From one of the world’s least population-dense spots in the world, to an island of “musical rainforests” and the African savannah, National Geographic’s picks for the best summer travel destinations offer ideas that extend beyond London and Paris.

For intrepid, nature-loving travellers and adventure seekers, the publication offers up summer travel ideas that span the continents from the Americas, Africa and Europe to Asia and Oceania.

Here’s a look at some of their picks:

Mongolia

For travellers looking to get away from the madding summer crowds, consider the plains of Mongolia, described as one of the least population-dense and most hospitable countries in the world.

Along with 300m-high dunes, clear rivers, cool summer nights, ancient dinosaur fossil beds, horseback rides through poppies and golden mountains, editors praise another major attraction and asset for the region – its people.

“No one can sing from the depths of their being and bellies like the Mongols.”

Mongolia

Stressed out? Head to Mongolia for a holiday to rejuvenate the mind and soul.

Ilha Grande, Brazil

About an hour-long ferry ride from Rio de Janeiro, the island of Ilha Grande used to house a leper colony and top-security prison. Today, however, the island is a paradisiacal retreat, with 106 beaches and “musical rainforests” that are home to endangered tropical species like maned sloths, brown howler monkeys and the red-browed amazon parrot.

Lebanon

Often overlooked as a culinary destination, the world has Lebanon to thank for hummus and the summer mezze table, the ideal dinner for a hot summer’s night – think wine, tabbouleh, hot sesame pita, baba ghanoush sprinkled with pomegranate seeds, and plates of herbed cheese, all drizzled in local olive oil.

Along with its culinary heritage, experts recommend strolling the open-air markets of Byblos, and cooling off at the Baatara Gorge Waterfall.

Lebanon

Umayyad city ruins in Anjar, Lebanon. Photo: JAMAL SAIDI/Reuters

Masai Mara

Summer months are the best times to visit this expansive, fenceless preserve that allows visitors to witness one of the world’s most fascinating yearly phenomena – the great migration. Between July and September, two million wildebeest embark on their annual pilgrimage across rivers and plains to the Serengeti.

Along with a safari, experts recommend visiting a local Maasai community and snorkeling the coral reefs of Diani Beach in Kenya. — AFP Relaxnews

Sarawak, a nature destination

Sarawak

Gunung Mulu National Park is home to the Sarawak Chamber, the Deer Cave and the Clearwater Cave. Photo: Sarawak Tourism Board

NatGeo also has “Borneo” on its list. From the description, it seems like the destination chosen is actually Sarawak, and not the whole island of Borneo (Sarawak, Sabah, Kalimantan, Brunei). Here’s the description from the NatGeo website (nationalgeographic.com):

“If you love pygmy elephants, glow-in-the-dark mushrooms, floating markets, secret gardens hidden in caves, and the rehabilitation of endangered orangutans – then Borneo is the summer trip for you. After a day of spelunking in Borneo’s Gunung Mulu National Park, visitors can stick around to observe the “Bat Exodus”, as over three million bats swoop into the fading sky from Deer Cave, the largest cave chamber on the planet. Borneo is also the place to spot Irrawaddy dolphins, proboscis monkeys, soft-shelled turtles, clouded leopards, the world’s longest insect, and 15,000 species of plants – including carnivorous pitcher plants; the famous corpse flower; and monster flowers, the largest known blossoms on the planet.” – Star2