Wildlife can be seen in most destinations around the world from national parks to cloud forests, from jungle reserves to private conservation projects, and the popular Masai Mara to the unforgettable Galapagos Islands. At Explore Tailormade we offer a variety of wildlife viewing opportunities, so we thought we’d share with you our top 10 alternative wildlife locations:
1 Nyungwe Forest National Park – Rwanda One of Rwanda’s highlights is undoubtedly the low-land mountain gorillas which can be found in the Volcanoes National Park and north, into Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. However another favourite has to be watching playful chimpanzees in Nyungwe Forest National Park, in addition to another 12 primate species including L’Hoest’s mountain monkey, blue monkeys and golden monkeys; as well as almost 300 species of birds, from the colourful Ruwenzori turaco and blue-headed sunbird to the noisy black and white casqued hornbill. Speak to a Tailormade Regional Specialist today to add Nyungwe Forest to your gorilla tracking adventure.
2 Bako and Semenggoh, Kuching – Borneo Kuching is the capital of Borneo’s Sarawak state and is the perfect base for exploring nearby Bako National Park and Semenggoh Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. Bako National Park is located on a small peninsula off the coast of Sarawak, home to silver leaf monkeys, macaques, monitor lizards, wild boars and the famous long-nosed proboscis monkey. A short distance south of Kuching, visit Semenggoh Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre to see these endearing apes, honey bears, gibbons and hornbills – time your visit right to see the orang-utans being fed.
3 The Amazon Rainforest – Brazil, Peru and Ecuador The Amazon is the biggest rainforest in the world, with over half of its area located in Brazil alone. The river flows through seven countries, so the variety of flora and fauna on offer is vast. Home to around 30% of the world’s animal species, the Amazon can be explored from comfortable jungle lodges to simple or luxurious houseboats. Look for toucans, macaws, caiman, giant river otters, pink river dolphins, tiny lizards, frogs and much, much more.
4 Okavango Delta - Botswana The floodwaters that arrive at Botswana’s Okavango Delta originate in the highlands of Angola and cover an area of 15000 sq km. When the waters arrive in the dry season huge numbers of game migrate here, making it one of the premier safari destinations in Africa. Visit Moremi Game Reserve on a 4WD safari to see elephant, giraffe, zebra, ostrich, lion, leopard and wild dog on the flood plains, or explore smaller private reserves on foot or by mokoro (dug-out canoe) to see fish eagles, kingfishers, cranes, egrets and Bradfield's hornbill among the 400 species of birds.
5 The Elephant Valley Project - Cambodia Located in Cambodia’s eastern province, Mondulkiri, the Elephant Valley Project provides care, rehabilitation and conservation projects for domestic elephants. Guests can visit for the day or stay up to five days monitoring the elephants in the jungle, volunteering and learning about the forest, community, conservation and mahouts.; an experience that will not be forgotten quickly.
6 Pantanal Wildlife Reserve – Brazil The Pantanal is a staggering 210000 sq km spread over three countries - Bolivia, Paraguay, and the majority in Brazil. There are over 600 bird species including waders, toucans, herons, storks, macaws and coots. The wetlands are also home to a huge array of mammals including capybara, collared peccary, giant otters, giant anteaters, coatis, many species of deer, jaguar and even puma. Lodges in the area offer a variety of wildlife spotting opportunities, including canoe trips, horse-riding, 4WD and motor boat safaris.
7 Etosha National Park - Namibia In 1907 Etosha was the first national park to be established in Africa. An area of arid grassland and saltpans the national park is home to huge herds of zebra, springbok, hartebeest, kudu and elephant. After a good rainfall lagoons can be seen with flocks of flamingos and pelicans, while at night black and white rhinoceros can be seen at the waterholes around the lodges. Big cats are also a highlight in Etosha, including lions, oryx, cheetah and leopards as well as giraffe and hyena. As there is so much game on offer, Etosha is a great park to visit on a self-drive basis.
8 Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve – Costa Rica Monteverde is just one of many reserves located in Costa Rica’s cloud forest. The area is the best place in the country to see the resplendent quetzal as well as toucans, great green macaws and a large variety of hummingbirds. The reserve has a few mammals including howler monkeys, coatis and jaguar, however it is the smaller reptiles and insects that are of particular interest. Monteverde has over 160 species of reptile and amphibians from snakes to tiny, colourful frogs and thousands of species of insects including moths and the iridescent blue morpho butterfly.
9 Kanha National Park - India Kanha National Park was the inspiration behind Rudyard Kipling’s famous Jungle Book; it is a scenic park home to striped hyenas, leopards, pangolins, many species of deer and the elusive Bengal tiger. There are over 200 bird species recorded including rollers, flycatchers, parakeet and larks. Combine a stay at Ranthambore or Bandhavgarh National Park for a better chance of seeing tigers.
10 Bale Mountains National Park - Ethiopia Ethiopia’s Bale Mountain National Park is a fantastic place to combine wildlife spotting with hiking. Visit the Sanetti Plateau as the sun rises for the best chance of seeing the rare Ethiopian wolf. In addition, spot mountain nyala, rock hyrax, giant molerat and, endemic to Ethiopia, the Bale monkey. The park is home to over 300 bird species plus a variety of birds-of-prey including eagles, harriers and buzzards.