VOYAGERS
Must-See Destinations From A Woman Who’s Been To Every Country In The World
Guest edited by Jessica Nabongo

VOYAGERS
Must-See Destinations From A Woman Who’s Been To Every Country In The World
Guest edited by Jessica Nabongo

There are, at present, 195 countries on planet earth—and Jessica Nabongo, 35, has been to all of them. In 2017, Nabongo, who is Ugandan-American and a former United Nations employee, embarked on a quest to become the first documented Black woman to travel to every country in the world. Two and a half years and 625,000 miles later, in October 2019, she finished her history-making journey in the Seychelles. Read on for her must-see destinations—and start rewriting your bucket list now.

There are, at present, 195 countries on planet earth—and Jessica Nabongo, 35, has been to all of them. In 2017, Nabongo, who is Ugandan-American and a former United Nations employee, embarked on a quest to become the first documented Black woman to travel to every country in the world. Two and a half years and 625,000 miles later, in October 2019, she finished her history-making journey in the Seychelles. Read on for her must-see destinations—and start rewriting your bucket list now.

1. BHUTAN 
(Country #190 of 195)

1. BHUTAN 
(Country #190 of 195)

WHY?

“Bhutan is one of few countries in the world that has been able to truly preserve its traditional culture. This is partly due to its geographical location high in the Himalayas, which has protected it from outside invasion.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

Le Méridien. I suggest the Paro for stunning views of the Paro River and Eastern Himalayas, or the Thimphu location if you’re looking for a city vibe. I also love the Six Senses.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Hike Tiger’s Nest, a monastery high in the hills perched on the edge of a cliff. It is one of the most dramatic monasteries on earth.”

2. “Walk across the Punakha Suspension Bridge. Believed to have been built by the 14th century Tibetan saint Thangtong Gyalpo, the 520-foot-long bridge offers a stunning view of the Po Chu River and Punakha Valley.”

3. “Visit Buddha Dordenma Statue. It’s one of the most impressive ones I’ve seen in the world. Standing at almost 170 feet, the gold-gilded bronze Buddha statue is one of the largest in the world and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness across the globe.”


HOW TO GET THERE:.

“Book a flight from New Delhi, India (approximately two hours) or Bangkok, Thailand (approximately three hours).”


INSIDER TIP:

“Climbing Tiger’s Nest is phenomenal and challenging. I’d suggest waiting at least two days after arrival so that you’re acclimated to the high altitude (the highest elevation is 11,000 feet).”

WHAT TO WEAR: 

“Light flowy dresses and fabrics, and comfortable, cute shoes since there’s a lot of walking. I also suggest attractive hiking gear for Tiger’s Nest since the pictures are incredible. Note: Bhutan is conservative so keep that in mind when choosing your wardrobe since you’ll want to be respectful and avoid showing too much skin.”

WHY?

“Bhutan is one of few countries in the world that has been able to truly preserve its traditional culture. This is partly due to its geographical location high in the Himalayas, which has protected it from outside invasion.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

Le Méridien. I suggest the Paro for stunning views of the Paro River and Eastern Himalayas, or the Thimphu location if you’re looking for a city vibe. I also love the Six Senses.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Hike Tiger’s Nest, a monastery high in the hills perched on the edge of a cliff. It is one of the most dramatic monasteries on earth.”

2. “Walk across the Punakha Suspension Bridge. Believed to have been built by the 14th century Tibetan saint Thangtong Gyalpo, the 520-foot-long bridge offers a stunning view of the Po Chu River and Punakha Valley.”

3. “Visit Buddha Dordenma Statue. It’s one of the most impressive ones I’ve seen in the world. Standing at almost 170 feet, the gold-gilded bronze Buddha statue is one of the largest in the world and is said to emanate an aura of peace and happiness across the globe.”


HOW TO GET THERE:.

“Book a flight from New Delhi, India (approximately two hours) or Bangkok, Thailand (approximately three hours).”


INSIDER TIP:

“Climbing Tiger’s Nest is phenomenal and challenging. I’d suggest waiting at least two days after arrival so that you’re acclimated to the high altitude (the highest elevation is 11,000 feet).”

