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