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Bucket List Travel Best Wildlife Safaris Beyond Africa

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Bucket List Travel Best Wildlife Safaris Beyond Africa

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Bucket List Travel  Best Wildlife Safaris Beyond Africa
Bucket List Travel  Best Wildlife Safaris Beyond Africa

It's no secret that travel has skyrocketed since the coronavirus lockdown, but it's not just pent-up demand. The nature of tourist travel has changed and so-called "wish list" trips are becoming more and more popular. Perhaps this is because the global pandemic has opened our eyes to our mortal selves, reminding us that life can be short and that what we care about should not be put off. As consumers return to airports, remote destinations, exotic travel and immersive experiential vacations front and center, it now increasingly means "once in a lifetime".

Wildlife safaris are one of the highlights of a holiday and for most people this means a classic African big five type trip to see lions, rhinos, giraffes, elephants, cheetahs, zebras and more in East Africa. (Kenya, Tanzania) or South Africa (South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, etc.). Personally, I cannot praise this type of holiday enough, and just as some people go on a cruise or ski trip every year, I could go on an African safari every year (if I could afford it). For me it never gets old, there is so much to see and experience, but many travelers do it, they love it, and instead of turning back, they ask, what's next? Beyond the obvious options for these travelers, there is an increasingly diverse range of wildlife safaris.

For many, the first stop is also Africa, a trip to the gorillas that can be very exciting and life changing. Because gorillas can only be seen in parts of Uganda and Rwanda, and it usually lasts 2-3 days, this is often an extension of a traditional East African safari rather than the entire trip. I have written more about gorilla safaris here at Forbes and highly recommend them. But it's still Africa. Here are our top picks for your "next safari" in other parts of the world and some tips on how to best enjoy it.

Bengal tigers in India. Spotting especially beautiful big cats – lions, cheetahs and leopards – is important for most safari lovers, so it makes sense that tigers would be the next stop as they are, quite frankly, the best big cats around. You can see that lions are beautiful, but "king of the jungle" is overrated and certainly wouldn't be if he lived in the same forest as tigers. As long as they are safe in the pack, hyenas will chase after their food and there are many animals they cannot easily catch. The Bengal tiger is a real predator, and although he leads a solitary life, he is not afraid of anything and does not consider anything forbidden. They are fast, can travel long distances, are very strong and, unlike most cats, are good swimmers; they were even known to dive into the lake and kill an adult crocodile that was above them. The Bad Side But, first of all, there are few, if any, animals in nature that are so majestic. While lions tend to get bruised and bruised, tigers are more like cheetahs and leopards, with near-perfect multicolored coats and striking eyes so unique that they've become the subject of classic literature, pop songs, and even they have gems. Occupying their place at the top of the food chain, they are not as timid as cheetahs and tigers, and always exude an impressive combination of brute strength, grace, and confidence, making them great watchers when you find them.

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The downside of a tiger safari is that many travelers arrive empty-handed. If you go to Africa, you will definitely see lions, maybe a few, maybe a dozen. But tigers show more than 50-50 individuals over the course of 3-4 days, which is what most visitors look for on national park hunting tours. That's why it's even more important than choosing the right clothes and game plan on an African safari because the best lodges and accommodations in the best locations (Ranthambore National Park being number one) are highly personalized and must be booked. skillfully and in advance. As a contributor to one of the many magazines I once worked for, I regularly went there for a week and ended up writing a story about not seeing a single tiger, so when I got a special assignment for an aviation magazine, the first I actually called Micato Safaris, a 10-time winner of the global Travel + Leisure safari company . I told them that I only needed to see the tigers. The staff told me that the park closes during the hot summer months when it's very hot but the best view is right before closing and it's also very hot and many travelers don't like to go during this time because it doesn't. comfortable. . But the point was to see tigers, and I was willing to sweat for it, and I saw many tigers every day, different tigers, including a mother with two babies. Because adult tigers are solitary and have large ranges, seeing more than one tiger a day is a great reward, but requires careful planning.

That's when it's really important to do your research, ask the right questions, plan ahead, and rely on expert advice. In addition to tigers, India's tourism infrastructure is also difficult to navigate. Micato is widely regarded as the best safari company in the industry dealing only in Africa and India and their relationship and experience here is top notch. Most visitors combine tiger safaris and national parks with other top attractions – palaces, the Taj Mahal, Delhi, Jaipur and Mumbai – and can negotiate every step of the way. I have to go to tea in the hall of the royal palace, which is closed to the public due to Mikato. I spoke to National Geographic filmmakers who stay in the park for months filming tigers.

A big plus for travelers, and a surprise to many first-timers, is that India has home chains that rank among the world's top luxury and hotel brands, including Leela, Taj and Oberoi, which runs a luxury safari lodge in Oberoi. . : Ranthambore National Park. Mikato suggested that I go here, and now I fully support this recommendation. Aman and Taj properties are also available in the area and there is no shortage of amenities.

More good news. It's not just tigers. Ranthambore also has leopards, which in my opinion are the best thing for a "normal" African safari and I loved seeing them here – sloths, warthogs, porcupines, jackals, jungle cats, monkeys, antelope, crocodiles, all combined. and peacocks, over 300 other bird species. Abhishek Sharma, general manager of Oberoi, told me this during my visit. “Seeing a tiger is always more exciting than people expect. They came to India for the Taj Mahal, but they tell me that the tigers rival or surpass them. They say to read. and images prepared them for the Taj,” but nothing could prepare them for the tigers.

