Responsible wildlife tourism can do much to generate funds for conservation, and help raise awareness that our wildlife is a precious resource that we have to cherish and protect. And the more hectic our tech-driven lives become, the more we need the restorative therapy of a closer connection with nature and wildlife! Here are some holiday ideas for lovers of wildlife and nature in 2020.
Have an ocean adventure
Marine holidays that are led by experts are a wonderful way of experiencing this whole new and fascinating aquatic world. The ocean adventures on offer are many and varied, and most of them will be by boat. Here are just some possibilities:
- Swim with blue whales off the coast of Sri Lanka
- Explore Spitsbergen in search of walruses
- Meet up with some polar bears in Svalbard
- Paddle a sea kayak alongside magnificent orcas in British Columbia
- Swim with whale sharks off Madagascar
- Camp on the ice along the Northwest Passage as you lie in wait for that unicorn of the sea, narwhals, on their Arctic migration!
Do a safari in style
If what you long for in your African safari experience is luxury, you could not choose better than one of the luxury safari lodges in KZN, South Africa! Thanda Safari will provide you a classic Big 5 adventure coupled with luxury, and a commitment to the ethos of conservation and the Zulu culture.
If you would prefer a safari with a difference, how about venturing to Andalucia in Spain, where you can explore the domain of the world’s rarest cat, the Iberian lynx? You might well see some wild boar, black vultures, some threatened marbled teal, and some magnificent red deer as well.
Wildlife experience on a budget
If you prize location, reasonable comfort and good food above luxury, you can still have a wonderful wildlife holiday on a budget. How about a trip to Argentina? You will discover the vibrant culture of historic Buenos Aires and see the amazing wildlife of the Valdes Peninsula: Earless elephant seals, gigantic southern right whales and orcas, and no fewer than four species of penguins – the Humboldt, Magellanic (closely related to the jackass penguin of South Africa), King and the much smaller gentoos.
Then you can follow in Darwin’s footsteps by exploring Tierra del Fuego and the Beagle Channel. Experience the beauty of Los Glaciares National Park, and venture bravely onto the 19 mile long Perito Moreno glacier. End your trip with what is surely one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls that straddle Argentina and Brazil.
Have a reindeer experience in Lapland
Lapland guided reindeer safaris will introduce you to what is very much an integral part of Lapland life and the Sámi people – reindeer herding. It is a truly cultural experience as you will meet the reindeer herders on their farms and get close to the reindeer that are generally very gentle animals. You will also get to experience traveling by reindeer sleigh.
A quick point on Lapland etiquette: never ask a reindeer herder how many reindeer he has. It is tantamount to asking him his salary, and considered very bad manners!
Belize wildlife tour
Tropical Belize is a Central American Caribbean gem that is often overlooked. It has magnificent white beaches and its barrier reef offers some of the best snorkeling in Central America. Its tropical forests and wetlands are home to some of the worlds’ most fascinating wildlife.
These include howler and spider monkeys, crocodiles, scarlet macaws, powerful jaguars, the beautifully marked ocelot, and tapirs. Also found here is the fascinating kinkajou, (a relative of the raccoon), and that fearsome little predator, the jaguarondi – though it’s not much bigger than a housecat!
Visitors can also find out more about the lost Mayan civilization by visiting the ancient sites of Xunantunich, Lamanai and the temples of Tikal in neighboring Guatemala.
As holiday destinations go, North America is so huge and so diverse, it assuredly has something for everybody! Why not explore Alaska, with its towering mountain peaks, glaciers, fjords and plunging valleys? You are likely to see whales or orcas in Resurrection Bay, or spot some Dall sheep on a crag. Look for grizzlies, wolves and caribou in Denali National Park. Or camp alongside the Maclaren River, and then kayak upriver to the Maclaren Glacier. Spot a moose while you hike through the ancient forest of Wrangell-St Elias National Park.
Why not visit the oldest national park in the world, Yellowstone, while the turning leaves cloak it in the most vivid of colors, and see Old Faithful? Yellowstone is one of the best places to spot wolves, grizzlies and black bears. You will almost certainly also see some of the iconic pronghorns, and may even spot a great grey owl, the world’s biggest owl by length.
A wildlife holiday in New Zealand is best centered around exploring New Zealand’s national parks – of which it has 14. These stretch from Tongariro and Te Urewera, situated in the north, to Fiordland/Rakiura in the south. New Zealand’s UNESCO world heritage sites are also a must-see for the wildlife enthusiast.
Most of the parks are fairly easily accessible. They offer truly spectacular scenery and trails to explore.