Few people realise that there are places on Earth where human beings have yet to set foot and which are, most likely, still entirely the preserve of wild animals. Many of them are so remote and inaccessible that it would take a huge amount of time, effort and skill for us to reach them. And yet the ones we know about — seen only from the air — are often stunning in their beauty. Perhaps, for all our achievements, it’s precisely because these places have yet to see human intervention that they remain so utterly captivating — places which have stayed the same since the dawn of time, pristine in their beauty.
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Here are ten of the most stunning and intriguing. Would you want to go there?
1. The forest lake, Russia
The exact location of this mysterious lake is unknown. According to some, it can be found in the Tyumen region of Russia. How did it come to sit deep inside the forest? No one knows…
2. Tepui, Venezuela
The word “Tepui” means “home of the gods” in the language of the indigenous people of Gran Sabana where these incredible, ominous natural structures are located.
3. Honokohau Falls, Maui
This remote place is drenched in greenery. The mere sight of it gives you a feeling of the exquisite beauty, majesty and mystery of the natural world. Just imagine what it would be like to travel there.
4. The Amazon rainforest
This incredible, immense forest sprawls across nine different countries in South America: Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. It’s so huge that mankind can never hope to explore all of it — or know everything that’s hiding there.
5. Gangkhar Puensum, Bhutan
This is the highest mountain in the world which has not been conquered by mankind. It’s located on disputed territory between Bhutan and China and soars 7,570 metres into the sky.
6. Tsingy de Bemaraha, the “stone forest” of Madagascar
These rocky projections and canyons formed over a period of a million years, predominantly under the ground in the form of huge caves. Over the years, monsoon rains washed away metre upon metre of limestone and thick layers of chalky sediment, creating this system of unique, mysterious looking natural bridges, spires and gorges which can reach up to 120 metres in depth.
7. Kerguelen Islands
Hidden away in the southern part of the vast Indian Ocean, these islands are extremely far away from their “home” country of France. No planes or tourists go there, and the only way to reach them is via boat from the island of Réunion, close to Madagascar. They might as well be part of Atlantis for all humanity knows about these hauntingly beautiful islands.
8. Rock Islands, Palau
For modern human civilisation, the Rock Islands are a remote area of the world we no virtually nothing about. However, at some point over the past few thousand years, we can be certain that people have set foot on them. We know this because archaeologists have found evidence of so-called “tiny people” — an offshoot of humanity which apparently had severely stunted growth — which used to live there.
9. Dallol, Ethiopia
Today, salt mining takes place in the vicinity of the Dallol Volcano, so strictly speaking this isn’t an untouched area. But the immediate area of the volcano is, of course, uninhabitable. Fascinatingly, scientists believe the alien-like landscape of the volcano bears a striking resemblance to the surface of Io, the violently volcanic moon of the planet Jupiter.
10. Palmyra Atoll
Located in the Equatorial zone of the Pacific Ocean to the south of the islands of Hawaii, this pristine island is supposedly home to a mysterious, magical force.