Nothing can compare to the thrill you feel when you spot an animal in the wild, especially when you’re least expecting it. It is for this reason why wildlife lovers would travel to some far-off destinations to see wildlife up-close. Indeed, observing wild animals in their natural habitat is an inspiring and potentially life-changing experience.
If you’re wondering where to see the world’s most unique wildlife, check out the list below.
Located in the extreme southwestern area of the Pacific Ocean, Borneo’s biggest draw is its unique wildlife, where you’ll come face to face with orangutans in the wild. But these intriguing creatures are not the only fascinating species you’ll come across in Borneo’s rainforests.
The Kinabatangan River, which snakes through a narrow corridor of lush greenery in Malaysia’s Sabah State, is one of the best places for wildlife spotting in Borneo. Experience a fascinating river safari and watch in awe as your boat glides along the river, past probosci monkeys, elephants, gibbons, and orangutans. You’ll find them crowding by the riverbank as they bathe and drink from the water.
In Gunung Mulu National Park, experience a full-on bat cave experience. Featuring an incredible network of caves, including the world’s largest known cave chamber and home to millions of bats, marvel at these creatures as they exit the caves at dusk in search of food. The entire area of Gunung Mulu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, keeping the habitat of many rare species protected, including the unique species of squat frog and steam toad.
Only a few places on Earth can rival Panama for incredible wildlife watching. Thanks to the volcanic activity that happened here millions of years ago, the country has one of the world’s most biodiverse places, home to many unique animal species.
The Parque Natural Metropolitano is one of the best spots to experience the wildlife in Panama. This tranquil oasis is only a 10-min taxi ride from the city centre. Walk through its many hiking trails where you could come across a sloth or titi monkey. Bird watchers should head to Parque Nacional Soberanía, one of the world’s best bird-watching destinations. Like Parque Natural Metropolitano, this park is only a short drive from the city centre. If you’d like to learn to be a Panama jungle guide and be able to show of Panama’s jungle wildlife, you can take a guide course in Chagres National Park.
The annual migration of humpback whales is one of those wildlife activities you should not miss in Panama, especially if you are travelling to the country with kids. It takes place between July and August on Panama’s Pacific Coast. Witnessing these incredible creatures from Alaska in the north towards South America is a truly unforgettable experience.
- The Galapagos
The Galapagos Islands often top the list as one the world’s best destinations for incredible wildlife experiences. Technically part of Ecuador, the many islands that make up the Galapagos are some of the world’s most remote. Combined with diverse geography, you’ll have a destination home to some of the rarest animals in the world.
Many would come to the Galapagos for the giant tortoises, the king of the Animal Kingdom of the Galapagos. But don’t let its size scare you since they are docile, so it’s safe to go near them. Aside from the tortoises, the other creatures you’ll come across in the archipelago are marine iguanas, sea lions, fur seals, Galapagos penguins, and different fish species.
Another way to experience the wildlife of the Galapagos is to go snorkelling. The best place to snorkel in the Galapagos is Isabela Island, which has naturally cold waters luring an array of sea creatures, including the occasional shark. Ferdinand Island is another spot for snorkelling in the Galapagos, where you could be lucky enough to swim with sea lions!
- South Africa
South Africa is a fantastic destination for wildlife encounters. In the morning, you can explore its magnificent underwater on a dive, then go on a Big Five safari in the evening. South Africa is also host to some of the most incredible gatherings of wildlife on Earth. And you don’t even have to travel far from the city for wildlife encounters because you can find penguins hanging on one of the beaches of Cape Town!
Occupying an area of more than 1.9 million hectares, the Kruger National Park is the best destination for wildlife viewing in South Africa, offering incredible sightings of giraffes, leopards, hippos, and more. The park’s southern area is home to an abundance of lions, while you’ll find large herds of elephants and buffalos in the north. Kruger has a well-developed infrastructure, and you’ll find a range of accommodations, including luxury tents. While drive-in safari is the most popular way to explore Kruger, you can also opt for a walking safari, where you’ll be with an armed ranger as you explore the bush on foot.
If you prefer to explore South Africa’s marine animals, head to Sodwana Bay in Kwa-Zulu Natal, close to the border of Mozambique. Sodwana Bay is one of South Africa’s best diving destinations and a great place to spot the playful bottlenose dolphins up close. Boats will stop at a dive site allowing visitors to jump in with a mask and snorkel.
Thailand may be famous for its beaches, rich culture, and great food. But, it also offers many incredible opportunities for wildlife viewing. Its lush jungles and mountains are home to unique species, from exotic birds to big cats and elephants.
Head to Mu Ko Chang National Park, where you’ll find macaques living in its jungle-covered wilderness covering an entire archipelago of more than forty islands close to the Cambodian border. Aside from the stump-tailed macaques, the park is also home to gibbons and rare silver luting monkeys.
In Phuket’s Koh Bon Island, you’ll encounter some of the most intriguing marine animals when diving in its clear waters – from barracudas to eagle rays, leopard sharks, and manta rays. Its labyrinth of colourful coral reefs is also home to tiger-tail seahorses and thousands of different species of tropical fish.