05 December 2016
There’s little as exhilarating as spotting wildlife roaming near you. No matter how many times you’ve seen wildlife documentaries with gorillas in jungles or polar bears padding across snowy landscapes, seeing them in their habitat is absolutely breathtaking.
Read on to discover six unforgettable animal encounters across the world. Seeing these majestic, and often endangered, animals in the wild is truly an experience you won’t forget.
Southern Right Whales in Hermanus, South Africa
Weighing over 45 tonnes, growing to around 49 feet (15 metres) and a glistening, inky hue, spotting playful Southern Right Whales as they dip in and out of the water is a truly thrilling sight.
An hour and a half drive outside of Cape Town lies Hermanus, a seaside town renowned for whale watching. Every year, between June and November, Southern Right Whales migrate from the Antarctic through Hermanus. And, during September and October, the town holds the annual Two Oceans Whale Festival to coincide with the spike in whale population in the area.
Sightings of Southern Rights are usually guaranteed from the top of the cliffs in Hermanus. However, it isn’t just these giant whales that you’ll be spotting – humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, penguins and seals are also common sights!
Orangutans in Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo
Step into the buzzing, emerald green Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve and prepare for the incredible sight of furry, rust-hued, long-limbed creatures. Orangutans.
In a breathtaking jungle setting, the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre cares for orphaned, abandoned and abused orangutans so that they can return to their natural habitat.
Set up in 1964 by Barbara Harrison and covering 43sq km of rainforest, around 60 to 80 orangutans call this area home. You can watch these majestic creatures as they swing through the jungle for feeding time, and see young orangutans as they train to use ropes and trees.
Polar Bear Migration in Churchill, Canada
Creamy fur, giant paws, and adorable little cubs rolling around in the snow. There’s no animal quite like the lumbering, cute and cuddly polar bear, is there? And, as they migrate to the newly frozen winter ice in Hudson Bay, the town of Churchill in Canada is a perfect place to spot these magnificent mammals.
Often a solitary creature, October and November sees polar bears in their hundreds head back to the ice, after the summer thaw. Huge buggies transport visitors across the snow, so you can hop into your giant (and safe!) buggy and watch these incredible creatures as they amble by in the wild.
Elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana
Always wanted to see those gentle grey giants in the wild? Head to Botswana’s Chobe National Park.
This enormous, 11,700 sq km park is home to an estimated 120,000 elephants, the largest concentration of elephants in Africa. Herds can number into the hundreds so you should spot a few on a game drive!
Established in 1968, Chobe National Park is Botswana’s third largest conservation area, and you’ll find woodland, swamps and the Chobe River inside the park. As well as watching the elephants play, drink and bathe, you’ll come across many other animals. Keep your cameras ready for giraffes, monkeys, warthogs, hippos, lions and many more wild beasts!
Blue-footed booby, Galápagos tortoise, iguanas and more on the Galápagos Islands
If you’ve ever seen a documentary about the Galápagos Islands, you’ll know about the wonderful array of wildlife living here. Yet, nothing prepares you for spotting those ancient and colourful creatures in front of you.
One of the best ways to take in the wildlife and enjoy the twinkling turquoise waters is on an expedition cruise. Celebrity Cruises® offer a number of sailings around the Galápagos Islands and have more than 10 years’ experience in cruising this breathtaking corner of the earth.
On your trip,watch blue-footed, red-footed and masked boobies on Punta Pit. Keep an eye out for Galápagos fur seals on Puerto Egas and the adorable Galápagos penguins Bartolome Island. Spot flamingos feeding from the ponds on Isla Santa Cruz.
And, don’t miss the trip to the National Park Service tortoise breeding center on Isla Santa Cruz. You can gaze at the beautiful giant tortoises and walk through the fascinating Charles Darwin Research Station.
Endangered mountain gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park, Uganda
Nestled in south-western Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park is home to the majestic mountain gorilla.
The dense rainforest of the spectacular Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park covers a huge area of 32,000 ha (just over 79,000 acres). And the brilliant green jungle is made up of over 100 species of ferns and more than 160 species of trees, so trekking through this biodiverse rainforest is an experience in itself.
It’s the beautiful mountain gorillas that are the highlight of a trip here, though. An endangered species, there are less than 1,000 mountain gorillas in the wild. With estimates suggesting that there are only about 650 mountain gorillas left, a trip to see these incredible creatures in the wild is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Whether you’re hoping to spot lions or search for exotic birds, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor today to plan your unforgettable wildlife encounter.