Safari holidays aren’t just about Africa. All over the world there are opportunities for safari adventures and granted you can’t see the Big Five everywhere but you can witness tigers hiding among the trees, sloth bears relaxing in the jungle sun, colourful toucans flying over head and even a brown bear sloping off into the distance. Safari holidays are not just about getting in a jeep and crossing the dusty plains of Africa, although an African safari is one of the ultimate wildlife experiences in the world, there are walking and canoe safaris, snorkeling safaris in the Red Sea and the Galapagos and night time game drives. Here are my top three wildlife destinations.
If you’re an animal lover and like the thrill of the chase then an African Safari, whether a traditional jeep excursion across the Serengeti or a canoe down the delta in Botswana, is the ultimate wild adventure. Witness the annual Great Migration in Tanzania between May/June and August, and Kenya from July/August to September. This is when 2 million plus wildebeest, zebra and their many predators make the annual journey to the western corridor of the Serengeti in search of fresh grazing. There isn’t a spectacle quite like this anywhere else on earth. Further south go in search of the elusive rhino in South Africa, take a mokoro through the Okavango Delta spotting hippos, elephants and crocodiles and in Madagascar meet the many lemurs that make this island unique. In Namibia combine sand dune boarding and treks with cheetahs, leopards and the game abundant waterholes of Etosha.
For most travelers India and Nepal are all about trekking and cultural experiences but in fact the game and wildlife in these Asian beauties is bountiful. In both India and Nepal spotting the Bengal Tiger is a must for any visitor, visit Ranthambore National Park in India and Chitwan National Park in Nepal for optimum sightings and look out for the one-horned rhino famous in this area. In addition the steamy Chitwan jungle is home to wild boar, bison, 400 species of bird and the unique long-nosed ‘Gharial’ crocodile. India’s national parks and game reserves are dotted across the country and house the sloth bear, Bengal tiger, jungle cats, sambar, nilgai and crocs to name just a few. Leopards often hunt around the peripheral of the parks too so keep an eye out.
The Galapagos Islands
There is so much to say about this archipelago and yet so little is still known about its existence and the creatures that live there. If there is one place in the world to visit before you die it’s the Galapagos. Here animals move alongside humans with little or no fear, they are happy to share their lives in the sea and on land with whichever visitor happens upon them. Swimming with sea lions, wandering among the somewhat hideous iguana and talking to a giant tortoise is something simply impossible anywhere else in the world with purely wild animals. For bird lovers the Galapagos skies are filled with the Galapagos Dove and mocking birds, and on the ground the waved albatross nests and attempts to take flight. Not only are birds in abundance the islands provide amazing snorkel safari opportunities white tipped reef sharks, turtles and tortoise, angel fish and more.
These are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the world’s greatest wildlife offerings. For the adventurous a polar expedition to see Polar Bears, whales and penguins is an unforgettable trip as are jungle walks through the Amazon rainforest. The possibilities are endless.