If you’re a fan of outdoor pursuits, magnificent scenery and observing wildlife in their natural habitats – be that on land, high up in the clouds or in the world’s most vast oceans – or in sanctuaries dedicated to protecting an endangered species through a breeding programme, we have some fabulous ideas for destinations where you can enjoy all the extravagances of luxury lodges and hotels, coupled with close-up animal encounters that will live in the memory for a lifetime.
You can head to Chengdu as part of a wide-ranging China itinerary to observe pandas at Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, or enjoy a stay at an exclusive clifftop lodge off the south coast of Australia, with the opportunity to see a host of animals – including seals, koala bears, ospreys and kangaroos – in their natural wilderness environment. Alternatively, Africa has a head-spinning number of options for wildlife encounters, so much so that visitors to the continent will be spoilt for choice, but may be able to tick a few animal species off their wish list in one trip. In Kenya, it’s all about the vast grasslands, which allows for effortless observation of the ‘Big Five’ and the Great Migration, while Botswana is the go to destination to observe huge numbers of colourful birdlife during the wet season (from November to April). In the Indian Ocean, the Seychelles provides a surprising number of interesting animals, sealife and birds to view, including tropical fish, roaming tortoises and a colourful abundance of tropical birds, including the extremely rare Magpie Robin, which can be found on Fregate Island, a lush private retreat of exceptional natural beauty. Finally, to the west coast of Canada, where we feature a handpicked selection of amazing luxury eco lodges that provide the perfect base from which to seek out Grizzly Bears and species of whales (in season). The areas off the coast of Vancouver are a bird-watcher’s paradise, too, where birdlife such as Oyster Catchers, Bald Eagles, pelicans, Black-footed Albatrosses, puffins and Peregrine Falcons can be found soaring in the skies above lush spruce and cedar forests, tip-toeing across the mudflats of Tofino or diving into Clayoquot Sound in search of food.