Yurt in Tian Shan Mountains, rural Kyrgyzstan

About Us

YellowWood Adventures

Small group adventures to exceptional destinations. We offer a mixture of trekking holidays and cultural tours, so you will always find an adventure to suit you. We always use local guides and teams, and never have more than 12 clients in a group. 

Travelling responsibly and supporting local communities, we are small enough to tread lightly, but big enough to make a difference.

Tian Shan Mountain Summit, Kyrgyzstan

Why Choose YellowWood?

  1. We have small groups with a maximum of 12.
  2. We are a privately owned and operated organisation.
  3. We employ local guides with local knowledge.
  4. We make a promise to “Travel responsibly, actively supporting local communities. We are small enough to tread lightly but big enough to make a difference”. See our Responsible Travel page.
  5. We offer excellent value for money with transparent costs and inclusions (check itineraries for details)
  6. Personalised and attentive customer service.
  7. Rich choice of exceptional destinations offering both cultural experiences and walking holidays with a focus on itineraries that take you “off the beaten track”.
  8. Commitment to continual improvement.
  9. Members of the Travel Trust Association, protecting our client’s finances.
  10. We have your health, safety and well being in hand with thorough Risk Assessments, and joint working with suppliers that meet all regulatory requirements and operate within a 'best practice' framework in our destination countries. See our page on 'Your Safety'
Children outside their home, Bale Mountains, Ethiopia

Responsible Travel

As a visitor to a foreign country, we inevitably leave our mark. At YellowWood Adventures, we are determined that this ‘mark’ will be a positive one. Tourism is not always beneficial and we are conscious of treading lightly in the lands we explore. The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recognises that ‘Tourism transformation must start today’: ‘it is a Global Responsibility’

Tourism benefits people and societies, raises awareness and fosters positive change but there needs to be a disconnect from the unthinking use of resources (both in terms of travel and within the destination country) and the attitude of ‘I am just visiting, this isn’t my problem’.

We recognise the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals that will help us all achieve a better and more sustainable future:

  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger

Safe Travel

At YellowWood Adventure, we celebrate the road less travelled. We actively seek journeys that are off the beaten track, to more remote locations where we feel we are able to experience the culture and landscapes of a country with authenticity.

Inherent in adventure travel and escapism, is a level of risk, though many of these potential issues are simply mitigated with a thorough risk assessment, forethought and experience.

We believe in the idea of Informed Consent: where we use our experience and knowledge of the travel industry, the destination country and the specific itinerary, to assess the risks involved, and describe them accurately to you. If you have any concerns, we can then let you know what we have done to mitigate and manage those risks that are still present.

When you are aware of what risks are involved, we trust that you can make the right decision about whether or not an adventures is the right one for you.

Making meals for Refugees, Food Blessed, Lebanon

Worthwhile Travel

Many of our adventurers have talked to us about how best to support those experiencing poverty or with very little access to equipment and services. They ask what they can bring to donate or leave in country after their trip.

Our response has been to develop links with well established local projects and charitable organisations that are sustainably benefitting the regions and communities that we visit. We include in our itineraries, an opportunity to learn about and visit these groups. 

Carbon Offsetting

Carbon Offsetting is not the perfect solution, but trees are currently the best technology we have to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse global warming. To compensate for 700kg of carbon emissions (a rough average of an international return flight) will take 15 trees 10 years. Of course trees live for much longer than this so the benefit continues.

For this reason, for every client and guide who takes an international flight to one of our adventures, we will plant 15 trees via our partner charity WeForest. They support a number of re-planting projects such as this seedling nursery in the Amhara region of Ethiopia.

We invite you to also offset your flights (measure the carbon output of your flight) or make a direct donation to WeForest projects.

Volcano Hummingbird, Costa Rica

Climate Emergency

2020 saw the start of a new decade and focus for us all on the realities of Climate Change and the devastating results of our impact, as a species, on the planet. At YellowWood Adventures, we want to be a driver for behavioural change through setting a good example, promoting awareness, and offering positive choices.

We firmly believe in the benefits of tourism, when well done; an opportunity to be educated, to contribute directly to local communities, and to appreciate and be inspired by the wonders of the world and the diversity of individuals within it.

