Do you hotly anticipate each new David Attenborough wildlife documentary? Do you find yourself dreaming of seeing Mother Nature’s vast and varied assortment of creatures up close in the natural habitat? If so, we can help you plan an amazing trip with opportunities to get up close and personal with the animal kingdom.
Here’s our idea for a string of wildlife holidays you can build into one big trip.
Are you looking for the ultimate primate experience? Experienced trackers will take you deep into the lush Ugandan forests for a once in a lifetime chance to spot endangered mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Of course, sightings are never guaranteed in the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, but the chance of observing a family of gorillas in the undergrowth is very high. You’ll need to be quiet, give them maximum respect and be ready to crouch down at any given moment. The biologically diverse region also provides a home to over 100 other mammals such as baboons, chimpanzees and elephants. This is a breath-taking experience for any wildlife lover.
Fly into Johannesburg to discover a fast changing and friendly city. It's the jumping off point for any Kruger safari, but before unpacking your binoculars, why not take the chance to stopover and learn about South Africa's rich history. A visit to the Apartheid Museum offers an insight into the country's struggles and chequered past, whilst sharing a drink in one of Soweto's shebeens (drinking holes) guarantees a vibrant evening of dance and laughter.
Kruger National Park is a 4.5 hour drive or 1 hour flight from Johannesburg, and offers some of the very best safari options in the world. Tracking ‘The Big Five’ in a 4x4 on a Kruger Safari will be a huge adventure! The lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros are the five you brought your camera for and waking at early dawn for the first game drive of the day will never feel like a chore. The rising African sun produces incredible silhouettes of stirring animals who become active in the early hours before the heat of the day. Then the orange light of setting sun during the afternoon game drive creates another ethereal atmosphere. Your South Africa safari experiences will be in a raw type of wilderness unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
Asian elephants used to roam all over the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka until human-elephant conflict restricted them to a few national parks and turned their natural habitat into crop fields.
The Sri Lankan elephant (a sub-species of the Asian elephant) is drastically declining in numbers and is thought to be in immediate danger of extinction, but can still be seen at the Elephant Transit Home at Uda Walawe. The elephant orphanage is home to rescued elephants from all around Sri Lanka that have been injured or abused. You can be a huge help to this big project aiding in rehabilitating these astounding creatures.
You’ll feel proud to witness a wonderful project; when you’re wandering alongside the herd, hand feeding an elephant calf and meeting some other like-minded people. As the project is close to the capital city, Colombo you could join a tour and discover the historical and cultural wonders that ‘The teardrop in the Indian Ocean’ has to offer.
If you want to meet the real life ‘man of the forest’ then Borneo is the place for you. Nestled at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve is the rehabilitation centre for Orang-utans, built to care for apes that are on the brink of being critically endangered. The centre cares for injured or orphaned orang-utans who have fallen victim to poachers taking them for the pet trade or loggers destroying habitats.
The centre is doing some fantastic work and is in great need of the funds to carry on to a high standard. You can wander through the forest seeing these playful apes in the wild and there’s a feeding station where the animals are free to indulge if they wish – an ideal photo opportunity!
The reserve is also home to a whole variety of flora and fauna such as mousedeer and wild boar. The edges of the reserve are fringed with mangrove swamps which provide shelter for dugongs and dolphins. Visiting this area of Borneo will be an unforgettable experience and a very valuable way to spend your money.
Little penguins are the smallest species of penguins which adds to the sheer cuteness of this experience. At sunset you will find the shores of Phillip Island slowly filling up with little penguins who, after a long day of fishing, emerge from the ocean and begin to parade up the beach back to their individual burrows. With specially designed walkways and viewpoints so as not to disturb the penguins, visitors will get a bird’s eye view (but sorry no flash photography allowed!).
Situated to the South of Melbourne, Australia, off the southern coast of the Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island is home to an abundance of other wildlife. In Maru Koala and Animal Park you can meet wombats, dingoes, crocodiles and the famous Tasmanian Devil. You could also try hand feeding kangaroos, wallabies and koalas! To make the most of Phillip Island and other destinations along the south coast of Australia – think about hiring yourself a campervan or booking a Melbourne stopover package.
Against a back drop of snow-capped mountains, prepare for the breath-taking sight of a whale slowly curving it’s back, lifting its tail and then hitting the surface to leave behind a ‘whale’s footprint’. Emotions are stirred every time these enormous mammals break the surface - especially knowing that your boat is probably half their size.
During breeding season, males are the more playful of the species elaborately breaching the water all potentially in an act to snare a female. During this once-in-a-life-time encounter you’re likely to experience pods of dusky dolphins elegantly diving through the wake of your boat as well as an almighty albatross or two swooping overhead.
We’ve included a Kaikoura whale watching cruise on our New Zealand self-drive itinerary:
Giant tortoises and marine iguanas, playful sea lions and friendly penguins – you’ll discover them all in the Galapagos. A remote archipelago in the eastern Pacific, the twenty or so volcanic islands that make up this group have wowed everyone from Charles Darwin to David Attenborough.
Isolated for millennia, the islands’ creatures have no fear of humans, so you can stand within touching distance of lava lizards, flightless cormorants and Galapagos mice. Touching is forbidden, alongside a number of other rules, which are enforced to protect the fragile flora and fauna. You could jump aboard a 7 day cruising adventure and sail between the pristine islands, jumping in the clear water to snorkel with sea turtles or stepping ashore to walk beside fur seals and wander through cactus forests.
Costa Rica is one of the must see destinations on the planet right now. An eco-wonder with a Caribbean and Pacific coast, towering volcanoes, lush rainforest and wondrous wildlife; the word is out about this little corner of Central America. World class surf, cloud forest zip-wires and frothing white water rafting combine to make this a thrill seeker’s paradise. Oh, did we mention the chance to spot a sloth snoozing up a tree? That’ll get you grabbing for your camera.
Venture into national parks and spot butterflies, tapirs, scarlet macaws and even jaguars. This nature focussed tour of Costa Rica is also interspersed with hiking, snorkelling and relaxing on the stunning empty beaches of the Caribbean – sounds good doesn’t it?
If you visit during the summer months of July, August and September, you’ll have the option of a night walk to spot nesting green turtles. It’s believed that only 1 in 1000 turtles reaches maturity because of poaching or dogs, crabs and birds picking off baby hatchlings as they make their first journey to the sea.
If your passion is wildlife travel and you like the sound of this trip or something similar – we can help! If there are other animals you'd like to squeeze into your wildlife holiday (perhaps the lemurs of Madagascar?) - we can build each of your chosen destinations into a multi-stop ticket.
We can modify this itinerary to build in your chosen experiences. Call us on +44 1273320580 so we can discuss your ideal route or request a quote by email.