WHAT TO WEAR: 

“Light flowy dresses and fabrics, and comfortable, cute shoes since there’s a lot of walking. I also suggest attractive hiking gear for Tiger’s Nest since the pictures are incredible. Note: Bhutan is conservative so keep that in mind when choosing your wardrobe since you’ll want to be respectful and avoid showing too much skin.”

2. JORDAN
(Country #139 of 195)

2. JORDAN
(Country #139 of 195)

WHY?

“Jordan has so much to offer. Whether you’re visiting Jerash, one of the most beautiful Roman ruins in the world, or exploring Amman, the capital city with a dope nightlife, the options are endless. There’s also the ancient city of Petra (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World), the Red Sea, and the Dead Sea.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“I personally love the W Amman, which is modern and opened relatively recently.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Visit Petra, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Known as the Rose-Red City, it’s an ancient sandstone city dating back to 3rd century BC that features palaces and temples carved from the soft stone cliffs."

2. “Float in the Dead Sea, and snorkel in the Red Sea. The latter’s water is crystal-clear, there are amazing coral formations, and you’ll see abundant marine life including brightly colored fish.”

3. “Go on a wine tour. It’s a lesser known fact that Jordan actually produces wine, so I definitely recommend this. Jordan River Wines is one of my favorites and they make a great Cab—a vineyard tour is highly recommended or a visit to their tasting room in Amman.”


HOW TO GET THERE:.

“Fly from basically any major city across the world.”


INSIDER TIP:

“Petra is a hike! Do not go in the summer since it’s way too hot. Go glamping at the Bubble Luxotel Petra. You’ll get to experience sleeping under the stars and a panoramic view of the Petra Mountains. The sunset is spectacular! Petra by night is a beautiful setting that most people don’t know about."


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“It’s a Muslim country so I recommend being respectful in your attire. It’s generally hot so linen dresses and tops, and breezy wide-leg pants are best. I recommend one-piece swimsuits instead of bikinis if you plan to go swimming.”

WHY?

“Jordan has so much to offer. Whether you’re visiting Jerash, one of the most beautiful Roman ruins in the world, or exploring Amman, the capital city with a dope nightlife, the options are endless. There’s also the ancient city of Petra (one of the New 7 Wonders of the World), the Red Sea, and the Dead Sea.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“I personally love the W Amman, which is modern and opened relatively recently.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Visit Petra, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Known as the Rose-Red City, it’s an ancient sandstone city dating back to 3rd century BC that features palaces and temples carved from the soft stone cliffs."

2. “Float in the Dead Sea, and snorkel in the Red Sea. The latter’s water is crystal-clear, there are amazing coral formations, and you’ll see abundant marine life including brightly colored fish.”

3. “Go on a wine tour. It’s a lesser known fact that Jordan actually produces wine, so I definitely recommend this. Jordan River Wines is one of my favorites and they make a great Cab—a vineyard tour is highly recommended or a visit to their tasting room in Amman.”


HOW TO GET THERE:.

“Fly from basically any major city across the world.”


INSIDER TIP:

“Petra is a hike! Do not go in the summer since it’s way too hot. Go glamping at the Bubble Luxotel Petra. You’ll get to experience sleeping under the stars and a panoramic view of the Petra Mountains. The sunset is spectacular! Petra by night is a beautiful setting that most people don’t know about."


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“It’s a Muslim country so I recommend being respectful in your attire. It’s generally hot so linen dresses and tops, and breezy wide-leg pants are best. I recommend one-piece swimsuits instead of bikinis if you plan to go swimming.”

3. NAMIBIA 
(Country #95 of 195)

3. NAMIBIA 
(Country #95 of 195)

WHY?

“From the Namib desert to the Himba people and being able to go on a safari, there are so many opportunities for someone looking for adventure. It’s also less densely populated than most African countries.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“I highly recommend Sossus Dune Lodge. It’s a really nice property where you get the opportunity to stay in the only lodge inside the Namib desert. Bonus: you get stunning views of the dunes and get special access to visit Sossusvlei before the park gates open and after they close to catch the sunset.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Go on a safari in Etosha National Park. It’s a magical landscape that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.”

