The likes of Steve Irwin, David Attenborough and National Geographic have brought the incredible drama and majesty of nature into our living rooms in recent decades. But nothing can ever match the thrill of witnessing it with your own eyes on responsible wildlife holidays.
The memories you’ll create are sure to last a lifetime, be it rare sightings of your favourite animals or the jaw-dropping environments they inhabit. Read up on seven of the ultimate wildlife holiday experiences below, spanning five continents in total.
The rugged Central American country of Costa Rica boasts proportionately more protected land than any other nation – making it the ideal home for a diverse array of wildlife.
On a Costa Rican wildlife adventure, you could spot two and three-toed sloths, screaming howler monkeys, screeching toucans and nesting green turtles. In between all that you might be able to squeeze in a whale watching trip too – or simply kick back on golden sands.
A classic African safari is perhaps the first image most people will think of when discussing wildlife holidays. But there’s plenty to discover beyond going in search of the ‘Big 5’ on the plains of Kenya and Tanzania.
Uganda is renowned for its abundant wildlife, with trips here offering the chance to get up close and personal with chimpanzees and gorillas in dense, lush forests. Zimbabwe and Botswana tours meanwhile take in the cascading Victoria Falls and the meandering Okavango Delta.
Madagascar sits just off the cost of East Africa and is a paradise for wildlife lovers. The chief attraction is of course its lemurs – the stars of its namesake animated film – with over 70 species spread throughout the country.
Any Madagascan wildlife adventure worth its salt is bound to take in at least one of its many national parks, including the Ranamofana, Isalo and Tsimanampetsotsa. Try saying those names three times backwards!
The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador are a volcanic archipelago that stands as arguably the world’s most famous wildlife-viewing destination. Did you know Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution was inspired by the species he found here in the 19th Century?
Highlights include penguins, giant tortoise, sea lions, sharks and rays – as well as land and marine iguanas.
The second-most populous country in the world is also home to one of the most entrancing endangered species around – the Bengal tiger. Catching a glimpse of one of these cats in its natural habitat is a privilege you won’t forget in a hurry.
Take a game drive through India’s vast national parks and see if you get lucky.
Alaska is one of America’s last great wildernesses. A holiday here could include encounters with grizzly bears – ideally from a distance – as well as humpback whales, sea otters and porpoise.
But you won’t be disappointed if they don’t decide to show themselves. With its rainforests, fjords and glaciers, Alaska’s scenery is enough in itself.
Australia plays host to the only living thing visible from space – the Great Barrier Reef. Though at risk from climate change, tours of the world’s largest coral reef still take in a great variety of marine life and tropical island scenery.
Snorkelling and scuba diving are just two of the activities you could enjoy once you arrive.