10 Most Awe-inspiring Destinations for Wildlife Travellers

best destinations for wildlife travellers

Animals have been the love of my life since before I can remember, I was a vegetarian or pescatarian for most of my life before I learnt about the horrors of the dairy and egg industry and went vegan. My love for travel is almost as big as my love for animals, so what better way to live my life than combine the two? This post of top destinations for wildlife travellers is part recollection, as I tell you about the best wildlife trips of my life (thus far), and part bucket-list, as I sneak in some ones that I haven't done, yet, but am hoping to do soon - hear my manifestations universe!

10 Most Awe-inspiring Destinations for Wildlife Travellers

Unfortunately, a lot of animal experiences that you can have whilst you're travelling (like visiting zoos or aquariums, posing with caged tigers, swimming with incarcerated dolphins) are unfair on the animals, but don't worry it's easy to have an animal experience that is fair on them. This list, for example, follows these easy rules: don't support animals being imprisoned (so only see them in the wild), and whilst seeing them in the wild don't disrupt their natural habitats or routines.

wildlife travel destinations top 10

A final note before we get started: I personally think staying closer to home is kinder to animals as a whole (because the less fossil fuels we use the better for them and us) which is why I've tried to find destinations all across the planet for anyone living anywhere. Let's get started!

#1. Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda

Ever since I saw Tarzan as a kid I've wanted to do some awesome Gorilla trekking and what better place to do it than Rwanda. Whilst it is true that there are more gorillas in Uganda, you're actually more likely to see them in Rwanda thanks to a more open terrain. Of course, when you go on a reputable tour you're not only guaranteed to see them, they'll make sure that you see them in a fair, kind way.

#2. Visiting an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand

I was lucky enough to go to an elephant sanctuary in Thailand when I was 24 and it was one of the best days of my life. Supporting these fair sanctuaries is a necessary action against one of the cruellest things we humans do to elephants - riding them. So please support elephant sanctuaries that disallow riding!

#3. Checking out Darwin’s Famous Finches on the Galapagos Islands

Cliche and true, but it was David Attenborough that made me want to go and experience the wonders of a Galapagos tour. With scenes of truly unique wildlife and the birthplace of Darwin's lighting bolt inspiration for evolution, who wouldn't want to go there?

#4. Spotting Wild Tigers in India

There are just over 3,000 wild tigers in India - a number that might sound small but I have good news: it's more than double what it was 10 years ago! Yey! Seeing a tiger in the wild in India is something that's on the top of my bucket-list.

#5. Trekking with Orangutans in Indonesia and Malaysia

Maybe it's simply because my favourite colour is orange, but I've always loved orangutans, the most out of all the primates. The best place (and the only fair place) to see them in the world is in their natural habitat - the rainforests of Indonesia and Malaysia.

#6. Seeing Wild Kangaroos and Koalas in Australia

One of the best things I did in Australia was see kangaroos and koalas in the wild. I also saw them in sanctuaries and it just wasn't the same, wasn't as magical and wasn't as 'real' (and now that I've grown up a bit, I realise it's also unfair).

top 10 wildlife travel destinations

Kangaroos in the wild don't come up to you, you see them from afar and you'll never forget it. Koalas are notoriously easy to spot in the wild - they look like big clumps of mistletoe on bare trees. I wish someone had told me that before I spent ages carefully squinting at each tree for a hint of a koala - when they are there, you will know it.

#7. Swimming With Whale Sharks in the Philippines

I've wanted to swim with these gentle giants ever since I found out that that was a thing. In terms of ethics, don't touch them (of course) and make sure you're not wearing sun cream because that affects their environment adversely.

#8. Wandering with Wild Wolves in Canada

This was definitely my favourite thing that happened to me in Canada and I wasn't even expecting to see them, they were just randomly there - I hope it happens to you too (but in a safe way of course)!

#9. Whale Watching in the Azores

The Azores were the first place that I saw whales and I think the crew had a great way of doing it. Firstly, of course, they made sure not to get too close to the whales (check that the tour you opt for doesn't do this as some unfortunately do and it's not fair). Secondly, they had friends up on a cliff back on the island with binoculars looking for the whales so they could radio us in the right direction, and it worked!

#10. Playing Music for Great White Sharks in Australia

It's mostly unethical to swim with great white sharks because tours will dump chum in the water which disrupts sharks natural hunting techniques and encourages them to feast on humans. One place in the world that's solved this conundrum is Australia. How? By using electric guitars of course! The sharks are curious about the vibrations and come up to the boat, and nothing is disrupted. I almost got the chance to go there when I was in Australia, but unluckily I missed it - live my dream for me please!

What about you, what are your top wildlife destinations? Feel free to share any tips & advice below!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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