2. “Visit Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by dunes, and Deadvlei, which features dead trees estimated to be 900 years old (they never decomposed due to the dry climate) contrasted against the white clay pan floor.”

3. “Watch the stars at night. It’s the best stargazing I’ve seen in the world!”


HOW TO GET THERE:.

“Fly from Johannesburg or Cape Town, South Africa to get there in about two hours. The best way to get around once you land is to rent your own car or hire a driver.”


INSIDER TIP:

“Get to Sossusvlei early (as in, 5am), especially to see Big Daddy, the tallest dune in the area. By getting there early, you’ll avoid the crowds and beat the extreme heat.”


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“Since you’re in the desert, it’s very hot during the day but cold at night so you’ll want to pack easy and lightweight, transeasonal-type pieces. I suggest wearing white to Deadvlei so it pops against the vivid colors in photos.”

WHY?

“From the Namib desert to the Himba people and being able to go on a safari, there are so many opportunities for someone looking for adventure. It’s also less densely populated than most African countries.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“I highly recommend Sossus Dune Lodge. It’s a really nice property where you get the opportunity to stay in the only lodge inside the Namib desert. Bonus: you get stunning views of the dunes and get special access to visit Sossusvlei before the park gates open and after they close to catch the sunset.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Go on a safari in Etosha National Park. It’s a magical landscape that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.”

2. “Visit Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by dunes, and Deadvlei, which features dead trees estimated to be 900 years old (they never decomposed due to the dry climate) contrasted against the white clay pan floor.”

3. “Watch the stars at night. It’s the best stargazing I’ve seen in the world!”


HOW TO GET THERE:.

“Fly from Johannesburg or Cape Town, South Africa to get there in about two hours. The best way to get around once you land is to rent your own car or hire a driver.”


INSIDER TIP:

“Get to Sossusvlei early (as in, 5am), especially to see Big Daddy, the tallest dune in the area. By getting there early, you’ll avoid the crowds and beat the extreme heat.”


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“Since you’re in the desert, it’s very hot during the day but cold at night so you’ll want to pack easy and lightweight, transeasonal-type pieces. I suggest wearing white to Deadvlei so it pops against the vivid colors in photos.”

4. UZBEKISTAN 
(Country #122 of 195)

4. UZBEKISTAN 
(Country #122 of 195)

WHY?

“I found Uzbekistan unexpectedly awesome. There are nice people, amazing shopping, unique textiles, and historical significance to the Silk Road.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“There are not too many luxury hotel options, but I'd recommend the Hyatt Regency in Tashkent.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Explore the capital city of Tashkent. The blue-tiled architecture and sublime patterns and textures offer a major source of interior design inspiration. Go to the markets to stock up on ceramics, hand-dyed fabrics, and embroidered textiles."

2. “Samarkand is a must-see! You can take a train from Tashkent. It’s a beautiful ancient city that was once a prominent stop on the Silk Road. Don’t miss Registan Square while you're there.”

3. “Visit Bukhara, an ancient city with over 100 architectural monuments dating from the 10th to 17th centuries. It’s located on a sacred hill and considered Central Asia’s holiest city.”

HOW TO GET THERE:.

“You can fly directly from two main international hubs: Moscow, Russia, or Istanbul, Turkey.”


INSIDER TIP:

“Take the train and pay for the first-class sleeper car for comfort and an experience that rivals Europe’s high-speed trains. The journey from Tashkent to Samarkand is just a little over two hours. Note, it’s cheaper to buy your ticket once you’re in the country versus beforehand.”


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“Be conscious of the fact that it’s a Muslim country and dress conservatively. It’s also very hot so I suggest linen and lightweight fabrics, as well as nothing too tight.”

WHY?

“I found Uzbekistan unexpectedly awesome. There are nice people, amazing shopping, unique textiles, and historical significance to the Silk Road.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“There are not too many luxury hotel options, but I'd recommend the Hyatt Regency in Tashkent.”


WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Explore the capital city of Tashkent. The blue-tiled architecture and sublime patterns and textures offer a major source of interior design inspiration. Go to the markets to stock up on ceramics, hand-dyed fabrics, and embroidered textiles."

