When travelling abroad, alongside seeing the sites and being immersed in a new culture, animal experiences top the list of things to do. Here are some of the best:
Orangutans in Borneo
Divided between Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, Borneo is the world’s third-largest island packed with plenty of natural assets: underground caves, pristine orangutan-filled rainforests, dramatic waterfalls, sparkling white-sand beaches, and half of the planet’s known plant and animal species. In the state of Sabah, you can embark on a trek to the peaks of Mount Kinabalu, spot hatching turtles and cruise the Kinabatangan River to see orangutans and baby-faced Borneo pygmy elephants.
Anyone who has seen the animated movie Madagascar knows the place is teeming with unique animals and wildlife. In fact, 80 per cent of the species on the island are found nowhere else on earth – including birds, chameleons and, of course, the lemurs. Trek through the forest reserves, paddle a canoe through the mangroves and watch whales and dolphins off the coast. Night walks bring you closer to rare nocturnal species, and jungle treks reveal mongoose, fossa and the eerie, whale-like songs of the lemurs.
Polar bears in Canada
There are many reasons to explore the Great White North, but the best is surely the magnificent and beautiful wildlife which is native to Canada. A true representation of this beauty and a sight not to be missed is the Manitoba polar bear. Many tours in the Manitoba province of Canada give you the opportunity to track a polar bear across the frozen tundra, explore the history of the fur trade, or just watch these magnificent creatures blending in with their surroundings or making new friends. Tourists can get close to the polar bears by travelling in specially designed ‘tundra buggies’, which travel across the ice and protect tourists from the animals.
Whales and penguins in Antarctica
Visiting Antarctica is a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. Vast colonies of penguins, seals and seabirds populate a white wilderness of soaring glaciers, cliffs and icebergs, while the icy waters are home to humpback whales and many others. It may be cold and isolated, but the unspoiled beauty is worth it for many travellers.
A Galapagos Islands holiday offers one of the most unique and unforgettable wildlife experiences on earth – a living laboratory of evolution where birds and animals have no fear of humans. From breeding boobies and flightless cormorants to marine iguanas and giant tortoises, the fearlessness and diversity of the animal life is astounding.
Have you taken any wildlife holidays? Where are some of your favourite wildlife destinations?