Bringing you part 2 of the series on the world’s best places for wildlife spotting.
From India to the Amazon, this world is covered with amazing destinations where you can see creatures in their natural habitats. Remember that conservation does not always need to be captivity, and by preserving the natural environments of these animals we have a chance to see them for many years to come.
I’ve asked travel bloggers around the world what their favourite destinations for wildlife spotting are and the verdict is in – read on for some travel inspiration.
The Alcan Highway, Alaska
Up in the North, there’s a game we like to play on our road trips called Animal Bingo. All you need is a car, a camera, a good eye for spotting wildlife and an endless desire for a wild adventure. Whoever can catch all the big game, on film of course, wins! The most common sightings in this game are black bears, moose, eagles, elk, bison, Dahl sheep, caribou and rabbits, but if you have a really good eye you might spot a lone wolf or a grizzly bear for the big win. The Alcan Highway, which stretches over 1,300 miles of untouched wilderness through Alaska and Canada, is home to some of the world’s most fascinating animals and is one of the world’s top destinations for animal life encounters. So, what are you waiting for? The wilderness is calling, or is that a moose call?
Pro Tip: If you’re really hardy make this trip in the early fall. All the animals are very active, trying to fatten up for winter. There’s less cars on the road with potential to scare them. Plus, the fall colors in the north leave your mouth gaping.
Susanna from Wandering Chocobo
Jigokudani Yaen Kōen, Japan
Jigokudani Yaen Kōen (aka Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park) in Japan is a charming destination for wildlife spotting. The main attraction is a group of Japanese macaques (snow monkeys) known for their red faces and hot spring antics. Reaching these monkeys involves a very manageable 1.6km hike through a beautiful forest path where in warm months they are spotted around the trails. In colder months, monkeys congregate around an onsen hot spring where they soak, play and relax. The monkeys roam free as they please and are not bothered by humans. People are obviously not allowed to touch them but the snow monkeys don’t have any restrictions and even brush past quite often.
Patti from The Savvy Globetrotter
Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
Trekking mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda is an unforgettable experience for any wildlife enthusiast. These gentle giants can be found in three countries (Rwanda, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo) but Rwanda is the most accessible. Depending on fitness level, lucky visitors trek anywhere from one to five hours for an up close view of a gorilla family, including the Susa group made famous by Dian Fossey. It is one amazing hour in the company of an enormous silverback and family playing, eating, fighting and just hanging out. Encounters with the gorillas are tightly controlled, with only 8 visitors a day allowed to see each gorilla family. With fewer than 1000 mountain gorillas left in the world, the entire experience is a privilege.
Matilda from The Travel Sisters
Zululand Rhino Reserve, Kwazulu-Natal region, South Africa
Zululand Rhino Reserve is located in close proximity to Durban, in the Kwazulu-Natal region. It is abundant in wildlife and also boasts of a thriving birding population. Game watching in Zululand is very interesting as the reserve has Big 5 game as well as other African mammals and a varied flora and fauna. For me, it was an amazing experience in the bush with night safaris, hideouts, usual game drives and watching game on foot (as we happened to be in a lodge close to a popular water hole). All in all, it is a lovely place for wildlife enthusiasts and they focus heavily on Rhino, Wild dogs and other conservation projects.
Jo from Wander With Jo
Valdez Peninsula in Argentina
Do you think that penguins are beyond adorable? Do whales make you cry? If so, you should consider visiting the Valdez Peninsula in Argentina. It’s located in northern Patagonia on the eastern Atlantic coastline. They get migrating southern right whales, elephant seals, sea lions and dolphins. Have you ever seen that video of Orca whales flying onto the beach to snatch sea lions? It happens there! The rich biodiversity of wildlife, combined with the easy-going town of Puerto Madryn make it an easy choice for your wildlife fix. Go in November, the penguins are nesting and southern right whales will be in town.
Carol from Wayfaring Views
Nagarhole National Park, India
With a healthy predator prey ratio, the national park (and a tiger reserve) is one of the best places to get an authentic safari experience in India. Though the sightings are good, the tigers are shy and the leopards wary, but the elephants can be spotted in great numbers, happily munching away in the bamboo thickets and the luxurious forests. The Kabini reservoir inside the forest also allows for a boat safari, which provides for a great birding experience while showing a different side of the forest. You can see abundant sightings of herbivores grazing and occasionally sightings of the predators out for a drink. The safaris are well organized and the number of vehicles & boats permitted inside are limited to maintain the sanctity of the forest.
Rishabh from Gypsy Couple
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park, South Africa
iSimangaliso Wetlands Park is definitely the best place to spot wildlife! Located in the north east corner of South Africa, this diverse park is home to lions, elephants, baboons, hippos, crocodiles, giraffe, buck, zebra, kudu, rhino, leopards and more! You can drive yourself through the iSimangaliso, stopping off en route for a drink or picnic (while keeping your eyes peeled of course) or drive to Cape Vidal, one of the world’s most stunning beaches. If you stay overnight in the nearby town of Saint Lucia, you will need to drive around after dark as hippos come out of the estuary at sunset and walk through town, making their way to parkland for grass (or backyard swimming pools for water!) In iSimanagliso you see animals living their lives without human involvement, in their natural habitat.
Lottie from Princess In A Caravan
Royal Chitwan National Park, Nepal
While Nepal is best known for its high altitude treks, a trip to the lowlands can be equally spectacular. Throughout the 932 square kilometers of Royal Chitwan National Park you’ll experience everything from grasslands to forests, and the variety of wildlife that lives within. The park is recognized as one of the best spots for wildlife in the whole of Asia. Go for the chance to see one-horned rhinos, wild elephants, and the ever-elusive Bengal tiger.
Taylor and Daniel from Travel Outlandish
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
I believe New Zealand is among the best destinations to spot wildlife. All the parks in the country are well maintained and accurately preserved and you can see plenty of animals just hiking, walking and kayaking around. As we were traveling around we spotted plenty of dolphins, penguins, seals, whales and hundreds of different birds, like this “Kea” pictured in the image. A Kea is an alpine parrot, found in New Zealand’s South Island. While hiking the world-famous “Kepler Track”, this smart and cheeky bird payed us a visit at Luxmore Hut and brought us some fun at the end of the day. One of the best place to encounter one of these lovely parrots is definitely Fiordland National Park in New Zealand.
Jessica from Travel To Be Alive
Cuyabeno Reserve, Ecuador
The narrow rivers, glassy lakes and muddy jungle trails of Ecuador’s Cuyabeno Reserve are home to a huge variety of wildlife. I spent three days in this wild region of the Amazon Rainforest and saw monkeys, sloths, bats, caimans, anacondas and countess varieties of birds (as well as lots of annoying insects). I even saw an anaconda wrapped around a caiman – an awesome (and kind of gruesome) sight. The Amazon is a special region of our planet and Ecuador is a great country to see it. The tours and lodges are cheap and the Cuyabeno Reserve is only a night bus away from Quito, the capital.
Jon from Jon Is Travelling
Still looking for more amazing wildlife experiences? Check out part 1 of the series for 10 more wildlife spotting destinations around the world.
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