Are you an animal lover looking for your next travel destination? Here are just a few of the best countries for seeing unique and exciting wildlife.
Indonesia is a wildlife hotspot. 515 species of mammals inhabit this country – more than any other country in the world. 45% of the world’s fish are also thought to live in Indonesia’s tropical waters making it one of the world’s diving capitals.
Head to Borneo and you could get a chance to see the rare orang-utan. These apes are some of the biggest and most intelligent on Earth. There are tours that can help to spot orang utans in the wild as well as sanctuaries set up for nursing injured apes and orphans. You can even volunteer at these sanctuaries to get closer to these amazing creatures.
Meanwhile, the island of Komodo is home to the world’s largest and most dangerous lizard – the Komodo dragon! In rare cases, this lizard has been known to reach 3 metres. Day trips to this island depart from Bali of which you can try and spot one of these lizards with the help of a guide (going alone is unadvised as these lizards can be very dangerous and have been known to eat humans!).
As for the country’s aquatic wildlife, Indonesia is the perfect place to swim with manta rays, sea turtles and even see a shark or two. Its reefs attract marine biologists from across the world. Learning to dive here could be an incredible experience and a great way to enjoy an active vacation.
South America has plenty of wildlife experiences to choose from, but Ecuador has some of the most unique – in particular the Galapagos islands.
It’s here that you’ll find the endemic marine iguana, which happens to be the only seagoing iguana in the world. This lizard feeds on seaweed and can turn red during mating season.
The Galapagos islands are also home to giant tortoises. Whilst islands are home to several wild tortoises, these can only be found in protected places that are closed off to people. That said, there are breeding centres set up where you can see these animals.
Another unusual sight on these islands is penguins. Ecuador may be located on the equator, but it’s home to it’s own endemic species of penguin located on Fernandina Island and Isabela Island. March is mating season and one of the best times to see these birds.
You can book tours of these islands through sites such as Galapagos Insiders. With its beaches and incredible landscape, it could be a great place for a vacation.
Tanzanian safaris have been voted the best in Africa. This is because this country is teeming with wildlife, offering some of the most abundant populations of wildebeest, zebra and flamingos spread out over 40 national parks and game reserves.
The country is also one of the top places to spot the ‘big five’ – the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the rhino and the buffalo. Whilst not as easy to spot as wildebeest and zebra, you can take specialised tours to help get close to these mighty animals.
You’re best comparing safaris through sites such as Safari Bookings. Tanzania also has other great natural sites including Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Victoria.
Sri Lanka may be small, but it’s got one of the finest selections of wildlife in South Asia.
Its most iconic animal is the Asian elephant, which you can see roaming the plains of Udawalawe National Park in herds. There are also a number of elephant orphanages across the island, some of which you can volunteer at, offering a chance to get close to these mighty animals. Pinnawala is one of the best orphanages, containing almost 100 elephants.
Sri Lanka is also home to leopards, which you’re best journeying to Yala National Park to see. This secretive cat is very tricky to spot, although it’s possible to take a guide who can help to increase your chances of seeing these animals.
Journey to the country’s beaches meanwhile and you could also spot turtles nesting. Some of Sri Lanka’s turtle species cannot be found anywhere else in the world, making them truly unique. A number of turtle sanctuaries have been set up on the coast, which are great places to see these animals.
When it comes to European wildlife hotspots, Norway has one of the most diverse selections of animals.
Its Arctic waters are one of the best places in the world to spot whales. Whale watching tours are popular across the country and can help you to spot various species from the Beluga whale to the killer whale.
As for land animals, Norway’s most famous animal is probably the reindeer. About 30,000 are thought to inhabit Norway. If you’re willing to venture up to Svalbard, you’re more likely to see these majestic creatures as this peninsula contains 10,000 alone. This is also a great place for catching the Northern Light and there are even some polar bear sightings up here.
Most people are so eager to travel the world for wildlife that they forget what’s on their doorstep. America has many amazing wildlife experiences spread out across its states that could be worth considering if you’re on a budget.
Florida for example is one of the few places in the world where you can swim with manatees. It’s also a great place to see alligators in the wild (Gatorland is always worth a visit if you can’t spot any in the rivers).
Yellowstone meanwhile is a great place to see wolves. There are safaris that you can take to help track down these creatures – whilst wolves are known for being very elusive, Yellowstone sightings are very popular. Check out sites like American Sky to book a trip.