There are unlimited opportunities to experience wildlife in the natural world. The ways to get there, varieties of comfort-class and above accommodations, and levels of activity are just as varied. Whether it is Africa, Antarctica, Arctic, Asia, Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific, Central/South America, North America; each destination is unique. You’ll find below some brief overviews explaining the wildlife opportunities in each region. We are only scratching the surface of the variety of wildlife that can be experienced in the natural world. Wildlife experience opportunities exist throughout our world.
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The Arctic encompasses a large area at the top of the world. Countries include Canada, Greenland, Iceland and Norway are all jump off points to experience spectacular scenery, amazing animals and unique cultures. The most iconic animal in the Arctic is the Polar Bear, and many of the trips to see wildlife focus on the great white bear, but other animals of significance include, Walrus, Arctic Foxes, Musk Ox, a variety of seals and numerous bird species who nest that far north. And for the more adventurous, how about a swim with Belugas?
Best time to visit: June-November depending on what wildlife you’re interested in.
Antarctica features the largest ice mass in the world holding 90% of the worlds ice and 70% of the world’s fresh water. You can only get there on expedition ships that depart from either Argentina or New Zealand. From Argentina, you sail across the Drake Passage visiting Island groups like South Georgia and the Falklands eventually exploring the Antarctic Peninsula. The most iconic species for this region is the Penguin, and there are a lot of varieties to see, from the relatively small but colorful Rock Hopper all the way up to the very large in size and numbers, the Emperor. Penguins are certainly the main event, but you will also experience Elephant Seals, a host of whale species, and the apex predator of this region, the Leopard Seal.
Best time to visit: November – February
North America is a vast continent that has a spectacular variety of watchable wildlife. Whether it is an Alaskan Cruise and optional land tour, hiking through old growth rainforests along Canada’s west coast, or visiting with Grey Whales in the Sea of Cortez off the Baja Peninsula. How would you like the opportunity to witness Gray Whales bubble net fishing, seeing a dolphin stampede in the sea of Cortez, swim with Manatees in the inland waterways of Florida or watch Alaskan Brown Bears fishing shoulder to shoulder during a Salmon run. North America is a wildlife viewing haven.
Best time to visit: Year round depending on what you are interested in seeing. (West Coast of Canada and Alaska: May – September. Sea of Cortez: November – April)
Central & South America
Both Central and South America boast some of the largest biodiversity of species in the world. The rain forests of each region have an incredible abundance of watchable wildlife, but there are also deserts, spectacular mountain ranges, grasslands and some of the most amazing waterways in the world. The Galapagos archipelago is renowned. The opportunity to sit next to one of the largest tortoises in the world, snorkel with marine iguanas or lay in the sand with Sea Lions will change your perspective of the world.
Best Time to Visit: Central America: Year round. The Galapagos: Seasonal. South America: October – March.
The big five: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Cape Buffalo. This definition is a hold-over from colonial days and hunting safaris. A trip to Africa will allow you to see these and so much more. The variety of animals is mind boggling, including big iconic animals; Elephants and Giraffe, smaller animals such as Hyrax and Meerkat to great predators; Cheetah, Hyena, and African Painted Dogs. The Great Plains, such as, the Masai Mara and Serengeti offer large herds of animals constantly on the move due to the rhythm of the lands they live on.
Best Time to Visit: Africa is a year-round destination.
The world’s largest continent, Asia extends to northern Russia, south to the Island countries of Indonesia and west to India. It is an extremely vast region of the world that is extremely difficult to sum up in a few paragraphs. Asia can be broken down into regions starting with the Siberian region which boasts Tundra and vast Taiga and home to one of the rarest cats in the world the Siberian Tiger. This area of the world is as vast as the ways and means to experience it. Options include world-renowned five star boutique hotels and sprawling resorts, luxury river cruises and trekking by elephant. South East Asia offers unique wildlife and cultural experiences.
Best Time to Visit: August – April
Australia & New Zealand
Australia, the largest island continent in the world is home to very unique wildlife. Marsupials of every size shape and description abound from tiny Quoll’s to the enormous Red Kangaroo. The most well-known marsupial is the Koala. The largest Crocodile in the world is one of the many unique reptiles of Australia. The island has an abundant variety of fabulous bird life. Examples are the large flightless bird, the Emu and great flocks of colourful parrots.
Best Time to Visit: Australia & New Zealand are located in the Southern Hemisphere. The best time to visit is from October to March.
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