If wildlife travel is your passion, why not plan your trip of a lifetime around wildlife encounters? If you're searching for inspiration, look no further; our suggested wildlife itinerary will transport you into the Ugandan highlands to track gorillas and into the plains of Africa to spot the ‘Big 5’. Then you’ll meet little penguins, swim with dusky dolphins, watch whales and orangutans, spot wild elephants and seek out elusive leopards, before meeting giant tortoises and hanging out with sloths. This is the ultimate trip for amazing animal encounters!
Your first touch-down is Entebbe, Uganda - a few miles south of the capital, Kampala. One of the most popular wildlife tours here is a gorilla safari into the mountainous south west of Uganda. You can trek up close to one of the largest remaining colonies of Silverback gorillas in the world as part of a carefully organised tour designed to ensure the gorillas are not bothered by constant human presence. Read our blog on the best spots for gorilla tracking in Uganda and you’ll find out that there are also opportunities to encounter chimpanzees, impala, wart hogs and elephants in Uganda too.
You could fly on from Entebbe, but we’ve included an overland sector for you to travel overland to Johannesburg. The most popular, safe and sociable choice is to join a small group trip and board an overland truck to explore further. These group trips combine the gorillas in Uganda with some exploration of Kenya or Tanzania, from where you can travel down to Johannesburg:
Whilst you’re here, why not visit the Apartheid Museum or a nearby township to understand how the people of South Africa struggled during their segregation? Although this South African city is a destination in its own right with an inner city that’s on-the-up, it’s also a great base for a safari. Be sure to venture out in search of the African ‘Big 5’; buffalo, lion, elephant, leopard, rhino.
You could take a day safari, but a longer stay affords you much more time for those coveted wildlife sightings.
Your next destination is Sri Lanka; a country influenced by both Buddhist and Hindu cultures that’s back on the radar since it stabilised politically a few years ago. Its plentiful National Parks and wildlife reserves are home to Asian elephants, deer, leopards, sloth bears, small loris and scaly anteaters. When you add in delicious local rotis and curries, historic sites and gorgeous beaches – like Mirissa Beach, you have a diverse destination! For more insight, read Adam’s Sri Lanka – rotis, railways and relaxation – or if you’re travelling as a family, Jonny explains why Sri Lanka is so brilliant for families!
It’s easy to travel around Sri Lanka independently with plenty of local buses and some trains connecting the main cities (the most famous being Kandy to Ella and Galle to Colombo). However you travel, your journey will be a scenic one, with plenty of chances to see daily life unfolding before you. If you’re looking for an independent adventure, we can easily arrange a private car and driver who will also be your guide throughout.
The island of Borneo is divided between Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia, with Malaysia’s share encompassing the states of Sabah and Sarawak. This lush hinterland is home to ancient rainforest which is under threat by loggers, risking the habitat of the Bornean Orangutans. Despite the logging, Borneo is one of the best places to spot orangutans, beside Sumatra. Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre is a popular destinations for visitors – including families. Here you can meet adorable apes who’ve been rescued from illegal logging or who’ve been kept as pets and see how they’re making they’re journey through rehabilitation towards life in the wild.
If you love to add a challenge to your trip, why not climb Mt Kinabalu, Malaysia’s highest mountain? Your aching limbs will be rewarded by of the most spectacular sunrises imaginable; see how Chris explored Borneo and Mt Kinabalu for his honeymoon.
Arriving in Australia – Melbourne offers culture, sport, restaurants and shopping by the bucket loads, but wildlife enthusiasts should certainly pay a visit to Philip Island, just 1.5 hours south of the city. Take your seat any evening and you’ll be able to watch the adorable penguin parade as the ‘Little Penguins’ (no more than 33cm in height) waddle out of the sea and up the beach into their nests. As these feathery little wonders a very sensitive to camera flashes, you can’t take any photos - so pay close attention to their every move whilst you’re there!
It’s easy to hire a campervan in Australia, pick up a hire car or even jump on a bus and travel at your own pace. From Melbourne you could easily drive west along the Great Ocean Road, or pick up the Overland train and head to Adelaide. You could even hop on a one hour flight to Tasmania and see the native Tasmanian Devils in the home land! Here are some ideas:
With more time to spend in Australia you could head to Queensland to snorkel through the tropical waters over Great Barrier Reef and spot your own Nemo or visit Western Australia to see kangaroos hopping about on the beach in Esperance and bottle-nosed dolphins in Bunbury. To spot ‘salties’ (saltwater crocs), why not head to Darwin and explore a little of the Northern Territory?
You’ll arrive in Christchurch in New Zealand’s South Island, from where you can make your own way around. Whether you’re looking to trek over glaciers or you’re more interested in thrill-seeking in the adventure capital of Queenstown, there are endless ways to explore. Adam recommends some top places for wildlife experiences in New Zealand’s South Island – before you catch the ferry across to North Island, where Anna has picked her top things to see and do.
New Zealand is so easy to travel independently, whether you choose the bus, a car or campervan or you join a small group trip. With your own wheels (4 or 2!), you could explore the glaciers and Sounds of South Island or the bubbling geothermal areas and distinctive Maori heritage of North Island.
We’ve listed out top 10 day trips for North Island and for South Island to give you an idea of what to see and do. To make sure you’ve ticked off all the highlights, here are some trips which help you see as much as possible:
Clear some space on your camera’s memory card before you reach Ecuador. The volcanic archipelago of the 20 or so Galapagos Islands shelters an array of native species you won’t find anywhere else. Isolated for thousands of years from human contact, you’ll be able to get within touching distance of giant tortoises, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, sea lions and colourful crabs. You could stay on the mainland and venture out on day trips, or the more popular option is to board a cruise and sail from island to island. Read our guide to visiting the Galapagos Islands to help you decide which would suit you best.
Costa Rica is one of the best places for wildlife adventure holidays and you’ll soon become acquainted with the ‘Ticos’ (Costa Ricans’) concept of the ‘pura vida’ way of life. Watch turtles hatching on the Pacific beaches, look out for the 52 different species of hummingbird and that’s before you get to the spider monkeys, tapirs and sloths! With coastlines along two oceans you can surf, swim, snorkel and kayak to your heart’s content or even slide down central America’s longest zip wire against a backdrop of cloud forest, volcanoes and jungle – as Mark did.
If you’re interested in planning a wildlife watching holiday like this, or a trip that includes just a few of these experiences, we can help. Our experienced and well-travelled experts can talk you through exactly what’s possible and build in your dream animal encounters wherever in the world they may be.
To book your trip, call us on +44 1273320580 or request a quote by email.