You guys might have worked out by now that I kind of love animals (by kind of, read my life pretty much revolves around animals in some shape or form), so it probably comes as no surprise that a lot of my holiday destination choices are often influenced by the wildlife that inhabits in that area. My poor boyfriend has pretty much come to accept that pretty much every trip we take will encounter one species or another. For me observing animals in their natural environments is beautifully captivating, in some ways incredibly calming so I thought today I would share with you a travel bucket list for animal lovers.
Safari in Africa
An obvious choice and one that ranks pretty high on most people’s bucket lists. I was lucky enough to visit the Kruger National Park at the start of this year and it was everything I imagined and more, truly a day that will stay with me for the rest of my life. There are so many different game reserves all over Africa but I would really recommend visiting a big five game reserve, having said that ensure you do not just focus on the big five as Africa is home to hundreds of amazing lesser-known species. The David Attenborough ‘Africa’ perfectly captures Africa’s wildlife and the fuel you need to start booking your flights.
Observing Orca in Iceland
Apart from the northern lights, Iceland is a must for whale watching. Over twenty species of Cetacean frequent the waters around Iceland, including Minke, Humpback, Blue whale as well as my favourite the Orca. While sightings are not guaranteed, you have the most chance of sighting these magnificent beasts between February and March, which is also a great time to try to catch the Northern Lights! Book through a long-standing Icelandic tour company as these guys will know the best areas for sightings, this trip is something I really hope to accomplish in 2017!
A Jungle Cruise to see wild Orangutan
The Bornean Rainforest is home to the massively cute orange creatures and what better way to see them, than seeing them swing through the trees. A few tour operators in Malaysian Borneo offer the opportunity to spend a few nights on board a boat observing the primates wild and free. As well as Orangutans you may also spot Proboscis Monkeys, Pygmy Elephants and many more rare species. I am actually going to Malaysia in November to do this and I am so excited, so expect blog posts!
Track Bears in British Columbia
From late August to October, the Canadian bears are drawn to the Salmon spawning streams that flow into the river which is the perfect opportunity to observe them hunting to prepare themselves for winter hibernation (which lasts for up to seven months!), it also said to be the best time of year to spot cute cubs. For obvious safety reasons, I would recommend booking this one through a tour operator as well!
Spot Polar Bears in the Arctic
The cuddly face to the ugly problem of global warming; I feel seeing the struggling Polar bear species would be a beautiful but powerful moment. Due to the endangered species of these bears, as with all your animal trips, it is important to ensure you are travelling with tour companies that are actively trying to minimise their environmental actions. Can you imagine how amazing this experience would be?
Gorilla tracking In Uganda
Imagine coming face to face with these gentle giants in Ugandan Forest? The intelligence of Primates is something I have come to understand and respect so much over the past year since volunteering with Baboons, but with Gorillas being so similar to us I feel this experience would be life-changing.
Top Tip: when researching your trips, it is good to use words and phrases such as ‘responsible’ and ‘eco-tourism’ to find the tour companies you will want to travel with.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg, there are so many magnificent responsible animal experiences you can partake in on your travels and often these can be done over a day or two, leaving you with plenty of time to explore the rest of the area you are in or even travel to another destination. For more trip ideas I recommend the book Destination Wildlife by Pamela Brodowsky, which will have your booking flights in no time.
Would you add any of these to your bucket list?
Thinking of volunteering with animals? Read my post about volunteering with animals in Thailand