The World's Finest Wildlife Experiences

Lucie Watt

Our planet is full of millions of creatures, great and small. We all have our favourite animals and many travel in search of finding them in the wild, roaming their natural habitats, free from human interference. Fascinating endemic species can be found on every continent and even for budding wildlife enthusiasts, it be hard to narrow down a holiday to just one destination. To lend a helping hand, we’ve rounded up our favourite ten of the world’s finest wildlife experiences, which are possible for holidaymakers to enjoy. The first five are featured below, tune in next week for part two!

Orangutang in a tree in Sumatra Indonesia

Gorillas in Rwanda

Gorilla watching Holidays feature on many bucket lists and ‘the country of a thousand hills’ is the ultimate destination for getting up close to the wild mountain gorillas that inhabit the Volcanoes National Park. There are just 880 or so of these gentle giants left in the wild, so trekking through bamboo forests to visit one of the resident families and spend an hour in their company is truly a life-changing experience. Each group of gorilla relatives consists of at least one Silverback, several females and some youngsters, who are often very curious of human visitors. Rwanda is also home to several other primates including chimps, colobus and golden monkeys, and a whole host of other game.

Penguins in Antarctica

Arguably the world’s least-explored region, the ‘Great White Continent’ is a dream destination for intrepid travellers. A place where penguins far outnumber people and the only transport is in the form of strengthened vessels that meander around giant icebergs, Antarctica remains vastly untouched and this is reflected in the breathtaking scenery and incredible wildlife that can be found by the very few travellers lucky enough to visit. Comical penguins pose and perform for visitors to the Antartic Peninsula while seals snooze on ice floes, safe from orcas and other whales that lurk in the icy waters below. The emperor is the largest of all penguin species and endemic to frozen Antarctica, where the birds face extremely harsh breeding conditions.

Reptiles, Birds and Marine Life in the Galapagos

The Galapagos Islands are a wildlife photographer’s dream as thanks to the absence of predators; the animals that inhabit the archipelago have no fear of humans so remain pretty still when subject of a portrait. These islands, set almost 1000km from the mainland of Ecuador, played a significant role in Darwin’s evolution theory and it’s not hard to see why when you meet some of the indigenous creatures that call this place home. The very best way to explore the Galapagos is by liveaboard boat, allow you to experience the diversity of the islands and the wildlife, however hotels are also available for visitors who prefer to keep their feet on dry land. Giant tortoises, sealions, seals, iguanas, petrels, penguins, flightless cormorants, blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds are amongst the dozens of iconic animals that can be discovered at close range in the Galapagos Islands.

Orangutans of Borneo

The only great ape to be found in Asia, the orangutan is a loveable yet sadly endangered creature, due to the deforestation that is destroying their tree-top homes. The world’s entire orangutan population is split between the Malaysian island of Borneo and the island of Sumatra, in Indonesia, and the total number remaining in the wild sits at no more than 23,000. A holiday to Borneo provides visitors with the opportunity to explore tropical rainforests to see orangutans in the wild, plus visit the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at Sepilok for guaranteed sightings. Guests staying at the Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu can also visit the onsite nature reserve where a wide range of wildlife activities are available, including orangutan viewing and canopy walks through the jungle.

Whale Watching

The giants of the ocean provide superb holiday entertainment for visitors to many destinations across the globe. Various whale species can be spotted off the coastlines of the USA, the Caribbean, the Azores, Iceland, New Zealand and many other places at different times of the year, and can be viewed on day-trips from resorts. However, some of the finest whale watching opportunities can be found in the Lofoten Islands just off of northern Norway, where orcas are commonly seen feeding on Atlantic herring from late October to the end of January, and South Africa, between Cape Town and Durban, where southern right whales visit between June and November and the coastal town of Hermanus has a dedicated annual Whale Festival at the end of September.

 

**This blog post was previously published on Medway Leisure Travel, now trading as Pettitts Travel**