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World’s Best Wildlife: 6 Unique Experiences and Destinations

Sea lions

Sea lions on Española Island in the Galápagos (photo: Dave Lee)

Seeing lions in their natural habitat; gliding alongside a leaping family of dolphins; getting close to a mountain gorilla–which to book?! 

As you plan your trip around the world, one of the most daunting tasks will be narrowing down your list of the world's best wildlife experiences.

Fear of missing out is real–especially if you're an animal lover.

For this reason, we hand-picked some top wildlife experiences from around the world to help you get started.

If you're still undecided by the end of this story, check out these selections from Exsus Travel to further inspire you.

World's Best Wildlife Experiences

A Rare White Rhino Safari in Kenya

The mind-blowing Great Migration of millions of wildebeest between the Serengeti and Masai Mara. 

Dusty four-wheel drives along vast plains, seeking the Big 5. 

These are the images most travelers conjure when a classic African Safari comes to mind.

While these experiences are bucket list-worthy, you could still be missing out…!

If you plan a trip to Kenya, make sure you pay a visit to the Ol Pejeta Conservancy.

Here, you can get up close and personal to the world's last three species of northern white rhinos: Sudan, Fatu, and Najin.

Fearless Encounters throughout the Galápagos Islands

Did you know Galápagos Islands animals are not afraid of humans due to their isolation?

Their remote location, coupled with the fact that they are the source of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, make them remarkable spots for rare wildlife encounters.

Common experiences on these fabled islands include sea lions laying on your bench as you wait for a boat; both turtles and penguins swimming by as you snorkel its virgin waters; and spotting exotic blue-footed boobies as you hike along the rocks.

Giant Pandas in Chengdu, China

Giant Pandas in Chengdu, China (photo: Dave Lee)

Mountain Trekking in Central China

It might surprise you to find the world's most populous country on the same list as Kenya and Galápagos for wildlife encounters.

But what if I told you China is home to a diverse range of fauna, from primates and bears to big cats, foxes, and wolves?

In addition to offering you a glimpse into its endangered native species (the Giant Panda), nature reserves in mountainous central China serve as excellent off-the-beaten-path wildlife destinations.

Places such as Wolong, Baishuijiang, and Changqing allow travelers to go on long, cold treks in search of rare, fast-moving animals.

Bengal Tiger Conservation in India

While India's culture and history already rank it as a top destination for adventurous travelers, its wildlife has yet to make it into the spotlight. 

That's a shame, as India is one of only two countries where you can spot one of the world's most endangered species: Royal Bengal Tigers.

Better yet? The incredible biodiversity of the subcontinent allows you to also spot camels, crocs, elephants, rhinos, monkeys, and even pythons in one trip.

Several parks across India specialize in tiger conservation, so make sure you add a few to your itinerary to increase your chances of seeing the elusive Royal predator.

Unicorn Whales in Eastern Canada

Canada's East Coast is one of the premier regions in North America for wildlife lovers.

Notably, Newfoundland and Labrador offer some of the world's best sub-polar wildlife encounters.

Enjoy scuba diving? Don't miss the rare opportunity to swim with Narwhals, a unicorn-like whale.

Want to see an endangered polar bear?

While sightings here are less frequent than the Arctic Circle, you may be lucky enough to spot one.

Fancy a boat trip? Then whale watching is a must!

While much of Eastern Canada's unique wildlife is found in the ocean, you can also spot endangered species inland, such as wolverines and caribous.

On a Budget? Join a Volunteering Program

Even if you're on a budget, you can still experience some of the world's best wildlife encounters by participating in a volunteer program.

There are several volunteering schemes that involve wildlife conservation in all seven continents.

Some unique options include rearing monkeys in South Africa; working in wildlife parks in Namibia and Botswana; volunteering with bears in Romania and Cambodia; turtle conservation in Costa Rica; and even caring for sloths in Peru.

Some unique options include rearing monkeys in South Africa; working in wildlife parks in Namibia and Botswana; volunteering with bears in Romania and Cambodia; turtle conservation in Costa Rica; and even caring for sloths in Peru.


This story was brought to you in partnership with Exsus

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Saturday 1st of October 2016

I did a work exchange on the Galapagos Islands about 2 years ago and stayed for 2.5 months. Best decision I've ever made. I didn't know whether I should do it before, because I just started freelancing and wanted to get started in this field but I haven't regretted a thing. I worked 25 hours a week and still had enough time to encounter incredible wildlife, do tours for free which usually cost a small fortune and start small with freelancing. So there is always a way if you want to see a expensive destination like the Galapagos. Other places I'd love to explore from this list are Western Canada and Kenya.

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