Five great wildlife destinations

Seeing animals in the wild can be one of the most memorable and exciting aspects of a holiday, and quite conveniently, many of the best places to see wildlife are particularly exotic and well suited to honeymoons. Here’s a few of my favourites.

Sabah, Malaysia

The island of Borneo is a real treasure trove of delights – from misty mountains and lush rainforest to beautifully clear waters that are perfect for diving. But one of the best reasons to go is to visit fantastic Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. This is one of just three such sanctuaries for orang-utans in the world, housing semi-wild animals who have either been rescued from captivity or orphaned. Walkways through the forest allow you to observe these amazing creatures, as well as long-tail macaques, and the twice-daily feedings provide the opportunity to get particularly up close to them. Another big highlight of visiting this Malay state is being able to head out to Turtle Islands National Park – only accessible as part of an overnight tour, though you can spend the day there snorkelling and swimming in the sea. At night, Hawksbill and Green turtles head up the beach to lay eggs. Peak laying season is from July to October, though you can visit throughout the year.

Tanzania

You can’t really go wrong anywhere in southern Africa when it comes to seeing wildlife, but Tanzania is considered by many to have truly unparralleled opportunities for game viewing. For many, of course, the highlight is the vast Serengeti, not least from December to July during the wildebeest migration, and it’s one of the best places in Africa to see leopards. But there’s plenty of other areas to visit that offer equally rewarding animal-spotting, such as Tarngire, home to large numbers of elephants, and the untouched wilderness of southern Tanzania. Best of all, you can combine a safari with a stay on the beautiful island of Zanzibar where you can soak up the relaxed atmosphere or explore life under the sea with some great diving.

Costa Rica

The incredible biodiversity of this beautiful Central American country – encompassing mangroves, rainforest, white-sand beaches and volcanoes – makes it home to an astonishing array of wildlife, and good conservation practices are ensuring that this is thriving. Whether you want to explore the rivers to spot caimans and crocodiles, try your luck at seeing pumas in the Karen Mogensen Reserve, or keep your eyes open for sloths in Corcovado National Park, you’ll find yourself absolutely spoilt by the variety of wildlife  here.

Madagascar

A trip to Madagascar won’t come cheap, but if you can afford it and are looking for superlative wildlife viewing then this is an amazing choice. The surprisingly large island is home to an amazingly diverse collection of flora and fauna, including almost twenty different species of lemur, plus jumping rats, mongoose, aye-ayes, amazing, brightly coloured birds and, from June to September, humpback whales. If you’re planning on honeymooning here, I would recommend booking through a tour operator like Rainbow Tours, who have great local knowledge and will help you to get the most out of this amazing island.

Australia

I’m a bit of a sucker for anything cute and furry, so I was in animal heaven when I visited Australia. One of the highlights was undoubtedly stumbling across sleepy koalas on a long walk on Magnetic Island, and seeing a whole herd of kangaroos hopping around in the Blue Mountains. Then of course there’s the possums, the Tasmanian devils, the dingos (though they’re a bit more scary than cute), the platypuses….you really are spoilt for choice here. In addition, don’t forget about the sea life – at Monkey Mia in Western Australia the dolphins come right up to the shore, then there’s turtles, whales and dugongs in nearby Shark Bay, and amazingly brightly-coloured fish life on the Great Barrier Reef.



Photographs courtesy of Guido Appenzeller and belgianchocolate

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