Untamed Borders is an adventure travel company providing unparalleled access to some of the world’s most interesting and inaccessible places. We specialise in trips to Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Middle East, North Africa, East Africa, former Soviet Central Asia and the Caucasus. We also arrange bespoke trips to other off-the-beaten track destinations. Alongside our regular cultural tours, we also run adventure sport excursions – including ski trips, trekking, marathons and much more.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Untamed Borders was founded in 2008 following a meeting in the mountains between three travel guides from Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UK. They shared a desire to enable other people to experience the beauty and wonder of Pakistan and Afghanistan, lands that are often described as dangerous and inhospitable. This shared desire and a lot of hard work quickly laid the foundations for what Untamed Borders is today.
Untamed Borders uses specialist local guides, who aim to provide authentic and original experiences for all our guests. We can introduce you to the people of the areas we visit because they are our friends. We speak the languages and know the history because it is our history and we want to share it with the rest of the world. We believe that peace and understanding on a world scale can only come when people of different cultures meet and interact.
Our aim is to add positive benefit to the areas we visit. We ensure that, whenever possible, the money we spend goes directly to the people of that region by staying in locally run hotels and using local drivers and suppliers. Our business cards are printed in the bazaars of Peshawar and this website was designed in Himachal Pradesh. Small scale tourism might not change the world, but every path starts with a single step.
There will be a maximum of 12 people on any trip we arrange, some trips have less. This small number allows for greater security, flexibility and access to local people and places. Each set itinerary trip is individually designed to coincide with local events or to visit the area at the best time of year. In addition to our fixed itineraries, we can arrange all kinds of bespoke trips – this was after all how we started. We are happy to give advice to anyone considering visiting these areas. Please don’t be shy, just get in touch! Please join us on one of our small group itineraries or contact us to arrange a bespoke adventure.
JAMES WILLCOX – FOUNDER
Kate has been working in adventure travel for over a decade, and during that time has travelled across five continents to some of the world’s most adventurous places. With years of sales experience, Kate is an expert when it comes to putting together your perfect itinerary and will be your first point of contact when booking your trip.
Kate can chat you through anything from private trip ideas, flights, visas or any of our group itineraries.
Madelene was born in Sweden where she spent her life in the great outdoors, hiking and skiing. Before moving to London she travelled extensively in East Africa, scuba diving and working at a marine conservation base, to which she has returned to visit on many occasions. She pursued a career in travel and has many years of experience in both sales and operations. Madelene works closely with our local operators to ensure that we can provide the most up-to-date information and that all aspects of our trips are carried out in the best possible way.
David is originally from the Isle of Man and is a former BBC journalist, who worked as a reporter in England for 9 years, across both radio and TV. He now manages the Marketing and PR for Untamed Borders.
David’s recent travels have included volunteering for an aid organisation in Ukraine, during the war with Russia, and an extensive trip across Central Asia and parts of the Middle East.
Alongside David’s passion for travel, he’s also a keen endurance athlete and has competed in many ultramarathons, ironman competitions, long distance cycle events and other adventure races over the past decade. He’s a nature enthusiast and spends much of his time outdoors – hiking, surfing, mountain biking and generally keeping active.
David is also the co-founders of a street art organisation in England, called Bankside Gallery Hull, which helps regenerate areas using street art as their tool – they’ve overseen the painting of thousands of pieces of art in England and organise big street art events.
Ana was born in Maribor, Slovenia, and learned to ski at the age of three. Since her first trip to West Africa a decade ago (when she accidentally illegally crossed the border from Burkina Faso to Ghana) she has lived and worked mostly as a ski coach and guide in alternative countries to the popular destinations of Canada to Australia. She has certainly learned a thing or two about foreign lands. Later she fell in love with the Middle East and swapped hiking up snowy peaks to going down rocky wadis.
Ana has recently spent most of her time in Ramallah in Palestine, working on sports programmes for women in refugee camps. When she gets tired of living under occupation she guides trips for Untamed Borders to Afghanistan and Kurdistan.
Ade is an experienced expedition leader, mountain guide, trekking guide and a keen photographer. Originally from Wales, he’s now based in Sydney, Australia. Ade spends his life leading trekking and climbing expeditions in the most remote and far-flung regions on the globe.
Ade has climbed, trekked and travelled on all seven continents. His passion is to develop new trekking routes in countries like Nepal and Mongolia. When not working Ade enjoys everything Australia has to offer, including canyoning, sea kayaking and the Sydney lifestyle. Ade is responsible for leading our trips to the Wakhan, which he has been to countless times over a number of years.
Carly was born in Wales and grew up in the RAF, always moving around and gaining new experiences. Carly found work as a tour leader in Turkey, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and lived in Aleppo for a few years, learning Arabic and immersing herself in the Syrian way of life. Guiding through Europe in the Summer’s after the war broke out, saving money and travelling on a shoestring. Walking across Goa, cycling around Morocco, hiking the Annapurna in Winter, apparently the first person to take a donkey into the Baharia desert in Egypt, driving across Canada and the States living in a tiny fiesta and living in a camper in the UK. She has a passion for the Middle East and Central Asia, hiking and camping in Mountains and deserts, in her bivvy bag and now guides tours back to Syria and Iraq.
Taria started working for Untamed Borders in 2017 after a solo backpacking trip around Mexico and Central America. Whilst a latecomer to travel (she was a bass player in a rock band for 13 years prior), she is passionate about capturing her travels in her sketchbook. Since the lockdown in 2020 she started a blog and Youtube channel about travel sketching, encouraging and teaching others to sketch their adventures in ink & watercolour.
She is now a published author of a book on the subject and has been invited to teach all over the world. Taria assists with the design and technology side of Untamed Borders.