An escape into nature and the wild is a wonderfully restorative experience in our busy lives. But with all the amazing destinations on offer to today’s wildlife traveler where to go is not a straightforward decision. To help you we’ve highlighted some of the marvelous destinations on offer to activate your wildlife escape ‘thinking cap’!
#1 – Brilliant Borneo
The incredibly biodiverse Borneo rainforest is a living and breathing natural treasure trove! It houses no fewer than 420 bird species, more than 220 mammal species, a staggering 15,000 flowering plant species, and 3,000 different kinds of trees. Borneo’s varied landscapes include jungles, mangroves, swamps, beautiful crater lakes, volcanoes, paddy fields, cloud forests, and beautiful coral reefs and beaches. Activities include cruises, island hopping, climbing, caving, diving, and a host more!
Borneo’s unique fauna includes iconic orangutans, proboscis monkeys, gibbons, Asian elephants, Sumatran rhinos and sun bears. Other fascinating animals here are the rare Sunda clouded leopard, bearcats (binturong), tiny ‘fanged’ mouse deer (chevrotain), tarsiers, and bearded Bornean pigs. And don’t forget their awe-inspiring Komodo dragons!
#2 – The Portuguese Azores
This beautiful mid-Atlantic archipelago of nine islands is characterized by dramatic landscapes, green fields, charming fishing villages – and miles and miles of stunning, vibrantly-colored hydrangea hedgerows! And whale-watchers and marine enthusiasts, take note – the Azores are also one of the very best places on the planet to see whales. Blue, sei, fin, pygmy sperm, pilot, beaked and humpback whales frequent these waters. So do orcas, manta rays, several species of dolphins, seals and turtles. And bird lovers, just listen to this – ducks, geese, waterfowl, pheasants, flamingos, parrotbills, buntings, nightjars, albatrosses, and a multitude of other birds (400 species!) are found here. So are several bat species, hedgehogs, weasels, the Saint Miguel cattle dog, and the Barbado da Terceira, a herding and guard dog. Activities on the islands include biking, hiking, canyoning, kayaking, canoeing, horse riding, diving, snorkeling, stand-up paddling and surfing.
#3 – Super Sweden
With 30 national parks, Sweden offers the wildlife traveler pristine landscapes, beautiful lakes and accessible natural wonders. Much of the country is covered by dense subarctic coniferous forests. Best explore this wilderness with an experienced wildlife tracker. You’ll see moose, endangered arctic foxes, red foxes, elusive lynxes, wolverines, and beavers. Birders will be in their element with 552 bird species on record!
You might even see a brown bear! The safest way to do so is from a safe hide with that experienced tracker! Track wolves in their natural habitat, learn about Sami reindeer herding, or Viking life on Gotland. Why not sleep in an ice, tree, or underwater hotel? Enjoy a cruise, a ‘golden egg sauna, a dog sled ride, hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, or a northern lights safari.
#4 – The incredible Greater Kruger, South Africa
For an authentic African safari experience, there’s no place better than the Greater Kruger in South Africa. With millions of protected hectares given over to conservation, the area holds a massive diversity of wildlife. This not only includes the sought-after Big Five, but close on 500 different bird species, and almost 150 mammal species. The sunny climate ensures game viewing is exceptional all year round.
A range of accommodations is available to visitors, including luxury stays in some of the best lodges in the Kruger National Park. Guests are assured of sumptuous facilities, personalized service, and world-class cuisine. Day and night game drives are on offer, as well as self-drive options in the Kruger Park itself. Expert guides are available for guided day walks, eco-trails, and backpacking excursions. Boma and bush ‘braais’ (barbecues), breakfasts and dinners, sundowners in the bush, and interesting activities for kids make every stay unforgettable.
#5 – Beautiful Belize, Central America
Previously known as British Honduras, this English-speaking Commonwealth country was the last British colony on the American mainland and became independent in 1981. It’s located just south of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula and is a land of jungle, mountains and swamps, that is super-rich in extraordinary wildlife. From jaguars to crocodiles to howler monkeys, toucans to tapirs to slow-motion sloths, Belize is a superb wildlife destination.
With other big wild cats like puma, jaguarundi and margay, vibrantly colorful parrots, toucans and macaws also in the mix, a rewarding wildlife experience is assured. Also, visit some Mayan sites, snorkel on the stunning Belize barrier reef, and go birding in the wetland areas.
#6 – Marvelous Yellowstone National Park, Montana, USA
Visiting Yellowstone National Park approximates an African safari best! There are large numbers of grazing herbivores like moose, mule deer, mountain sheep, bison, and pronghorn antelope. Predators like gray wolves, mountain lions, coyotes, red foxes, and grizzly bears stalk them. With canyons, mountains, waterfalls, and geysers, Yellowstone ensures dramatic natural environments.
In spring, you’ll be privileged to see baby elk and bison, as well as bear cubs and other baby animals around Yellowstone. This is also when bears come out of hibernation. During the fall, the herbivores fight for breeding rights ensuring very dramatic wildlife sightings. The winter months from December to March are the best times to see gray wolves. Birders will be delighted to spot magnificent bald eagles, hawks and osprey.
2023 beckons with many great wildlife escapes and experiences. Don’t be slow in making this the year for your best wildlife adventures ever!
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