Do you love animals? I do! Some of my happiest days have been spent riding dusty roads to view zebras, leaning over the railing of an expedition ship to watch humpback whales, and sitting on a boulder while a Gentoo penguin pecked at my wellington boots. Animals are wholly present, completely unpredictable and often beautiful. Being in their presence changes us somehow, brings us to a deep realization that we could be just as vibrant and alive, that we are animals too. Some of us will go to the ends of the earth to seek out powerful animal encounters. Heaven knows I have–and will again!
If you’re an animal lover, what kinds of animals can you see? I bet you’ll find a few on our Top Ten Wildlife Adventures list below that you hadn’t thought about before. And what makes a great wildlife adventure? Why would the team at Wild Nectar choose the trips on the list below? Our favorite wildlife adventures have a few common attributes:
You either get to see wildlife every day or get to see extremely rare wildlife.
Friendly, extremely knowledgeable guides share the animals’ world with you.
You get to stay in unusual, often remote lodging which keeps you close to nature.
You’re traveling with a wildlife-passionate operator fiercely committed to conservation and protecting the animals you’ll see.
And you’re traveling as sustainably as possible.
Here are the top 10 Wild Nectar wildlife adventures we think you should consider if you just love to look into the eyes of our fellow species:
World’s Best #1: Emperors & the South Pole If you’ve seen the film, March of the Penguins, you already know how extraordinary these three-foot tall, extremely rare penguins truly are. One reason they’re so hard to see is they do their mating on land during the coldest months in Antarctica and most humans can’t reach them before they head back into the sea in October. Seeing penguins in Antarctica is definitely high on this list yet seeing emperors there while staying in a polar lodge deep in the interior of the Continent is an adventure beyond compare!
World’s Best #2: Galapagos Cruise - Origin & Theory The Galapagos Islands will blow the minds of all animal lovers from everywhere and the minds of non-animal people too. The exotic animals in the Galapagos don’t run away from humans, and as you travel from island to island, you’ll get to see a different set of animals every day. This diversity is what fascinated Charles Darwin about the Galapagos. Any visit to the Galapagos is enchanting as you take in blue-footed boobie mating rituals and dinosaur-like marine iguanas leaping from rocks into the sea among so many other daily happenings. We list the Origin & Theory here, two identical sister ships soon to add a third, the Evolve, as the World’s Best because the level of guiding and the passion for animals on these ships are downright inspiring.
World’s Best #3: Heart of Kenya & Tanzania Every animal lover should get to Africa at some time in their life, yet if you’re looking for an outstanding way to experience the classic “Big 5”, you’ll get to see most if not all of them in Kenya and Tanzania with this world class operator. If you see yourself tearing a page out of Isak Dinesen's book, Out of Africa (or reliving the movie!), you’ll be asking people to pinch you as you race across the Maasai Mara or the Serengeti on the trail of a cheetah or following a herd of Zebra on this adventure.
World’s Best #4: Land of the Ice Bears Seeing a huge polar bear right there in front of you might make you cry as it did for me and so many on my ship. When traveling the icy Arctic waters of Svalbard, we came upon a curious juvenile male who was looking at us like he would like to eat our ship. He was 30 feet away! The operator of this program has been in the Arctic for over 50 years and they know how to find the elusive king of the Arctic. Plus the brand new, state of the art Endurance is an expedition ship extraordinaire featuring a science hub where you can talk to scientists and other wildlife enthusiasts just like you. Heaven!
World’s Best #5: Madagascar Wildlife Adventure Crazy, wonderful, unbelievable animals are all waiting for you in Madagascar! 90% of the plants and animals in this region are native only to this island. Explore four distinctly different parks on this itinerary and get ready to meet lemurs that are only found here. This wildlife-passionate operator’s guides get exclusive training from World Wildlife Foundation scientists and the charming hotels you’ll stay in will surprise and delight you.
World’s Best #6:The Great Uganda Gorilla Safari Staring into the eyes of these very close relatives to our species has been described as eerie, penetrating, and even a little disturbing. Still the hikes into the forest to find these close to disappearing, primate relatives is also described as one of the most powerful wildlife encounters you can have. Travel with an expert operator who has been bringing visitors into this sensitive ecosystem and the surrounding human community for over 15 years.
World’s Best #7: India Tiger Quest Being in the presence of the mighty tiger with her exceptional grace and coiled power is an unforgettable experience. On this program you’ll visit Ranthambore National Park during warmer weather, the optimal time for tiger sightings, as it draws tigers into the open in search of water. Tiger numbers have improved with the introduction of tiger safaris in this region. This operator is committed to both sustainability and conservation, and this extraordinary tiger program has demonstrated clear evidence of their expertise.
World’s Best #8: Secluded Botswana There are a lot of itineraries offered in southern Africa yet none have approached Botswana as expertly as this award-winning program. Small camps on remote private reserves offer wonderful comfort, seclusion and astounding proximity to wildlife, often on view from your tent. See a white rhinoceros on foot. Take in lions, leopards, spotted hyenas and African wild dogs, as well as enormous elephant herds. This operator knows Botswana like no other and this itinerary offers a brilliant collection of animals to experience first hand.
World’s Best #9: Australia North: Kakadu, Daintree & the Great Barrier Reef Explore Australia’s underwater wilderness where the world’s biggest coral reef meets the ancient Daintree Rainforest at the shoreline. Encounter brilliantly colored fish, turtles, manta rays and so many more species all accessible directly from a fly-in island beach. Then enter the forest to find frog, reptile, marsupial, bat, and butterfly species. Some 430 bird species live in the canopy, including the locally endemic tooth-billed and golden bowerbird. This region of Australia is an animal lover’s dream and this conservation-committed operator who partners with the World Wildlife Fund is eager to show it to you.
World’s Best #10: Snow Leopard Expedition Meet Asia’s extremely rare “Mountain Ghost” on an expedition that will take you far up into the mountains of West Ladakh to Ulley, a tiny mountain town that will serve as your base as you search out these extremely hard to see residents. Explore three valleys which, in addition to snow leopards, are great for finding urial (wild sheep), ibex, wolf and Himalayan fox. The accommodations on this adventure may be rustic yet the experience of seeing these extraordinary cats in their mountain home is one you will remember for a lifetime.
There are so many outstanding wildlife adventures and many of them are on our website as part of our Wild Nectar Collection, yet these very special itineraries operated by some of the most careful and conscientious experts, will each offer bucket list experiences you’ll love describing to your grandchildren.
I hope you’ve enjoyed traveling the world with me as I described our favorite adventures. If one or more of these call to you, urging you to head to the wilderness, Contact Us so we can help you plan your perfect animal encounter today.