There are so many endangered species and rare animals that you could make it your life’s work to travel the world and see them all. What you could get excited about is the thought of booking a vacation to see an endangered species close to your heart in their natural habitat. If you’re nuts about pandas or desperate to see a pink dolphin, then here are the best places to fulfil that once in a lifetime wish:
These comical creatures are masters of disguise, so it might take a while to spot them in the trees and the best place to have a sloth experience is Costa Rica. Two places in particular provide excellent access to see sloths, the Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary and the Manual Antonio National Park. Why not expand your adventure and head to the Corcovado National Park where you’ll see sloths as well as sea turtles, jaguars and crocodiles!
For those who dream of seeing these majestic bears in their natural forest environment will need to head to China. In the province of Sichuan, Chengdu has the Panda Breeding and Research Center. You’ll need to be an early riser as this is when the pandas are most active. For an extra treat, there’s also the high probability of seeing the miniature red pandas too, one of the cutest animals on the planet.
One of our closest relatives sharing 97% of genes, it’s no surprise they fascinate us. Sadly, due to deforestation, their natural habitat has shrunk to such an extent that the species have been on the edge of extinction. Borneo is the destination for Orangutan preservation and rehabilitation centers, where you’ll meet the amazing people who donate their time to protecting and caring for these incredible primates. This experience is magical and it’s important to find a responsible tour operator who contributes to the conservation of the area and abide by local rules of conduct.
Gorilla tracking in the wild has been described as a life changing experience. The thrill of seeing these magnificent animals up close and personal is on many people’s bucket list. The exhilaration comes from their impressive but intimidating size and power, their similarity to us and their quiet grace. Africa is the place to go, with either the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda or the Rwandan Virunga Mountains offering unique, amazing gorilla tracking experiences.
#5 Pink Dolphin
What could be more endearing than a dolphin that’s pink? These river dolphins are almost as mystical as the unicorn but do in fact exist and are often sighted in the basins of the Amazon. If you’ve made it your goal to see one in the flesh, then head to the Pacaya Samiria Reservation in Peru where you’ll definitely be treated to the glorious sight of pink dolphins in a calm, peaceful environment, away from tourist hordes. You’ll also get the chance to see one of the world’s biggest freshwater fish, called the arapaima.
If you’ve always dreamed of seeing one of these fluffy cuties in Australia, then be prepared for the possibility of not much action. Sleeping is their favourite past time and they’ll do this for around 22 hours a day – a bit like the teens of the animal kingdom. Contrary to popular belief, they are not hanging around in every other tree in Oz as humans have taken over most of their natural habitat. The best place to have a wonderful koala experience is the Lone Pine Koala Park in Brisbane.
Found naturally only in Madagascar so this is where you need to head to see them in the wild. There are approximately 100 species of lemurs living in the forests of this diverse and beautiful island. You’ll have an amazing adventure trying to spot as many of these furry, long-tailed cuties as you can, and you should definitely include a stay at the Vakona Forest Lodge for a tranquil, heavenly retreat where you’ll get up close and personal with the lemurs.
There was a time when elephants roamed in great numbers across the border between South Africa and Mozambique, but these numbers fell during a period of civil war. Now, thankfully, the Tembe Elephant Park is bustling, and visitors can expect to have many close encounters with these majestic beasts. Local guides are a wealth of information about all things elephant and will take you on a thrilling game drive. A purely once in a lifetime adventure.
#9 Red Fox
The elusive red fox can be tracked from the Valadalen Mountain Station in Sweden in the Valadalen Nature Reserve. The tracking tours are run by two biologists who lead you through a stunning, undulating forest where you’ll set up camp each night. Travelling between 6-10km a day, you’ll be looking for red fox, otter, reindeer, moose and mountain hare. Combine your love of nature with learning some essential survival tips in this immersive wildlife adventure.
For a rare glimpse at the fastest animal on earth, a trip to Namibia is in order. Located on the Okonjima Farm, an organisation called Africat aims to rescue cheetahs captured by farmers. The cheetahs are cared for before hopefully being reintroduced to the wild. The guest accommodation is a luxury chalet and guides will lead you to where the cheetahs are located, often as close as 10 meters to spectate the feast following the killing of prey!