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Grizzly, Kodiak and polar bears. Bears are big both literally and in tourism. Brown bears are one of the main reasons why people flock to national parks like Yellowstone and Grand Teton, where they are often seen, and Alaska is also a great place to see them. For one-stop shopping, Yellowstone is a good choice for a local safari because it also has another popular wildlife attraction: wolves, bison, elk, bighorn sheep, and even wild horses. The city of Jackson, Wyoming is a major attraction and is home to many luxury hotels, including Four Seasons Jackson, Teton Mountain Lodge, Hotel Terra, and Hotel Jackson.

There is debate about whether the largest bear on earth is the polar bear or Kodiak, also known as the Alaskan brown bear, a close but larger relative of the brown bear. Large male bears can weigh up to 1,500 pounds, but most listeners, including the Library of Congress, point to the polar bear, which is also the largest carnivore on Earth. The Kodiak is critically endangered, rare, and only found on the Kodiak Peninsula in Alaska, but there are plenty of options for flights and day trips to see the world if you happen to be in the area.

For polar bears, Churchill, Manitoba is easily the first choice, and it's no secret that the Canadian city's nickname is "Polar Bear Capital of the World." Going Here is on the other end of the wildlife spectrum from the elusive tigers, with numerous but guaranteed daily sightings. Ann Scully, a consultant for Embark Beyond, one of the world's largest travel agencies, told me a few years ago that “unlike other wildlife, if you go to Churchill you will see bears. look at this." Up close, and it's really special. 10 years ago, no one wanted to see polar bears, but all of a sudden it's the next big thing, everyone wants to do it." On the other hand, there isn't much to do here, you go for the bears, not the lodge or other attractions, and while the area has great whale watching and northern lights, none of these three big attractions are like any other. . Peak season lasts only 5-6 weeks in autumn, when hundreds of animals gather throughout the city.

Scully also recommended several other well-known polar bear sightings that require longer trips but offer more alternative activities. The best of these include Greenland and the Norwegian peninsula of Svalbard, which are the best options for adventure cruises. These small boats, often covered in ice, are often paired with inflatable kayaks or watchtowers adapted for close-range viewing of polar bears, seals, sea hares, arctic foxes and reindeer, as well as spectacular ice formations known throughout the world. . region. A notable new addition is Le Commandant Charcot de Ponant, hailed as the most luxurious icebreaker in the world. Ponant is a French-flagged luxury line obsessed with food and service, and its new ship has everything from an outdoor thermal “lake” to an indoor sea pool, a massive wine cellar, duplex suites and even a smoking lounge. Ponant also has a strong focus on sustainability, and due to enter service in 2021, the Polar Class 2 icebreaker is equipped with a state-of-the-art hybrid engine that combines CNG and batteries. Ponant, known for its partnerships with leading education experts such as the Smithsonian Journeys, recently announced a partnership with the prestigious Explorers Club to invite scientists as instructors on many of its polar expeditions.

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Galapagos Islands. I recently traveled with a very experienced and well-traveled veteran magazine editor who has worked several times in both Africa and the Galapagos, and he told me that he thought the famous Ecuadorian islands were the most impressive. I had no trouble understanding it, but I know many people who have been walking back and forth in awe. I hear a recurring theme about how close and personal you are to wildlife, which includes giant tortoises, lizards, penguins, many birds, and large marine mammals such as whales, sea lions, and dolphins. Most excursions to the Galapagos are based on small adventure cruises and the best providers here are Hurtigruten, Quasar Expeditions, Aqua Expeditions, Avalon Waterways, Lindblad/National Geographic and Silversea.

Australia. Down Under is particularly hot right now and has become a popular tourist destination for everything from wine to golf, but wildlife is playing an increasingly important role. The Great Barrier Reef has always been a great place for diving and underwater wildlife, but more recently the luxury development of Kangaroo Island and its highly publicized Southern Ocean loggia have spurred kangaroo tourism. Here, guests drink champagne at sunset on the lawn, and kangaroos fly by a few steps away. Luxury travel consultant Chad Clark, owner of Phoenix-based Chad Clark Travel, told me, “Australia has amazing wildlife, whales, whale sharks, kangaroos, buffaloes and, of course, koalas. It's really underrated."

Sri Lanka. Many experts have told me that they think this will be one of the next great destinations based on a unique combination of the best land animals and the biggest sea creatures. The country has one of the densest leopard populations on the planet and perhaps the best place to reliably see these magnificent cats, even more so than most of Africa. There are also Asian elephants, peacocks, water buffaloes, monkeys and sloth bears. Whale watching is very popular all over the world, from Cape Cod to the Dominican Republic, but Sri Lanka is one of the few places where you can easily see the world's largest living creature, blue whales. Mark Lakin, CEO of luxury travel agency The Legacy Untold and member of the travel advisory board for Travel + Leisure magazine , told me, “A true classic safari product, a combination of cheetah and whale. Blue is absolutely unique."

Not many international, especially Western, hotel brands have entered the market, but a Thai luxury hotel and resort group that I have had good experience with from Asia to Europe has two resorts in Sri Lanka, both on the coast. Both offer whale watching, tours, and guided tours to some of the national parks best known for leopard sightings and other attractions, and many visitors combine the two tours into one with several nights each.

First time in Africa!! Wild lions and elephants on safari. /// Week 73: South Africa

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