Observing wild animals in their natural habitat is considered to be the ultimate lifetime enriching experience for any nature lover. Today this has become exceedingly popular because of the large numbers of National Parks and Game Reserves spread all over the planet which allow for easy game viewing. Since nothing gets a nature lover more excited than getting up close to wild animals, we have scanned the corners of the globe to discover ten of the best wildlife holidays where you can see wild animals with your own eyes.
While various television channels portray high class wildlife content which can be viewed in the comfort of your homes, it can in no way be even remotely substituted with actually spotting the denizens of the jungle at close quarters in their God given home. Here’s our pick of the top 10 places to find wildlife in their natural habitat…
Best Destinations For Wildlife Holidays
The going may be rugged and tough, but once you manage your way to North Manitoba along the banks of the Hudson River, you can be assured of a wildlife holiday of a lifetime.
Churchill is one of the few and last remaining settlements in the world, where humans and polar bears live and interact with each other, as they have been doing for centuries. Since these furry animals spend most of the summers eating and storing up food, the ideal time to view them is during the fall season or coming up to winter.
You’ll also have the adventure of a lifetime staying in a tiny village as remote as Churchill – where you’ll feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of big city life, technology, pollution and any sort of noice that isn’t birdlife and hungry polar bears! Don’t forgot to wrap up warm and dress appropriately, preferable with some polar bear-themed clothes!
For those more interested in food than wildlife, this foodie destination guide about Ottawa might peek your interest.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Africa has its fair share of nature reserves, with most of them enjoying their fair share of limelight and the hordes of tourists who are attracted to them. Chobe National Park in Botswana, however,has an identity of its own.
There is no other park in the world where you can watch the big five in complete isolation, with not a soul in sight. This has been made only possible by limiting the number of vehicles to just three in each of the three zones. And if this exclusive safari does not satisfy your taste buds, be a bit more enterprising and opt for a cruise along the Chobe river in the company of hippos and crocs, all of which can be experienced with Naturetrek Wildlife Holidays.
If you’re looking for more adventurous holidays in Africa, read about my Lesotho horse riding adventure.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Some 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, lies this treasure trove of animals endemic only to this remote corner of the globe. The famous group of the Galapagos Islands have remained unaffected by the outside world for so many years, that some of the most unique species of animals like, giant tortoises, iguanas, penguins and many more have thrived here easily, obvious of the presence of the onlookers.
While probably one most popular places in the world for wildlife holidays, with a focus on seeing those much loved giant tortoises, it’s a difficult and expensive destination – which means those who actually make it here will be rewarded 10 fold.
Don’t forget to check out the giant red crabs that inhabit the islands – these crawlers are unlike any crabs you will have seen around the world!
The Amazon Basin, South America
The basin of the mighty Amazon, though synonymous with Brazil, actually extends over such a large area that it can be visited from many other countries in South America, equally well. While Brazil does cover 40% of the catchment area, countries like Peru, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia etc too have their fair share of the waters of this large river.
The spectacular Amazon forests can be explored by staying in a number of beautiful eco lodges and settlements on offer and either rafting down the river or going on canopy walks. Expect to see various types of tropical birds like toucans and parrots, spiders big and small, snakes and maybe even some unwelcome fish species such as the always-hungry piranha!
The third biggest island in the world holds a staggering 400+ of bird species, Asian elephants, Sumatran rhino and above all the highly endangered orangutan.
Nestled between Malaysia, Indonesia and the small kingdom of Brunei, Borneo is a naturalists dream come true. The wildlife is so abundant, that till today new species are being discovered. At the northern part lies the Malaysian state of Sabah, where the Selingan island has gained in popularity as a nesting site for a variety of sea turtles.
Some of the best National Parks and game reserves in the world is located in this region of “endless plains”, as the Serengeti is popularly translated to. There is no other place on earth where at any given time one can watch massive herds of more than two and half million animals in one vast plain!
One can experience safari holidays of a lifetime here, watching the big 5 and the monster crocodiles lying in wait in the rivers, for their yearly migration feast.
Sea of Cortez, Mexico
Between the mainland of Mexico and the Baja California peninsula, lies a stretch of ocean so rich in nutrients, that it has become home to a diverse and unique marine life.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the hunting ground of sharks, dolphins, monster turtles and other varieties of sea life, all limited to this exclusive food-rich habitat. Visitors have the option of taking a guided tour or self paddle to get near them. The lucky ones have come across the largest creature on the earth, the blue whale.
Corbett National Park, India
Over the years, Corbett National Park in the foothills of the Himalayas, in India has become a leader in the attempt to conserve the endangered Bengal tiger. So successful has this exercise been, that enthusiasts flock here in large numbers every season, to get a glimpse of this magnificent animal.
Tiger numbers have been dwindling at an alarming rate worldwide, hence the opportunity available here to see this rare creature in his prime habitat is highly exciting. Apart from the tiger, the park has a sizeable population of elephants as well, along with bear, leopard etc. The best things about India is how cheap it is – allowing you one of the cheapest wildlife holidays in the world with memories to last a lifetime. For more India travel inspiration and wildlife watching, check out this Rajasthan post.
While animals have been decimated around the world by poachers and trophy hunters, Namibia has set an example to the world by its success in rhino conversation. Both the extremely rare black and white rhinos have found sanctuary in the Etosha National Park. This reserve is so impressive, that one view the big cats and the rhinos during any Safari.
You can also read my interview with a Giraffe conservationist who works in Namibia here.
Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica
Camping in the forests of the Corcovado National Park, is said to be an experience of a lifetime. Located on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica, one of the top places to visit in Central America, the park is a heady mix of wet,cloud and mangrove forests. This park is known for its dazzling 400+ bird population and four species of monkeys, all endemic to this region.
Costa Rica is one of the most sought after eco destinations of the world, and the Corcovado park more than enough lives up to its celebrity status.
Wildlife plays an extremely important role in keeping the natural ecosystems in balance, apart from its aesthetic value. A visit to a wildlife destination is not only exciting and memorable, it is an educational experience as well.
It was not easy to separate these splendid places from others which were also good, but in terms of viewing, photography and animal diversity, these top ten havens for wildlife are worth every bit of the reputation they have earned for themselves.