10 holidays that are essential for wildlife enthusiasts
The age of technology has taken us on roundtrips of the world and its unbounding wildlife from the comfort of our living rooms, leaving us with a sense of what’s to see or perhaps that we’ve already seen it. However, there is simply no replacement for finding yourself at the core of some of the most wildlife-rich destinations on earth. Whether battling your way through dense jungle on a gorilla trek, whispering as you approach one of Africa’s “Big Five”, trudging over ice with hopes of meeting a polar creature, or snorkelling alongside sea lions and green sea turtles; the exhilaration cannot be replicated.
With a love for wildlife comes a passion for sustainability. Only through understanding can we know how to help conserve some of the world’s most endangered species. Visit some of the world’s leading sustainable lodges and accommodations, leaving with the knowledge that you’ve aided in its preservation.
Joining wildlife in their natural habitat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and will leave you with memories that will last a lifetime. Today, we’re sharing ten holidays that are essential for wildlife enthusiasts.
Luxury safari holiday in Botswana
Boasting some of the biggest names in the business, Botswana is widely regarded as having some of the best wilderness and wildlife areas on the African continent, including the Okavango Delta, Kalahari Desert and Chobe National Park. With a full 38 percent of its total land area devoted to national parks, reserves and wildlife management areas – for the most part unfenced – exploring Botswana has the feeling of moving through an immense nature wonderland.
In the Kalahari, watch out for giraffe, wildebeest, oryx and brown hyena. Enjoy wonderful photographic opportunities in underground hides offering views of the watering holes where impala and warthog gather. Glide through the maze of oxbow lagoons, swampy grasslands and winding rivers of the Okavango Delta, marvelling at the abundant species all around. Whether it be on horseback, mokoro boat or in a classic 4WD, discover incredible wild animals such as elephants, Kalahari black-maned lions, giraffe, crocodile and much more, before relaxing with a cocktail by the campfire, under the stars. Chobe National Park is renowned for having some of the world’s largest herds of elephants and the Savuti Marsh area is famous for its predators, especially lions and hyenas. Around the rivers and woodlands of the Linyanti Marsh, be on the look-out for large concentrations of lions, painted wolves and leopards.
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda
Follow in the expert footsteps of greats like David Attenborough as you fight through thick jungle forest in spectacular Rwanda. Rwanda is a verdant, landlocked country in East Africa known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills” for its fertile rolling landscape. A luxury safari and gorilla trekking destination, come face to face with mighty silverback gorillas and playful chimpanzees.
Rwanda’s main attraction is Volcanoes National Park, home to half of the world’s gorillas still living in the wild. These amazing animals are greatly endangered and a visit with them will leave an impression on any traveller fortunate enough to witness them. Akagera National Park is not only home to the largest protected wetlands in Central Africa, but it is the last remaining refuge for savannah-adapted species in Rwanda. Witness wildlife like the black rhino, lion, the endangered Masai giraffe and elephant and be sure to take a guided forest walk in search of golden monkeys.
Luxury safari holiday in Tanzania
Perfect for a classic safari holiday, Tanzania, the largest country in East Africa is renowned for its natural beauty and abundant wildlife. Embark on an unforgettable adventure in Tanzania searching for the African “Big Five” and gaining insights into the culture of the indigenous Maasai. Discover the epic, wildlife rich Ngorongoro Crater and the rippling golden plains of the Serengeti. The Serengeti is a world-famous wildlife sanctuary, home to an abundance of wildlife. Perfect for walking safaris, set out with a highly trained park ranger, encountering mighty predators on foot as you follow the tracks and the scents of the bush.
Once a towering and active volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater provides a fertile landscape for a range of animals to roam with one of the most marvellous backdrops in the world framing them. From the base, where Africa’s “Big Five” can be found, the grasslands slope upwards to meet the rim of the crater, where visitors can gaze down at the plains below. A naturally occurring aerial view, observe as rhinos drink from the watering holes and antelopes gallop whilst listening to the roar of lions and other predators that dominate the plains, with the thundering of herds of elephants in the background. It is also one of the finest places to spot black rhino.
