President’s Picks

As you might imagine, I log a lot miles on the road and in the air every year. People always ask me about my favorite places. Here is the answer. In my travels, I am always on the lookout for what’s new, innovative, and cutting-edge. Yet, I am consistently surprised when I run up against the ordinary in the travel industry.  And, that is too often the case… the same old stuff – the same sights, the same activities and the same routings.  I found this in Australia, China and Chile, just to name a few.  At times, there seems to be little difference between private tours and the masses of buses in that they are all headed to exactly the same places.

Indeed, probably 95% of travelers are still being funneled into the same molds, whether they are private clients or mass market. At Big Five, we have deliberately chosen to look after the 5% who share our philosophy, where the most valued asset has nothing to do with price.  Of course, there are classic sights that will nearly always be included. After all, who would go to Egypt the first time and not visit the great pyramids of Giza? But there can still be distinctiveness and originality in how they are seen. That is our intellectual property, where creativity, originality and outside-the-box thinking are the rule and not the exception. This is ingrained in our entire Big Five team, which means that we look deeper and farther afield to give you something more.  Our aim is to present you with journeys that are worth taking!

With President’s Pick, I wanted to take that a step further, to share adventures that I am personally passionate about, tours that have touched me in some way and where I have seen a serious need to not merely think outside the box, but to destroy the box. I have never been one to follow, and I always aim to make a positive difference in every one of our destinations.  Please enjoy my personal picks, and let us help you plan yours.


Ashish Sanghrajka


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President’s Picks Tours

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President’s Picks Namibia Damaraland to the Dunes 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Sustainable Travel, Adventure Travel

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“When it comes to conservation of endangered species such as the rhino, you can’t help but feel like you aren’t doing enough. This Namibian safari works with local endeavors to place that power back in your hands. Through tourism, you can make a key difference supporting the Save the Rhino Trust as you track one of the only clusters of free roaming black rhino still left in Africa. You also assist desert-adapted giraffe of the Hoanib Valley Cam with a joint venture between the local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the world’s only Africa-wide giraffe conservation organization. This safari is what purpose driven means.”

President’s Picks India Ghats, the Ganges & Leopards 18 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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“When you see a regular India itinerary, it usually encompasses the same cities and sites repeatedly. You only get to see what everyone else sees. Would you believe that represents less than 10% of India’s history? That is not nearly good enough. This journey represents Big Five’s India, which means that you go into the interior, into the heart, where the legacy of India was born.”

President’s Pick Colombia In the Heart of It 10 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Sustainable Travel

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“You know that feeling you have after doing something so amazing that you want to tell the world about It, yet you can’t seem to find the right words? Well, this program encompasses that kind of feeling. I came back from an incredible adventure in Colombia, and just couldn’t find the words so we did what we do best – created an adventure around it. ”

President’s Pick Tanzania & Kenya The Wild Walk 10 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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“There are plenty of safaris, then there are world-class, once-in-a-lifetime experiences. When your stay is so singularly focused on the best in conservation as it is here, your over the top transforms into over the moon.”

President’s Pick Japan Cityscapes & Sacred Trails 14 Days President’s Picks Interest(s):

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“When most people think of Japan, what comes to mind the most are images of shrines and the Geisha. Yet, there is much undiscovered unique culture, dramatic natural landscapes and mythic places you can find on the hidden trails in the remote regions beyond Nagoya and Osaka. Here you walk in the very footsteps of emperors. I love the phrase ‘Walk a mile in their shoes.’ Well now you can.”

President’s Pick Uganda & Kenya The views from my bed 12 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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"This adventure goes in search of some of the largest land animals left on Earth - from the rare mountain gorilla to the African elephant - both highly threatened species. It also travels into an indigenous pygmy village of the Batwa, who have been known historically as the keepers of the forest, the original dwellers of Uganda’s Bwindi Forest. I am impressed by their amazing knowledge of the plants and animals that has been gained over millennia. Search for the big cats and the tiny bush babes in two stunning Kenya locations. This is a traditional safari that will go beyond your Africa expectations."

Presidents Pick Jordan & Egypt Adventure of the Ancients 18 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel

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For a long time now, Egypt and Jordan have relied on tried and true itineraries that are long on history and short on innovation. That may be easy but it’s not creative. Of course, history is key to this region, but that doesn’t rule out doing something more. This adventure encompasses experiences that you might likely associate with Martians!

President’s Pick Southern Ethiopia’s Omo Valley Tribes 10 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"Southern Ethiopia offers an amazing look into a wide range of traditional indigenous communities whose lifestyles remain closely linked to the past. We introduce you to the Dimeka women’s market as well as Key Afer, one of the most outstanding markets of the Lower Omo Valley tribes. You meet the Konso people, known for the carved totems placed on their graves, and the Mursi villagers, with their fierce warrior disposition and women who wear large circular clay labrets in the lower lip. I think you'll find that in this rapidly changing world, this adventure into the past is truly a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime experience."

President’s Pick Peru Northern Climes & Cultures 11 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"I am a big fan of Peru because of its variety of experiences. In this program, I love the opportunities to hike spectacular mountains, and walking into the archeological sites like Kuelap is like walking straight into the past. This is one of the largest ancient stone complexes in the western hemisphere, and Caral-Supe is another – a 5000-year-old site that is oldest center of civilization in all the Americas. Journeys like this offer us the chance to experience a bit of what the early explorers might have felt."

President’s Pick On the Trail of Primates 18 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Safari Tours, Adventure Travel

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"The dynamics of Africa are always changing, evolving, and never more than in 2019. The concept of the safari is expanding far beyond classic routes and activities to more authentic, personal and closer encounters. This program was designed with one of our best travel advisor partners and represents the exciting new frontiers to be experienced in Africa."

President’s Pick Morocco Mazes & Mysteries 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Romantic Getaways, Adventure Travel

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"Every year I visit Morocco and I am amazed by two things: how much the country has to offer, and how little of it is really being done right. Morocco has long been known for its riads, the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara desert and the excruciatingly long drives. This is reflected in nearly every itinerary across the board. This journey is designed to focus more on the adventure side plus the luxury aspect of Morocco and minimize some of those long desert drives. It takes you inside a Berber home, camping on the great sand dunes and into the dramatic gorges of Todra."

President’s Pick An Adventurer’s Chile 13 Days President’s Picks Interest(s): Adventure Travel

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"Chile has one of the richest histories in Latin America. Yet, too often, I see the same few locations come up repeatedly. There is so much more to Chile than just ice and desert, right? I am happy to answer with a resounding yes. Imagine Chile before the bus tours, the hotels and the overcrowded spots. Now, imagine traveling to places where hidden luxury hotels sport names that you need to learn to pronounce with adventures you didn’t know were there. This is the Chile I fell in love with and want to share with you."