff for a striking view of the rocky mountain of Gosaikund deep in the valley. The trail continues on a ridge filled with rhododendrons to Shing Gompa to visit a small cheese factory and an old Buddhist monastery.
On the fourth day, the trek follows a steep trail that bridges the rich forests on the northern slopes, a sanctuary for the red panda, an endangered species that the Nepali calls cat bear; and the dry scrub vegetation on the southern slopes. The trail reaches Chalang Pati, entering the peaceful Goisakund protected area.
The following day takes the adventurers to Gosainkund Lake, which features a black rock in the middle said to be the head of Shiva. Legend has it Shiva created the lake when he pierced a glacier with his trident to quench his thirst after consuming poison.
Hundreds of pilgrims come here to worship and bathe during the full-moon festival each August. On this day Hindu men perform their annual change of Janai, a yellow cotton string worn across the chest or tied around the wrist of the right hand. This cord initiates Hindu pilgrims into manhood and commands them to faithfully follow the religion.
On the sixth day, the trail skirts the shore of the lake Gosainkund before ascending towards the Laurebina Pass (4610 meters), through roofless stone herders’ huts, crossing several streams and passing two beautiful waterfalls. Overhanging rocks form a cave that doubles as a campsite by trekkers to see the lights of herders.
The trail continues through a thick pine forest before the final ascent to Tharepati (3490 meters), a grouping of small stone huts used in the summer by herders. The descent continues the next day from Tharepati to Kutumasang (2,471 meters), with magnificent views of the breathtaking Himalayan mountain of Annapurna and Masalsu.
On the last day of the trek, the trail takes in the sunrise over the snowcapped mountains, as the group starts trekking down to Chisopani (2,194 meters), another spectacular vantage point and an opportunity to explore the tribal culture and mountain lifestyle, before continuing the trail across the Mulkharka and Shivapuri National Park then driving back to Kathmandu. et
For more information on Wild Guanabana trips, visit http://www.wildguanabana.com/journeys