The best animal encounters you'll ever have
Posted on 12th September 2019 at 14:36
We’re firm believers that animals do not belong in zoos. The best way to observe our planet’s wondrous species of animals is in the wild, where they belong. Let us introduce you to the planet’s weirdest and most wonderful, and where you’ll be able to enjoy close encounters without the barrier of a cage.
Trek the jungles of Africa looking for Mountain gorillas
There can be no greater wildlife experience than looking into the eyes of an animal so like ourselves. Mountain gorillas can only be reached by a guided trek through the East African jungle, as they move constantly searching for food. There are currently only two gorilla family groups left in the wild, so this experience is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get close to these gentle giants. Get your hiking boots and cameras ready.
Mountain gorilla numbers reached critical lows in the past, but with the assistance of NGOs like the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, the Gorilla Organisation and many more, Mountain gorillas in the lush jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Uganda are slowly recovering their numbers.
Visit the lemurs of Madagascar
Made popular by Dreamworks Animation’s 2005 film “Madagascar”, lemurs were pretty much only visited by researchers, scientists and wildlife lovers due to the remote location of Madagascar island. Now that they’ve gained more exposure, we’re better able to understand their behaviour and ultimately protect their habitat.
Lemurs are found nowhere else on the planet. Once Madagascar split from the supercontinent of Gondwana, the island was totally isolated. Flora and fauna thrived here, making them extremely unique.
The best place to see lemurs in Madagascar is Ranomafana National Park, 161 square miles of lush forests that hide incredible reptiles, sifaka and rare amphibians.
Dive alongside whale sharks in Mozambique
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the seas, despite their name, they are not related to whales at all. They swim passively from ocean to ocean, looking for krill, plankton, fish eggs and other small nutrient-rich food sources, which they suction into their gaping mouths.
Whale sharks are regulars off Tofo beach in Mozambique, and getting a qualified guide to take you on a whale shark excursion is simple and inexpensive. These majestic fish are typically unafraid of humans, so getting up close is possible and equally as thrilling.
Enjoy breakfast with giraffes
The famous Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya, is a safe haven for the endangered Rothschild giraffe. These curious creatures reside on the grounds of the lush manor, and are known to stick their heads in the windows of the conservatory, looking for a morsel from delighted breakfast guests. If you’re going on a safari in Kenya, make sure you stay at this child-friendly, magical place.
Meet the orangutans of Borneo
Recently, the plight of the orangutan has made international headlines. With the destruction of the forests that they call home, in favour of palm-oil plantations used for so many commercial food products, the future of orangutans are uncertain.
There are, however, sustainable, ecotours available, run by responsible operators that will show you the orangutans secret hideouts. While you can trek for the Orangutans on foot, the best experience is a boat trip down the Lower Kinabatangan River, where there are reportedly a little more than 1000 of these animals. Not only will you be able to enjoy a caml cruise down the beautiful river, but it’s much more affordable than other areas of the country for orangutan-spotting.
See thousands of elephants along the Chobe River, Botswana
Credit: Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero Lodge
The Chobe River in Botswana is famous for its large elephant population. In fact, a recent census indicates that 130 000 elephants can be found in Botswana, with 50 000 of these concentrated in the Chobe National Park. While a safari on foot will bring you closer to these intelligent animals, the best way to enjoy elephant sightings is from a boat cruise on the river. Here you’ll be able to observe the elephants in close proximity, while they thirstily drink from the quenching river. Usually heavily protected by the herd, elephant calves will be easier to spot too.
The best time to visit is between June and October.
Spot playful orcas in Antarctica
Not typically considered a tourist destination, Antarctica is an off-the-beaten-track experience that will really challenge your perspective of travel. Here, icy landscapes and glaciers host a variety of marine life, and have the largest population of orcas on earth. These top predators feed along the peninsulas, easily accessible by guided boat excursions. Look out for rare minke whales.
Best time to see orcas is between February and March.
With plastic pollution, deforestation, poaching and human encroachment, the planet’s animals are in dire straits. While organisations around the world work tirelessly to preserve the earth’s natural resources, it’s not enough to simply stand back and watch. We believe that tourism should assist in preserving the planet and our precious animals, and endeavour to create incredible and ethical experiences.
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