Luxury holiday to Elephant Hills, Thailand
Thailand has so much to offer, from magnificent temples and ancient ruins to bustling cities and beautiful palm-studded beaches. It’s also home to a lush rainforest, home to glorious elephants roaming around the green-garbed mountains and tropical verdure. Many of these gentle giants make Khao Sok National Park their home. Elephant Hills is a luxury camp situated just outside of the national park, meeting the highest international standards of ethics. The oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, guests can spend days interacting with the elephants, content in the knowledge that these are some of the happiest elephants in the world. Feed, wash and play with Indian and African elephants in this mutually fulfilling experience that will create lasting memories.
Malay Archipelago and Borneo Luxury holidays
The Malay Archipelago is an incredible destination for wildlife, particularly the heaving island of Borneo. Visitors of the archipelago can arrive to the modern luxuries and excellent dining of Kuala Lumpur before delving into the teeming jungles and highlands. Before you leave the main island, a visit to one of the world’s oldest rainforests, Taman Negara, brings outstanding wildlife viewing opportunities of animals like sun bears, water buffalo, Indian bison, hornbill, the Malaysian tapir and long-tailed Marque monkey.
Borneo is home to some of the most biodiverse jungle terrain in the world, a land full of wonder, where close-up encounters with endangered wildlife become possible. On a luxury holiday to Borneo, get lost in the beauty of the jungle as you follow suspension bridges and overgrown paths in search of famed residents like the orangutan, Sunda clouded leopard and pygmy elephant. A must-visit, deep in the ancient rainforests of Borneo, is the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, where orphaned orangutans are being rescued and learning how to live again. The world’s most famous destination to witness these beloved great apes, watch as younger orangutans learn to be outside for the first time and play on the climbing frames of the nursery. Discover other fascinating nature of Borneo at nearby preservation centres like the Rainforest Discovery Centre and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
Adventures abound along the banks of Borneo’s Kinabatangan River. On a luxury Kinabatangan River safari get ready to explore limestone caves, dryland forests, oxbow lakes and salty mangrove swamps. These rainforest landscapes are teeming with wildlife including elephants, civets, orangutans, monkeys, crocodiles, lizards and hornbills. Just as amazing as the wildlife is Borneo’s unique culture, home to fifty native tribes who live in remote regions and continue to practise the ancient traditions of their ancestors.
Luxury wildlife holiday to Indonesia
Luxury holidays to Indonesia offer marvellous diversity, promising exceptional experiences whether it be off-the-grid adventures or romantic island honeymoons. Home to over 17,000 tropical islands, many parts of Indonesia lie undiscovered, just waiting for the intrepid traveller to stumble upon its spiritual temples and cascading rice fields.
The islands of Komodo National Park are a playground for avid explorers who have a penchant for luxury, with mighty Komodo dragons, manta rays and turtles calling it home. Relax on the pink beaches and hike in search in search of the world’s largest lizards. Setting sail into the world-famous Coral Triangle brings you deep into the crystal-clear waters, through exotic savannah hills and mangroves. The area’s reputation of being an incredible diving and snorkelling spot owes itself to the bounty of tropical fish and spectacular coral beneath the volcanic landscape. Along the tropical islands’ coasts are luxury resorts with plenty of opportunities to discover vibrant coral reefs and turquoise lagoons. While also jam-packed with tropical fish and sea creatures such as manta ray and sea turtles, these beautiful resorts have the added luxuries of a beachfront resort.
Further inland on the island of Sumatra, set out to witness endangered orangutan in their natural habitat, a unique encounter in our modern world. Meaning people of the forest, these beautiful orangutans are only found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. In Bali, pay a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the natural habitat of the Balinese long-tailed macaque.
Costa Rica luxury holiday
Home to 4% of the world’s wildlife species, the many treasures of this tiny country are steadily being discovered by the rest of the world. Despite being less than two thirds the size of Ireland, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse and exciting countries on the planet. Many lodges are located in remote areas, but the superb wildlife viewing makes the journey all worthwhile.
In remarkable Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean Coast, get the chance to experience the wonderful spectacle of mother turtles laying their eggs at nightfall and young turtle hatchlings make their first steps on the Caribbean sands. Explore the freshwater canals and surrounding wetlands, keeping an eye out for the mighty alligator, three-toed sloth and maybe even the incredible jaguar. Arenal Volcano National Park offers a huge variety of exotic birdlife, fluttering around in the jungle canopy, and plenty of other Costa Rican reserves and parks promise endless wildlife adventures such as Bajo Tigre Reserve and Bijagua de Upala.
