Tuesday, March 23, 2021


By Nina Simons

Flock of pink flamingos at Walvis Bay, Namibia (Bird photo created by jcomp - www.freepik.com)

If you plan your travels based on how much of the local wildlife you will get to see, you are in luck as there are many interesting destinations that animal lovers can visit. While the planet is full of amazing places, there is also a big problem with animal tourism that exposed them to stressful situations, exploitation and even torture. Of course, as someone who cares about animals, you want to avoid these destinations and find animals in their natural habitat where you can interact with them in a non-stressful manner. Here are just some spots that are popular among people who love animals.

See Africa’s Big Five in Tanzania

Africa is full of amazing animals that are unfortunately often treated badly so make sure you opt for an ethical tour that will ensure these animals are respectfully observed in their natural surroundings. If you want to see the Big Five – lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and Cape buffalo – you should book a trip to Tanzania. In addition to these animals, you can also spot zebras, giraffes, and hippos. Moreover, if you time your visit right, somewhere in June and July, you can even see millions of wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti National Park to the Masai Mara, which is located in Kenya. In addition to many national parks and conservation areas, you can also climb Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.

African leopard walking on the road (Nature photo created by wirestock - www.freepik.com)

Volunteer with elephants in Thailand

Thailand is known for many things, including food, temples, beaches and the stunning capital city of Bangkok. It also provides visitors with a chance to interact with elephants. If you want to be a respectable traveller, you should know that there are many unethical tours that allow visitors to ride elephants and you should avoid these. Luckily, ethical alternatives are also available and while you will not be riding any elephants, you can volunteer at a local elephant sanctuary, help feed them and give them baths.

Meet the marine life of Australia

Being such a vast continent, it’s only normal that Australia is teeming with wildlife. Although you can meet plenty of kangaroos, koalas and other land animals, you should take this opportunity to get up-close and personal with the marine animals of the region. For example, if you visit the Great Barrier Reef, you can go swimming and explore all the species that call this World Heritage Site home. From dugongs and green turtles to clownfish and whale sharks, there is a wide array of marine life you can meet or spot here. Even if your trip doesn’t take you to Queensland and you find yourself only in the capital of New South Wales, you can still get some unique animal encounters. If you are opposed to visiting aquariums, you can go whale watching in Sydney and see these incredible creatures as they swim and frolic in the Pacific Ocean from the comfort of a cruise vessel.

Closeup of a green sea turtle swimming underwater under the lights (Water photo created by wirestock - www.freepik.com)

Visit the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary in Rome

When your trip around Europe eventually leads you to Rome, you will have many famous sights to see, from the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica to the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. The Eternal City provides its visitors with plenty of attractions. However, animal lovers should not skip a visit to the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary. The ancient ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina now serve as a shelter for around 150 cats that are regularly looked after by volunteers that feed and clean them. Many of the cats are blind, deaf, disabled, or suffer from incurable health issues. If during your visit you meet a cutie you can’t part with, you can even adopt them. If adoption is not an option for you, you can always donate to the shelter as they receive no government funding.

Spot polar bears in Canada

You might think that polar bears can only be spotted from afar but if you visit Churchill in Canada, you will get a chance to get close to them with some help from professional guides. This town, often called the jewel of Manitoba, is along the migration path that these animals take in October and November every year. During your trip, you can also see arctic foxes and wolves, reindeer, and other animals native to the area.

Polar Bear Cub, Canadian Arctic (Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Don’t skip the Galapagos Islands

Located off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands must find a place on your bucket list if you are an animal lover. This archipelago is home to many wildlife species that you can get close to as they are not afraid of people. For example, you can see giant tortoises that have a lifespan of 170 years. Then, sea lions, marine iguanas, and waved albatrosses can all make your visit memorable. Finally, be on the lookout for the only penguin species north of the equator. Plus, while there, you can enjoy their world-famous coffee and chocolate.

Consider Antarctica

Finally, for a trip of a lifetime, think about visiting Antarctica. Even though the journey is long and the climate hostile, you will love your experience there, especially as you’ll get to see fur and elephant seals, orca and humpback whales, and so many penguins. In addition to spending time with animals, you can also go kayaking, scuba diving, or camping. Taking a polar plunge is also an option for those that are a bit braver while you can also climb Mount Vinson, the highest mountain in Antarctica.

If you are an avid traveller that loves animals, you’re surely always on the lookout for new destinations that you could visit and see all sorts of wildlife. The above-listed destinations are bound to leave you breathless.


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