The world is full of amazing wildlife adventures for you to experience. For lovers of animals and wildlife, these adventures make traveling so much fun. For travelers, it is different experiences and reasons for different people. Many travelers crave a combination of wildlife and comfort, and so they include wildlife visits to their travel itinerary.
For some, adventure without rest may be key, as the animals come with a white-knuckle ride. Others love the culture and historical places where some of these animals are found. While some people simply want to see many common animal species such as birds, mammals, or butterflies, etc.; Others are only looking for special animals, like tigers, sharks, dolphins, or giant animals like an elephant.
No matter your reasons for wildlife travel, we’ve put together a list of great places for you, as long as you love watching animals at the sites.
Safari in Africa
Africa boasts many exotic animals in their natural habitat – in the form of parks and game reserves amid the dusty multicolored savannas and exotic African jungles.
Years ago, safaris were exclusively for the wealthy, due to how expensive they could be. However, these days there are all kinds of flexible budget options too that make the dream possible for a much wider range of animal-loving holiday makers.
The goal of most safari-goers is animal spotting – seeing the ‘Big Five’ which includes lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, cheetah and rhino.
The main safari destinations in Africa are Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Snorkel with Whale Sharks – Yucatan Coast, Mexico
Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet – growing up to 40 feet in length and weighing up to 20,000 pounds. Off the coast of Yucatan in Mexico, around the idyllic tropical island of Holbox, these giant creatures congregate from June to September. However, the best months are July and August, when their population is highest.
Plenty of tours are offered around this area to take you by boat to catch a glimpse of these beautiful giants with their distinctly spotted skins and huge raised flippers swimming and feeding just below the surface.
The vistas from the boats are great but nothing beats the experience of plunging into the water with snorkeling gear to swim beside or on top of. Whale sharks are filter feeders which means they suck up microscopic plankton and baby fish with their giant mouths. This makes them look like whales, even though they are technically from the shark family. Because of this, humans are safe around them. This is what makes snorkeling so popular and so fun in places like Mexico’s Yucatan coast. Places like the Philippines and South Africa, also have snorkeling around whale sharks.
Experience the diverse wildlife of Finland
Finland is one of the most popular wildlife destinations in Europe, and for good reason. Brown bears, wolves, lynxes, and beavers live in the forests that cover 86 percent of the country. Bear spotting is one of the most popular wildlife tours in the Scandinavian country. Elimyssalo Nature Reserve is a place where you can spend the night in one of the specially designed bear skins.
Finland also has great opportunities for bird watchers, and is home to six different species of owl. Kuusamo in the east and Oulu in the west are both popular bird watching spots and breeding grounds for hundreds of species of birds.
Some treks allow you to sit in a specially converted shelter and wait for the animals to appear so you can safely observe and take photos.
Organized tours provide accommodations, usually in log cabins or lodges, where bear and lynx tracking will take you deep into the forest. There are a few dedicated eco-hotels out there, but why not embrace the cold and book a night’s stay at Finland’s Ice Hotel, which, as the name suggests, is carved from ice and snow.
You can also see wolves, reindeer, moose, elk, and wolverines
Experience the cold wilderness of Alaska, USA
In the heart of Alaska, winter begins in October and doesn’t end until May.
With bald eagles soaring through the skies, humpback whales flashing their blowholes in the water, and hungry bears scurrying rivers for salmon, Alaska offers a feast of wildlife travel adventures.
Denali National Park is a good place to spot Alaska’s version of Africa’s Big Five: moose, caribou, Dall’s sheep, wolves, and grizzly bears. Alaska actually contains about 70% of the total number of brown bears in North America and the majority of grizzly bears. So are black bears and Kodiak bears.
Many visitors on cruise ships come through the Inside Passage, where you can often see marine animals such as sea otters, Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and various species of whales.