2. “Samarkand is a must-see! You can take a train from Tashkent. It’s a beautiful ancient city that was once a prominent stop on the Silk Road. Don’t miss Registan Square while you're there.”

3. “Visit Bukhara, an ancient city with over 100 architectural monuments dating from the 10th to 17th centuries. It’s located on a sacred hill and considered Central Asia’s holiest city.”

HOW TO GET THERE:.

“You can fly directly from two main international hubs: Moscow, Russia, or Istanbul, Turkey.”


INSIDER TIP:

“Take the train and pay for the first-class sleeper car for comfort and an experience that rivals Europe’s high-speed trains. The journey from Tashkent to Samarkand is just a little over two hours. Note, it’s cheaper to buy your ticket once you’re in the country versus beforehand.”


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“Be conscious of the fact that it’s a Muslim country and dress conservatively. It’s also very hot so I suggest linen and lightweight fabrics, as well as nothing too tight.”

5. THE MALDIVES 
(Country #87 of 195)

5. THE MALDIVES 
(Country #87 of 195)

WHY?

“Because it’s the Maldives. The most spectacular beaches in the world, complete with white powder sand and crystal-clear waters, and each resort having its own private island—this is what you call paradise.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“The Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa. It’s actually located on a private coral island. I stayed at the Velassaru. You can choose from a bungalow or villa off the beach or in the water, and it’s only a 25-minute yacht ride from the airport.”

WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Nothing—lay on the beach and be grateful that life is so good. The beaches are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

2. “Go on an underwater adventure. It’s one of the most-loved destinations for surfing and diving, and the water is even warm enough to forgo a wetsuit.”

3. “Take a cruise on a traditional dhoni, a handcrafted sailboat that is one of the oldest sea vessels in the Maldives. Originally used by Maldivian fishermen, dhonis are now used by resorts to transport guests and can even be booked for private cruises.”

HOW TO GET THERE:.

“You can fly direct there from almost any country in Europe or the Middle East. After landing at Malé International Airport, you’ll take a seaplane (or a speedboat or yacht if it’s nearby) to your resort.”

INSIDER TIP:

“Malé airport is amazing. It’s on its own island and as soon as you step out, you realize why the Maldives is so magical. The airport may be small in size, but it’s big on hospitality: there’s a 24-hour health care center, free shower rooms, and a wellness center where you can relax and get pampered.”


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“All you’ll really need are colorful swimsuits and caftans or sarongs. Pack a versatile dress that can easily transition from the beach to drinks.”

WHY?

“Because it’s the Maldives. The most spectacular beaches in the world, complete with white powder sand and crystal-clear waters, and each resort having its own private island—this is what you call paradise.”


WHERE TO STAY: 

“The Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa. It’s actually located on a private coral island. I stayed at the Velassaru. You can choose from a bungalow or villa off the beach or in the water, and it’s only a 25-minute yacht ride from the airport.”

WHAT TO DO: 

1. “Nothing—lay on the beach and be grateful that life is so good. The beaches are unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

2. “Go on an underwater adventure. It’s one of the most-loved destinations for surfing and diving, and the water is even warm enough to forgo a wetsuit.”

3. “Take a cruise on a traditional dhoni, a handcrafted sailboat that is one of the oldest sea vessels in the Maldives. Originally used by Maldivian fishermen, dhonis are now used by resorts to transport guests and can even be booked for private cruises.”

HOW TO GET THERE:.

“You can fly direct there from almost any country in Europe or the Middle East. After landing at Malé International Airport, you’ll take a seaplane (or a speedboat or yacht if it’s nearby) to your resort.”

INSIDER TIP:

“Malé airport is amazing. It’s on its own island and as soon as you step out, you realize why the Maldives is so magical. The airport may be small in size, but it’s big on hospitality: there’s a 24-hour health care center, free shower rooms, and a wellness center where you can relax and get pampered.”


WHAT TO WEAR: 

“All you’ll really need are colorful swimsuits and caftans or sarongs. Pack a versatile dress that can easily transition from the beach to drinks.”

To learn more about Jessica, follow her on Instagram or check our her new lifestyle brand, The Catch.

To learn more about Jessica, follow her on Instagram or check our her new lifestyle brand, The Catch.