FLASH: It can be an inspiring, breathtaking and potentially life-changing experience to spot an animal in the wild.
Holidays focused on wildlife are becoming increasingly popular. Watching wildlife is a super way to get back to nature and away from daily life.
So, here are what we perceive as Top wildlife experiences around the world, some in very remote wilderness areas, and all with luxurious accommodations near by.
DIVE WITH GREAT WHITE SHARKS IN SOUTH AFRICA
For an extreme wildlife experience, jump into the shark-infested waters off the southern coast of South Africa in a cage and prepare yourself for a potentially heart-stopping encounter with the ultimate super-predator: the great white shark! Gansbaai, a small fishing village east of Cape Town, has become the hub for tour operators that specialize in diving with great white sharks, all from the safety of a cage of course. The cages are shark-proof, so there is nothing to fear, and the trilling experience will inspire you for a lifetime.You will definitely emerge with a greater respect for these often misunderstood, ocean predators.
- Best time to visit: Winter (May to October) is the best time to cage-dive with great white sharks. Although shark sighting is not guaranteed, the success rate is very high (around 95%). The weather can be unpredictable though in South Africa’s winter, with gales and cold spells, so its best to book a tour that lasts a few days just in case the weather doesn’t allow for a dive. The sharks are still around during the summer months but not in such dense numbers, so days can possibly go by without a sighting.
- Tour operators: Great White Shark Tours, White Shark Diving Company, & Apex Shark Expeditions
- Luxury hotels: The Silo, One & Only Hotel, 12 Apostles Hotel, & Ellerman House
THE ROYAL BENGAL TIGERS IN INDIA
Ranthambore National Park is one of India’s last remnants of wilderness. A former hunting ground for the maharajas, the park still contains ruins of temples and mosques, as well as an impressive 10th-century fort. There is plenty of exotic wildlife to observe, such as antelope, sambar deer, langur monkeys, and crocodiles, but the main reason people visit Ranthambore is to spot the magnificent and elusive Royal Bengal tiger. To increase your chances for an encounter with the tiger/s, make sure that you visit in the right season and spend several days of your holiday on tiger tracking region.
- Best time to visit: most animals are seen at the end of the dry season, during the months of March, April and May, when vegetation is sparse and animals come out in search of water. Be sure to bring warm clothes if visiting during the cooler winter.
- Luxury lodges: Aman-i-Khas & Oberoi Vanyavilas
MOUNTAIN GORILLAS IN RWANDA OR UGANDA
Spotting a wild gorilla in the African jungle is on many people’s bucket list. Mountain gorillas are the most majestic, and sadly, rarest apes of all non-human primates. Only 700 of these magnificent creatures remain in the world, all of them found in the border area between Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A guided gorilla tracking is a terrific experience and worth all the travel efforts.
- Best time to visit:while gorillas can be tracked all year-long, the best time to track gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda is during the country’s 2 dry seasons: January and February and from June to September.
- Recommended tour operator: Uber Luxe Safaris
- Luxury lodges: Bisate Lodge by Wilderness Safaris (Rwanda), One&Only Gorillas Camp (Rwanda), Singita Kwitonda (Rwanda) & Clouds Mountain Gorilla Lodge (Uganda)
Enjoy your travels