Discover the diverse fauna of Kenya
Kenya is home to many animals and offers diverse wildlife experiences. The most popular wildlife experience in Kenya is a visit to a safari – the most popular being the Masai Mara National Reserve. Other wildlife experiences in Kenya include Lake Nakuru. It is home to thousands of flamingos that flock to the lake to cool off from the summer heat in January and February.
You can also travel to the beautiful coast of Kenya and spend a full day snorkeling and diving at Watamu Marine Park. There you will find endangered sea turtles, whale sharks and spinner dolphins!
Visit the national parks of India
Journey deep into the heart of India to discover the royal stripes of the Bengal tiger. There are four national parks to explore in this unique wildlife destination, giving you the best chance of spotting this majestic big cat as well as other endemic wildlife including sloth bear and sambar deer.
Head to Lake Tewa to see the Mugger crocodile lurking in the shallows, and on a jeep safari through Kanha National Park we hope to see guar, mongoose and leopard.
The unique fauna of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
The Galapagos Islands in Ecuador are full of amazing wildlife. Ecuador has wide biodiversity and is in fact one of the most wildlife-rich countries in the world, mainly due to its range of different habitats. The animals of the Galapagos are located far from modern life, and are less afraid of humans, so the chance of a close encounter is great.
Made famous by Charles Darwin’s study of plants and animals and his theory of natural selection, the Galapagos Islands are one of the world’s premier animal-watching destinations.
Some of the more famous residents unique to these islands are the 170-year-old Galapagos tortoise, the only surviving marine iguana on land, the Galapagos finches that played a huge role in Darwin’s theory, and the Galapagos penguin, the youngest and only penguin north of the island. equator, and much more.
Appointment with Komodo Dragons – Komodo National Park, Indonesia
Komodo National Park was established in 1980 to help protect the largest lizard in the world – the Komodo dragon, and the following year it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is home to about 5,700 giant lizards. These lizards weigh up to 150 pounds and can reach 10 feet in length. Komodo dragons are an endangered species. Seeing these magnificent lizards in the wild on their home island in Komodo National Park is an adventure to behold.
The park actually covers several islands in the Indonesian archipelago and the great Komodo dragon lives on many of these islands.
Fun fact, Komodo Island is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature.
However, most tour operators will take you by boat – usually from Flores or Lombok – to Komodo or Rinca (or both) to head out on a hot and sweaty journey in search of the world’s largest lizard.
Snorkel to watch manatees in Florida
Florida is home to the largest population of endangered manatees in the world during the winter season. It’s a great site to see them frolicking in the warm water. Florida is the only place in the United States where you can legally swim with manatees. Also known as the “sea cow,” the manatee is a sweet and delicate animal. There are many eco-friendly tour options in Florida to see these amazing animals in their natural habitat.
Getting a chance to meet these curious and gentle giants in their natural habitat is an adventure that no one will ever forget!
Places like Crystal River have many resident manatees all year round. The best and most popular manatee swimming area in Crystal Springs is Kings Bay. Here you will find about 10% of the total manatee population in Florida. During these months, tons of manatees travel to the state to take advantage of the gushing warm spring waters.
Discover an unparalleled experience on the island of Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a hot spot for some of South Asia’s best wildlife. It has a variety of fauna including large animals and marine life. Cheetah, elephant, sloth bear, blue whale, and sperm whale are known wildlife attractions in the country. These species are only a part of the large number of wild animal species in the country. The crown jewel of Sri Lanka’s wildlife is the Sri Lankan leopard. Yala National Park is celebrated as the best place on earth to see leopards as its leopard density is unparalleled
It is also famous for being a birder’s paradise with a range of endemic, migratory and resident birds found in 70 Important Bird Areas scattered across the diverse landscape. Sri Lanka is also famous for its abundance of exotic plants.
Sri Lanka is where you will find Mihintale – The first protectorate in the world, created in the third century BC! Fast forward to the present, and the country boasts over 100 protected land areas for wildlife.