Luxury adventure holiday to The Arctic
Set out on a great ice adventure to the northernmost region on Earth, home to stark landscapes and some of the world’s most unique wildlife on a luxury adventure holidays to the Arctic. The “Arctic”, meaning bear in Greek, is the home of mighty creatures like the beloved polar bear, the largest land predator in the world. On wild expeditions led by expert wilderness guides, discover these mystifying white beasts among other fascinating creatures like walrus, puffins, various species of whale and the native Arctic fox, renowned for its ability to use Earth’s magnetic field to catch unsuspecting prey.
Undoubtedly, the best way to experience the Arctic region is on a luxury cruise holiday. Expedition voyages are wonderfully rewarding, allowing you to explore vast stretches of ocean and anchor in remote and undisturbed destinations. Embark on exhilarating excursions such as flightseeing, polar bear expeditions, kayaking, hiking and polar plunging.
The ice-encrusted wildernesses of Canada’s Arctic are beguilingly unique and are a short flight from Yellowknife, Canada. Stay in Arctic Watch Wilderness Lodge, taking you on days spent days searching for polar bears, hiking on the frozen ocean, spotting muskoxen and kayaking with beluga whales.
Ecuador & Galapagos luxury holiday
With more biodiversity per square kilometre than any other nation in the world, Ecuador captures the very essence of South America. One of South America’s smallest nations and one of only two not to share a border with Brazil, Ecuador is far more than the gateway to Galapagos. From dense tropical rainforest to towering mountain ranges coated in snow, it’s essentially a continent in miniature form. Home to both the first and second ever UNESCO Heritage Sites, Ecuador offers a luxury holiday filled with wildlife, culture and natural wonder.
Before departing for the Galapagos, mainland Ecuador offers its very own bounty of wildlife, home to sections of the Andes and the Amazon Rainforest. Adventure through the cloud forests and rainforests of Mashpi Rainforest, home to glass frogs, capuchin monkeys, peccaries and even puma. A paradise for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts, guided excursions are aimed at providing the best wildlife viewing opportunities.
Famous for its unique and fearless wildlife, the Galapagos Islands, just off the coast of Ecuador, are best experienced by luxury cruise. Imagine swimming among sharks, walking alongside giant tortoises, sea lions, blue-footed boobies and dazzling yourself with unique landscapes in the world. This is all possible on a luxury holiday to the Galapagos Islands. The archipelago, considered an earthly paradise with 13 major islands, five medium islands and 215 islets, is the home of marine species and exotic birds.
Perfectly suited to families, a land-based luxury holiday to Ecuador creates a comfortable journey that retains the adventure and discovery of any Galapagos holiday. On marvellous expeditions, come up close to the mighty iguana, admire brightly coloured sally lightfoot crabs and kayak off the coastline.
The Amazon Rainforest luxury holiday
A jungle filled with exceptional flora, thrilling wildlife and indigenous territories, the Amazon Rainforest is every adventurer’s dream destination. Spanning nine South American countries and covering approximately two–fifths of the continent, the Amazon is as diverse as it is vast. Lackadaisical sloths, boisterous howler monkeys and capybara families are just a few of the many animals you can spot as you trek through the foliage of the rainforest.
In a remote jungle lodge, spend your days immersed in the Amazon, enjoying limitless activities, with each Amazonian territory offering its very own array of fauna. The Peruvian Amazon promises excursions in search of colourful parrot clay licks and exciting night canoe safaris to spot nocturnal creatures such as caiman and bats. In a treetop lodge, look out for the unique wildlife that frequent below, including iguanas, blue and yellow macaw and hummingbirds. Set off into the jungle and river in search of pink bottlenose dolphins, fish for piranhas and witness spider monkeys, wild pigs, macaws, giant river otters, howler monkeys and maybe, just maybe, you’ll spot the elusive black panther or mighty puma.
A fantastic way to discover the Amazon, a luxury cruise brings you up close and personal to the action, with skiff boat explorations designed to navigate into the most hidden corners of the Amazon. Glide deep into the rainforest, exploring the banks of the river and ultra-remote areas filled with jungle life.