By Holly Foat
, responsibletravel.comNot much can come close to that feeling when you spot an animal in the wild, especially when youíre not expecting it: awe-inspiring, breathtaking and wonderful and always a moment you will never forget.
Itís no wonder that wildlife holidays are so popular. Watching wildlife is a great way to get back to nature and get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. With so many wildlife holidays on offer in so many fabulous locations itís hard to decide where to go or what animals to see.
So weíve put together our top ten favourite wildlife watching holidays in various locations around the world, some in the very remote wilderness and some closer to home.
So whether you have 3 weeks to spare or 3 days thereís a wildlife holiday to suit you. As many of the species featured on this list are endangered or protected species we make sure that these trips are run responsibly and respectfully. Many of our tour operators are actively involved in conservation projects so you can rest assured that your wildlife holiday will be run to look after the wildlife as well as you. 1. Gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda
Watching gorillas is often the most popular and life changing of all wildlife experiences. Being face to face with a wild gorilla is on many peopleís Ďmust do before you dieí list. Whether itís because of their intimidating size combined with their unexpected gentle grace or because they behave so much like us, itís easy to see why gorilla watching is such an amazing experience. Whether you want to see lowland gorillas in the Bwindi impenetrable forest or mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mountains we have a great responsible trip for you. Take a look our gorilla safaris here
2. The big five safari in Africa
Africa is one of the places that you either love or hate and most people absolutely adore it! And why not? Itís almost impossible not to enjoy a safari in this beautiful country full of zebras, elephants, lions and wildebeest. The big five animals tend to take centre stage on safari but donít forget that the smaller, less famous animals (like hyenas and impala) can be just as fun and exciting to see. Check out our African safaris here
3. Polar bears in the Arctic
Polar bears are now the iconic species that symbolises climate change and puts a cuddly face to the ugly problem of global warming. With the recent media frenzy over the conservation status of the polar bear it is more important than ever to make sure that your bear watching holiday is run responsibly.
Thatís why all our polar bear watching holidays have to adhere to our criteria so that you know that your holiday is run to minimise environmental impacts to help conserve these magnificent creatures. Have a look at this polar bear watching holiday in Churchill, Manitoba
4. Tigers in India
This endangered species is one of the most elusive which means that a tiger watching holiday can be a very rewarding experience. With nearly 30 tiger reserves, India is a country that is making a great effort to conserve their tigers and is definitely well worth a visit. We have holidays in some of the best of these reserves including Kanha, Bandhavgarh and Ranthambore. Check out all our great tiger watching holidays here
5. Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands are one of the most ecologically diverse areas on the planet and a must for any wildlife enthusiast. The Islandís most famous tourist, Charles Darwin began to form his theory of natural selection here and itís easy to see why. With a huge range of birds and animals found no where else on earth, the Galapagos Islands are an experience of a life time. Take a look at our selection of Galapagos cruises here
6. Whale watching
Watching as an enormous whale throws itself into the air, pounding the surface and disappearing back to the ocean depths with a splash really can take your breath away. Whale watching is an increasingly popular activity and very widespread with boat trips operating wherever the whales are.
From Norway to Newfoundland or Iceland to Italy, all our whale watching holiday are run responsibly, ensuring that whilst you get close enough to take great photos, the only footprints left behind are the whalesí. Whether you want to see playful orcas or mighty humpbacks we have a range of trips
and one to suit you.
7. Grizzly bears in the Rockies
Grizzly bears, a subspecies of brown bears, are amongst the eight remaining bear species on the planet. Many of the bear species, such as the sloth bear, are endangered or vulnerable but brown bears arenít among them, so hopefully spotting one shouldnít be too tricky! Watching a creature so huge and powerful can be an awe inspiring experience and if you go to the right place at the right time of year you might just be lucky enough to spot some little bear cubs out to play. Take a look at our bear watching holidays here
8. Watching orangutans in Borneo
Watching orangutans in the wild is often on peoples Ďthings to do before you dieí list, and with good reason. Watching orangutans can be a magical experience and one you will never forget. With the many threats to orangutans including deforestation and habitat destruction for palm oil plantations, itís more important than ever to make sure that orangutan tourism helps towards their conservation. All our tour operators abide by a code of conduct and most operators include visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in their itineraries, which houses and then releases injured orangutans back into the wild. Have a look at our selection of orangutan holidays here
Antarctica is a vast white continent and the last true wilderness. Officially uninhabited and owned by no one, it is a place like no other on earth. Home to penguins, seal colonies, whales and albatrosses, itís a great place to get away from it all and have a holiday of a lifetime. We have a selection of holidays in Antarctica here
10. Wildlife in Europe
You donít have to travel too far from home to find a great wildlife experience. Even in Europe there are some great wildlife holidays just waiting for you. Whether you want to see birds
we have a range of wildlife encounters in Europe. Take a look at all our Europe holidays here
For more exciting experiences, check out our wildlife holidays
Donít forget that all of our wildlife watching holidays have to meet our criteria for environmental, social and economic responsibility which means that they minimise their environmental impact, benefit the local community or provide employment in the local area. They also abide by strict codes of conduct so not to distress the wildlife (for example not getting too close and ending encounters when animals leave rather than following them). Also, many of our wildlife tour operators regularly donate to and support conservation projects to protect and preserve endangered wildlife. You can find our criteria here
and the campaigns we support here