As a small company practicing Responsible and Sustainable Travel, we are proud of the choices that we have had the flexibility to make, in how we run our itineraries: Small groups, camping or small hotel accommodation, use of eco resorts, local restaurants, and including learning about local projects and charities as part of our itineraries. There is however, always more that can be done and our Climate Emergency Plan is to continue to improve and to more accurately measure our Carbon Footprint.

Herding cattle, rural life, Bale Mountains, Ethiopia

'The Road Not Taken' by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim, Because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

“YellowWood provided something so unique its hard to sum up. Absolutely breath-taking: the scenery, the beauty, the experience of exploring ancient mountain monasteries that were built a thousand years ago, camping under ancient sycamores with the African stars above you – it felt like each day a little more history and Africa seeped into your soul.”

Guy Keating, Istanbul

Meet The Team

In 2015, founder Sam McManus quit his city job in London and spent three months solo hiking around Ethiopia. He bought eight tents which he left with local guide Gebre in the Gheralta Mountains in Tigray, built a website to organise small hiking groups to share with people the amazing experiences he had there; and YellowWood Adventures was born.

Next he began hiking in Kyrgyzstan, befriended local Kyrgyz guide Maks, bought more tents and did the same in the Tian Shan Mountains. At an Iranian wedding in Dubai he was invited to Iran to go skiing, fell in love with the country and began running cultural tours there with a local tour operator in Tehran.

From here the company has grown to offer many itineraries in many countries, yet the ethos of genuine, meaningful travel has always remained the same, and it is this ethos that has attracted all the members of the YellowWood team.

Regardless of where we are based or what our roles are, we are all striving to create sustainable, incredible travel experiences, to share with you our passion for exploring our wonderful planet.

Meet the team

Grading

To help you choose the right adventure for you, we have given each itinerary a grading that relates to the level of Walking / Trekking you will experience during the trip. This grading can be found on the Yellow map on the adventure page of the website.


All of our trips involve a level of general activity so are designed for people who are in good health, enjoy the outdoors, and have a taste for adventure and some level of fitness. As will be clear from our destinations, the climate (and altitude) may be different to that which you are used to, so please take this into consideration when choosing the most suitable holiday.


Please read our Adventure Itinerary & Essential Information for more information and don't hesitate to contact us if you would like to chat through whether you have found a suitable adventure for you.

Grade 1-3: Entry Level

You need to be in good physical health to enjoy your active holiday, but you don’t need to be an experienced hiker. These itineraries offer a mix of sightseeing and easier walking for around 2-4hrs a day, with the emphasis on sights and cultural experiences. 

Walks will be well marked or on defined pathways, and often around sites of interest. The expected amount of descent/ascent will depend on the landscapes of the destination, but will not exceed 400m/day, and will often be much less. Walks are at low altitude (below 3000m). 

You will not be required to carry more than a day sack with water and essentials. Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have a pair of comfortable and worn in walking shoes/boots.

Grades 4-6: Intermediate

You need to have a good level of fitness and be a regular walker for these adventures, with ideally some trekking experience. You can expect to be walking for 3-6 hours per day, not including rest stops, normally on good trail paths but with some uneven surfaces at times. 

You will not be required to carry more than a day sack. You may be walking in more challenging temperatures. You will generally be walking at low altitude (below 3000m) but may walk at altitudes up to 4000m. The amount of ascent could be up to 800m in a day but will frequently be less. You may walk on consecutive days.

Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable clothing for this adventure.

Grades 7-9: Challenging

You need to have a good level of fitness with previous experience of trekking. Extra training before your trip will ensure that you get the most out of your adventure. Areas will be remote and terrain uneven. 

Expect to walk for 5 – 8 hours a day, not including breaks, with some very steep ascents and descents. You will be walking at altitude (over 3000m but not higher than 5000m).

Ensure you are aware of the weather conditions likely in the destination you are visiting and have suitable equipment/clothing for this adventure (see the packing list for your adventure).

Please check individual itineraries for details of what you will need to be carrying with you.

Enquiry Process

Get in touch via our Enquiry form to check our availability, discuss the adventure and check we can meet your needs.

  1. Complete our Enquiry Form; contact details, additional requirements (eg diet or health requirements) & questions you may have.
  2. Include as much information as you are able to, so we can help you with the detail you are looking for.
  3. Click on 'Send Enquiry' (receipted).
  4. We will be in touch as soon as we are able, to answer your questions and help you plan your adventure.

+44 207 846 0197

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