Exotic destinations which are home to the world's most beautiful animals
No country can match Canada for spectacular scenery dotted with exhilarating wildlife encounters. You can spy on grizzly bears fishing for their supper from a floating lodge off Vanouver Island, where rainforest also conceals black and rare spirit bears. Or spot moose from a carriage on a Rocky Mountaineer train that climbs into craggy corners of the Rockies no other form of transport can reach. Combine both with an Alaskan cruise, skimming remote shorelines populated by sea otters and bald eagles, and you’ve got yourself the holiday of a lifetime.
For more info, see canadianaffair.com
supplied by Canadian Affair
Can you imagine the thrill of cuddling a baby orangutan? A conservation trip to Indonesian Borneo includes close-up encounters with these gentle giants of the rainforest. And it also shows you the dedicated work being done to to save their rainforest habitat. It's a privilege to spend time in Tanjung Puting National Park, where boat trips along the Sekonyer River give glimpses of proboscis monkeys, brilliant butterflies, and monitor lizards.
For more info, see steppestravel.com
Venture into the Antarctic Peninsula's ice-sculpted seascape of seething penguin rookeries, galumphing seals, spouting whales and screeching seabirds on a once-in-a-lifetime cruise. Small, expedition-style boats are the only way to explore - and even that's only possible during summer's partial thaw (November-March).
For more info, see discover-the-world.co.uk
This picture was shot with a zoom lens, but it certainly gets across the excitement of a walking safari, when you trek through the African bush with an expert (armed) guide. Originating in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park, it gives unmatched opportunities to spot sun-basking baboons and lounging leopard as well as slightly tetchy elephants! And hot, dry September and October are fantastic months to do it.
For more info, see africatravel.co.uk
As Charles Darwin discovered, Ecuador's dramatic Galapagos Islands are overflowing with unique wildlife. One of their most celebrated creatures, the blue-footed booby, performs an eleborate mating dance in which it shows off its colourful feet for hours on end! Giant tortoises and marine iguana (which blast salt from their nostrils) are also star attractions. The best way to see them is either via a cruise or by staying at a hotel that lays on boat trips such as new eco-de-luxe Pikaia Lodge.
For more info, see rainbowtours.co.uk
While plenty of European destinations offer the chance to see whales, none is more dramatic than Iceland, where minkey, humpback and sometimes killer whales weave between North Atlantic fishing boats. Small whale-watching craft chug out from Reykjavik's old harbour all year round, so you can choose between an icy encounter or an unforgettable experience under the midnight sun.
For more info and city breaks, see visiticeland.com
India?s charismatic tigers have captured our imaginations since Rudyard Kipling?s The Jungle Book. Modern-day Shere Khans prowl in the temple-studded forests of Kanha and Bandhavgarh national parks. They?re elusive ? you?ll get the best luck from late March to June when undergrowth is sparse - so it makes sense to include the experience as part of a broader holiday, like Ampersand Travel?s Taj, Temples and Tigers of North India adventure.
For more info, see ampersandtravel.com
In this corner of West Africa, even a poolside doze is shared with a feathered friend! This pic of an egret was snapped at The Kairaba Beach Hotel. To be almost overwhelmed by birdlife head to the part-forested Abuko Nature Reserve and the mangrove swamps of Tanji Bird Reserve, where 500-plus species including eagle owls, giant kingfisher and night herons go about their daily routines. The Gambia Experience organise tours - some led by TV wildlife expert Chris Packham - that you can slip inbetween lazy days in the sun.
For more info, see gambia.co.uk