Online Editor, Simon Wittenberg, explores some of the most spectacular sights of South West Iceland when he ventures out into the ‘wilds’ with Moonwalker.
Thanks to the geographical make-up of Iceland, a country which lies in the middle of the North Atlantic, “the Land of Fire and Ice” is a natural playground with plenty to see and do. A well-trodden 186-mile (300-kilometre) tourist circuit in the southwestern corner of the island, goes by the name of the Golden Circle, and takes in the three of Iceland’s most popular attractions. One family-owned, Reykjavik-based business that specialises in creating memorable and personal excursions away from the coach loads of visitors, is Moonwalker.
It is owned and run by the kind-natured and enthusiastic Bessi Jónsson, who founded the company in 2014, after previously working in an office job and search and rescue. His main aim is to now enjoy what he does, to have fun, and to ensure that his guests have the best day of their vacation. With numerous accolades splashed across the Moonwalker website, such as a 2019 Certificate of Excellence from TripAdvisor, it looks like Bessi’s underlying objective has certainly been achieved.
Moonwalker currently offers seven different “adventures”, which provide a wide range of locations to explore. Alternatively, Bessi will work with individuals to define bespoke itineraries if they wish to travel alone, or are celebrating a special occasion such as a honeymoon or anniversary.
Related article: Read Simon Wittenberg’s in-depth interview with Bessi Jónsson the founder of Moonwalker. In the interview, Bessi provides inside knowledge into where to go, the most popular tours and his favourite places to visit. More.
His passengers are also never rushed and can take their time at each of the stops, rather than being tied down to a pre-defined schedule. In fact, Bessi will only take up to six people with him at any one time, plus Moonwalker’s newest team member, a very friendly and cuddly black and white Icelandic sheepdog named Cami, if visitors don’t mind being accompanied by his best friend.
My wife and I opted for the most popular “Golden Circle & Langjökull glacier” adventure costing ISK 36,000 (around £230) per person for an eight to ten-hour 400 km round-trip, which includes a collection and drop-off service at your accommodation.
Moonwalker’s current fleet of vehicles boasts two customised Land Rover Defender 110s (“Moon 1” and “Moon 2”), but he has access to further off-roaders and a more luxurious Mercedes-Benz V-Class (for his Comfort Tours), when needed. Our transport for the day was “Moon 2”, previously used by Iceland’s Search and Rescue teams, and Bessi is only too happy to take the time to run through all the equipment on the car and how it works.
This includes a gigantic 150-litre fuel tank, a tyre pressure and turbo monitoring gauge, a VHF radio connected to other tour guides in case of emergency, as well as a sophisticated GPS system which shows the current elevation and the “breadcrumbs” dropped during a previous drive. This technology essentially allows Bessi to retrace his steps in the event of a white-out or keep to a prescribed track on a glacier.