Looking for something wild from your next holiday? Get inspiration from our list of the best safaris around the world.
Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
Uganda may not be the first country that springs to mind when you think of safari, but its gorilla population makes it an incredible destination. Take a private charter flight from Entebbe to the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - or charter a car from the nearby Butogota. Home to around half of the world's mountain gorillas, the park is the best place to track the endangered, majestic creature. The lush scenery, as well as the chance to spot lions, zebras, buffaloes, elephants, leopards and baboons, completes the experience in this untouched area of Africa. Check for more information at the Uganda Wildlife Authority
Snow Leopards in Ladakh
Equally rare, is the elusive and beautiful snow leopard. Ladakh, a high-altitude desert situated in the Indian side of the Himalayas, is one of the best places to catch the mesmerising creature. It's a tough place to access, and the environment is harsh, but efforts are rewarded with breathtaking scenery. Tour groups here tend to be kept small due to the intimate nature of the area and, as well as tracking the snow leopard, guides often include meetings with locals and an insight into the small Ladakh community's way of life. If you miss the snow leopard, the stunning, mountainous region is also home to the golden hawk, brown bears, blue sheep and Argali. Find out more about the Snow Leopard Tour at Ladakh Camp.
Jaguars in Brazil
The beaches of Rio aren't the only thing Brazil has going for it, nor is the Amazon. Step into Pantanal - a tropical wetland in western Brazil - and you'll find a world of flora and fauna. Ecotourism is big here and it's easy to find eco-friendly lodges and local inns within the 5400 square mile area. Special safari tours can be organised from interior cities such as Corumba, Miranda or Coxim with the aim of spotting the magnificent jaguar as well as other endangered species and wildlife including alligators, capybaras, macaws and anacondas. Brazil Tourist Board has all the information you need.
The Big Five in South Africa
Famously home to the 'big five' - leopard, lion, rhinoceros, buffalo and elephant - South Africa is one of the world's most familiar safari destinations. Seeing these mammals in their natural habitat has been impressing tourists since the days of Livingstone and none of the novelty has worn off. South Africa has game parks aplenty around the country, offering budget day parks, luxury five star resorts and everything in between. Visit South Africa Tourist Board for more information.
Elephants in India
Elephants are worshipped in Hindu mythology as the deity Ganesha, Remover of Obstacles. Forget the tired tourist experience of riding on the back of an elephant and set out in search of elephants in the wild - there are an estimated 25000 wild elephants in India, so the odds are good. Southern India, particularly the Nagarhole National Park in Karnataka, is the best area to see elephants in their natural forest and bamboo thicket environment. Package tours are available. Check Nagarhole National Park to find out more.
Trumpeter Swans in Ohio
Almost on the verge of extinction in Ohio, the Trumpeter Swan is protected from being hunted while they complacently inhabit the waters of the Wild Side. Accommodating a variety of other mammals, amphibians and invertebrates, there’s a choice between four types of safaris. There's a Sunset Safari with magnificent views of the landscape; the Wild Zipline Safari for adventurous ’flight-seeing’ fun; the Horseback Safari that journeys along the hillsides or you can throw out a line for a big catch at the Fishing Safari - all while absorbed in the beauty of the lakes and forests. Group tours are available. For more information and booking inquiries, go to the Wild Side.
Civets in Singapore
Native to both Asia and Africa, these small nocturnal animals are mainly found in tropical forests. Cared for at the Wildlife Reserves Singapore along with numerous other creatures, civets are also included in the 30-minute Night Show with animals at the award-winning Night Safari. Visitors are given the opportunity to participate in the activities of the show - a unique chance at the world’s first nocturnal zoo. Check out Night Safari to find out more.
Bird watching in Tanzania
With 529 bird species complemented by 1650 plant species, it’s no wonder Ruaha is known for its bird watching location. Once you’ve managed to tear away from your binoculars observing the Lilac Breasted Rollers and the Glossy Starlings, feel free to make your way to the Great Ruaha River. Over here, you can watch on as the Egyptian Geese make their way across the river while occasionally baring their feathery bottoms as they hunt. But don’t limit yourself to just the feathery friends of nature, Ruaha is also famous for its growing population of elephants and is home to the African wild dog and rhinoceroses. For more information on accommodation and fees, visit the Ruaha National Park site.
Lions in Kenya
You haven’t experienced a safari unless you’ve witnessed the king of the jungle hunt, laze around and catnap. These magnificent mammals are the heart of wildlife and can be found in abundance at the Maasai Mara Wildlife Reserve. Known as one of the best safari destinations the world over, the Maasai Mara gives you the opportunity to experience the cheetah, leopard, buffalo, gazelle and many other animals potentially an arms-length from you. To find out more about available safaris, accommodation and other activities, browse through the Maasai Mara site.
The Lechwe in Botswana
Native to a few African countries, but predominantly found in the Okavango Delta, lechwes are a type of antelope that thrive in marshy areas. There are currently more than 60000 lechwes at the Okavango with a water resistant substance on their legs streamlined for wet areas like the delta. The wetlands, wildlife and plant life at the Okavango makes for an ideal safari and the scenic views of the Okavango delta can be uniquely experienced on a mokoro - a traditional boat. Find out more about the safari and other relevant information at Siyabona Africa.
Last Updated: June 2010