Following in the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace
June 15, 2023
Diverse, vibrant and wild; the many ecosystems of our planet have so much to offer the curious traveller. From the orangutans of Tanjung Puting to the tree climbing lions of the Ishasha Plains, the sheer variety of experiences is tough to get your head around! With that in mind, we have compiled our list of the top 5 wildlife wonders around the world. We have carefully selected one from each of the regions we offer, showing you where, when and how to see it for yourself…
Sea Turtles in Nicaragua
Nestled on the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua, just to the south of San Juan del Sur, is one of the most important sea turtle breeding sites in Central America. The La Flor Nature Reserve may be on the small side, only 800 hectares in total, but tens of thousands of turtles gather there each year to lay their eggs on the shoreline. Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley turtles are all known to nest at La Flor, but the Olive Ridley is by far the most numerous. On some nights they come in hundreds, on others it’s merely a handful but to be so close to these majestic creatures is awe-inspiring on any scale. Flocking from the water to dig their nests, this annual turtle exodus is an unforgettable wildlife experience for any traveller.
When: Nesting season falls between July and December.
How: Our local operator can easily arrange an excursion to the La Flor Reserve. It’s about a twenty minute drive from San Juan del Sur and sightings are most likely during the evenings.
Komodo Dragons in Indonesia
Living relics of an ancient age, Komodo Dragons are one of nature’s most incredible wildlife spectacles. Komodo National Park spans three large islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller ones. The collective area is home to approximately 2500 dragons, each around 3 metres long and weighing up to 90kg. With pristine beaches and sprawling rainforests, the landscape of the islands alone is enough to draw any curious traveller but it is the wildlife that keeps them enthralled. While the Komodo Dragon is the star, the park also boasts large populations of wild horses and monkeys, as well as unparalleled marine life in its azure oceans.
When: While it is possible to see the dragons all year round, April – July is the best window if you want good weather without the crowds.
How: While there are plenty of group tours around Komodo National Park, the best way to see it is with your own guide and to be escorted around the islands by a ranger. Our local experts can arrange excursions to Komodo as part of your Indonesia adventure!
Nubian Ibex in Jordan
Sprawling sandstone cliffs and hillsides carpeted with flowers are the defining characteristics of Dana Nature Reserve. An easy day trip from Petra, Jordan’s largest nature reserve is an absolute must-see for wildlife lovers. Among its 45 species of mammal is an increasing population of the endangered Nubian Ibex. These desert dwelling goats, heavily featured in BBC One’s recent series of Planet Earth II, move in gender-segregated herds through this difficult terrain. Easily recognised by their thin curling horns and white underbellies, conservation efforts have allowed ibex numbers to steadily increase over recent years. With 600 types of plant and over 180 species of bird also on offer, Dana Nature Reserve is well worth including in your Jordan itinerary!
When: If you want to see an Ibex herd, the best time to visit Dana is during the spring. Not only is the landscape stunning, with flowers in full bloom, but the herds are likely to be on the move for the approaching breeding season.
How: Dana can be easily reached from Petra but its sprawling landscapes are best explored with the help of a local guide. They know the biodiversity of the area and can give you an insight into life in the reserve. Our local experts are on hand to offer advice!
Spectacled Bears in Ecuador
Home to towering mountains and sprawling greenery, the Bellavista Cloud Forest Reserve is a true wildlife haven. Just a couple of hours drive from the bustle of Quito, Bellavista boasts incredible biodiversity and is a stronghold for the last remaining species of South American bear. The Spectacled Bear, so-named because of the distinctive markings around its eyes, has made the dense canopy of the cloud forest it’s home. Not only is Bellavista dedicated to protecting bear populations, it’s also an active research station and conservation hub. Trekking programmes allow visitors to get up close to Bellavista’s wildlife and, with an experienced guide on hand, a sighting of the elusive Spectacled Bear is well within reach.
When: Spectacled Bears are constantly on the move so the best time to catch them in Bellavista is between November and February.
How: While they are notoriously elusive and difficult to spot, you can get close to Spectacled Bears in their natural habitat with the help of our local experts! Taking a few days to explore the area, and staying in a lodge in Bellavista, increases your chances!
Mountain Gorillas in Uganda
Although wildlife lovers are spoilt for choice on this biologically diverse continent, some excursions stand apart from the rest. Gorilla trekking in Uganda is one such experience; utterly unforgettable and sure to leave you wanting more. Home to over 350 Mountain Gorillas, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is one of the best places in the country to see these majestic animals at close quarters. The opportunity to watch the group socialise, feed and nurse their young is a magical, and often emotional, experience. As well as its beloved gorillas, Bwindi is home to 350 types of plant and over 400 species of bird, easily identified by a local expert guide.
When: High season for visiting Uganda falls June – September and December – February. During these times, drier weather means that the trek through the forest is less challenging. However, for the adventurous a trip in the rainy season can mean fewer crowds and lower permit prices.
How: Following an early start, you will trek through dense forest to find where the gorillas spent the night. You will then spend an hour observing them, accompanied by a knowledegable guide. Our local experts can help get your plans underway.
If you’re ready for the wildlife experience of a lifetime, why not send an enquiry to one of our local experts? They are ready to help you plan your dream trip! Check out our destination pages for more information or you can give us a call in office: 0117 325 7898.
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