April is a month of hope and awakening, exploding with bright new beginnings. It’s a time to admire the majesty - and quirkiness - of Mother Nature. From the Galapagos Islands to the Canadian wilderness and the hi-tech cities of Japan, nature is putting on quite a show.
In the Northern Hemisphere, spring is bursting into bloom, hibernation is ending, and newborns are stumbling wobbly-legged into the world. In the Southern Hemisphere, blue-footed boobies are dancing for love, giant tortoises are hatching, and whale sharks are flocking to coral reefs.
Here are ten amazing natural events that happen across the planet in April. We hope they make you smile and help to put a spring back in your step.
Cherry blossom (sakura) season is one of spring’s most iconic events. All over Japan, cherry trees explode into blossom, forming fairy-tale canopies of fluttery blooms. Peak sakura season usually falls in late March to mid-April, although the first blossom appears in Okinawa in January, and the last on Hokkaido in early May.
Of course, Japan isn’t the only place to see cherry blossom in its full beauty. New York, Washington DC, and Taiwan all boast gorgeous displays. Here in the UK, our cherry and apple trees are pretty dazzling too, so go get an eyeful of blossom – it’s good for the soul.
Easily one of the most surreal landscapes on the planet, Bolivia’s Salar de Uyuni has to be seen to be believed. It’s a place where the salt meets the sky, and the horizon stretches on forever. The vastness of Uyuni is broken only by cactus-studded islands and bright pink flamingos, taking the magical atmosphere up another notch.
April is the perfect time to get the full effect, as the salt flat becomes a flawless mirror for the sky after the rains. The reflection, like the landscape, is out of this world.
With the longest-known migration route of any mammal, grey whales are often on the move. Every year, they make a 12,000-mile round trip between their winter calving lagoons in the warm waters of Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the cold Arctic seas.
In April, you can catch them migrating in northwards in large numbers along the Pacific Coast of the USA, between Oregon and California. It’s a wonderful time to see whale calves with their mothers, as they stay near to the coastline.
Nepal’s Himalayan foothills become a flower-filled natural playground in April. Native rhododendrons burst into blossom all over the lush green hills, providing splashes of bright colour against a backdrop of snow-tipped peaks. It’s an enchanting sight and a great time to trek in Nepal.
The Canadian wilderness is home to 60% of the world’s bears, from spirit bears and black bears to polar bears and grizzlies. Around mid-April, as the snow begins to melt, the black and grizzly bears of British Columbia start to wake from their long winter slumber, with toddling cubs in tow. It’s a heart-warming harbinger of spring.
As the rainy seasons fizzles out in the Galapagos Islands in April, the wildlife gets ready to party. Giant tortoises hatch and green sea turtle hatchlings make daring moonlight missions from their nests to the sea. Perhaps best of all, April is the perfect month to see the clumsy dance of the blue-footed boobies, one of the most quirky and charming courtship rituals in the animal kingdom.
Beyond the bright lights of the iconic cities, the natural landscapes of the USA leap into life in April. Bluebonnets carpet the endless prairies of Texas, poppies appear by the thousand across the Mojave Desert, and the Great Smoky Mountains become bejewelled with a mix of bright wildflowers.
In April, Victoria Falls reaches peak majesty, swelling to full volume after the rains. It’s the largest curtain of falling water on the planet, and it’s sure to make you feel tiny. At full flow, the thunder, spray and power of Victoria Falls are utterly overwhelming. It’s a perfect perspective-giver, and a gorgeous sight rolled into one.
As spring spreads across Yellowstone National Park, all kinds of new-born creatures come out to play. Baby bison, moose, and shaky-legged elk appear on the grasslands, while bear cubs emerge from the forests, scampering behind their mothers. Not all of Yellowstone is open in April, but it’s a golden opportunity to watch the wildlife awakening, without the crowds.
If swimming with whale sharks is on your wish list, Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia is the place to make it happen. In April, up to 400 whale sharks arrive to release their eggs and sperm amongst the coral. Aside from whale sharks, Ningaloo Reef throbs with incredible marine life that ranges from manta rays to humpbacks and dolphins to dugongs. It’s a place that celebrates all things ocean.
Better, brighter days WILL come and, goodness knows, we'll all deserve a holiday. Whenever you're ready, we're here to help you to plan your trip of a lifetime. We'll get through this, and the other side will be packed with life-affirming adventures.