6 Types of Wildlife Safaris

Posted on October 20, 2010 by

Getting up close and personal to wildlife and nature is an experience unlike no other. As a huge fan of wildlife-watching, I like to seek out far-flung corners of the world to mingle with wild animals, be it brown bears in Alaska or blue-foot boobies on the Galapagos Islands. Each of them provide a different experience, whether you are trekking through a rainforest or scuba-diving in the depths of an ocean. I’ve previously written about 7 of the Best Wildlife Experiences, now here’s a list of 6 different types of safaris, each with different wildlife and habitat in mind.

1. African Jeep Safari

One of the most rewarding and popular wildlife experiences is an African jeep safari. The Big Five is the dominant wildlife to be spotted in the savannahs of East Africa, and the most popular destinations for jeep safaris include Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana. The Serengeti National Park is the largest and most diverse game reserve in Tanzania. These safaris range from luxury safaris to basic camping safaris, depending on your budget and preference. For more information, check out my post on Top 5 African Countries for Wildlife Watching.

Jeep safari in Tanzania

 

2. Gorilla Safari

In contrast to the jeep safaris, gorilla safaris are carried out on foot. Trekking through wet, tropical rainforests, you get to tiptoe right up to a wild gorilla and see it in its natural habitat. Rwanda and Uganda are excellent places for gorilla safaris. The two main parks for gorilla tracking in Uganda are Mgahinga and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Gorilla safari in UgandaFlickr Photo by hjallig

3. Tiger Safaris

The numbers of tigers left in the world are dwindling, and India is perhaps one of the rare few countries where you can still see tigers in the wild. Ranthombore National Park in Rajasthan, Northern India, is home to the highest population of Bengal tiger in the world, although these days, spotting is rather rare. Besides tigers, you can also find Marsh crocodiles, mongoose and hyenas in the area.

Tigers in IndiaFlickr photo by ianduffy

4. Galapagos Cruise Safari

The Galapagos Islands are definitely one of the best places in the world to see rare, endemic wildlife that are not the least bit afraid of human beings. Spot blue-footed boobies, swim with sea lions, hammerhead sharks or observe giant land lizards the size of a komodo dragon. But be warned, the Galapagos is highly protected from the government officials and is not a cheap place to visit, here’s my guide on How to See the Galapagos Islands on the Cheap.

Land lizards in Galapagos

5. Whale-Watching Excursions

In several parts of Canada and Alaska, there are several wildlife-watching opportunities that bring you close to humpback whales, brown bears and moose. In a recent trip to Southeast Alaska, our cruise spotted 32 whales breaching simultaneously. Excellent places for such wildlife excursions are Knight Inlet, Canada and Frederick Sound, Alaska.

Whale watching in Alaska

6. Polar Bear Expeditions

Polar bears are a rare sight, but there’s one place in the world where they can be spotted quite easily. Located on the western shore of Hudson Bay in Canada’s Manitoba province, Churchill is a popular destination to observe polar bears. Each year from October through early November, hundreds of polar bears move from the inland area to gather on the immense peninsula. They wait for the bay to freeze so that they can go hunt for ringed seals. This is the best time of the year to visit Churchill for some ground hiking and wildlife-watching.

 

Polar bears in ManitobaFlickr photo by acastellano

*Photos not credited above were taken by myself. They cannot be used without permission.

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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

5 Responses to “6 Types of Wildlife Safaris”

  1. Chloe Johnson October 20, 2010 10:53 pm
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    Amazing photos! Africa is my number 1 ‘must-see’ destination thanks to my father who has always told me incredible stories about his backpacking days in the 80s. One day I’ll get there ….

    • Nellie October 20, 2010 10:21 pm
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      Thanks Chloe for dropping by! Africa's one of my favorite continents, and I've yet to explore much of it. Tanzania left incredible memories in my mind, and I'll surely be back soon!

  2. Camels & Chocolate October 21, 2010 6:38 am
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    Oooh I did the gorillas in Rwanda this spring, and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life, hands down! I was in the Arctic Circle (Svalbard) last year and did not, however, see a single polar bear! Next time I happen to be in the area, ha.

  3. Natalie October 21, 2010 4:19 pm
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    Number two or number five. Definitely. If I had to pick between the two then I would opt for the Gorilla Safari.

  4. Charu September 11, 2012 3:41 pm
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    Loved this post…thanks for deconstructing, Nellie! I have been on the African Jeep Safari but would love to go on the Whale Watching and Gorilla one. Lovely pictures too!