Are you thinking about which destination to tick off your list next? You might well base your decision on the local culture, where you can eat, what activities you can do, a particular hotel you want to experience, and for many of us, will you be able to get some well-earned rest and relaxation?! One element which is often overlooked when considering destinations however, is what wildlife you are likely to see.
Wildlife plays a significant role in shaping the local area, wherever you go. Whether found in the sea, air or on land, it will doubtless surround you and can enhance your holiday in many ways. From the background noises of birds freewheeling through the sea air to the thrill of watching large native animals in their natural environment, wildlife adds a whole new dimension to a holiday.
We are visiting three very different environments around the world to explore the wildlife on offer in this week’s post. If you would like more information on any of these incredible destinations, then please do get in touch with our expert travel advisors on +44 1993 899 430.
Known as the ‘Big Sky Country’, Montana is home to an amazing array of wildlife spread, across its prairies and mountains. One of its most famous destinations is Yellowstone National Park. A haven for nature lovers and rich with wildlife, flora and fauna. In fact, the entire state is renowned for being a wildlife haven and has a greater variety of wildlife than anywhere in the lower 48 states.
So, just what can you expect to see (and what should you be on your guard for?!).
There are too many species to note fully but you should definitely be on the lookout for the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle! Montana has a strong population of the endangered Bald Eagle. You will find these along waterways and lakes. If you are planning a trip especially to see these amazing birds then Autumn is the best, when they migrate from Canada and Alaska to winter in Montana. The Golden Eagle is a truly impressive sight, with an incredible wingspan yet agile flight control. More prevalent than the Bald Eagle, they live right across Montana in the mountains and prairie canyons, where the rugged terrain provides good updrafts for flight.
Home to both the Grizzly and Black Bear, you will want to be on the lookout when out hiking! Grizzly bears are probably the most feared animal in North America and sightings are rare. A thrilling animal to spot but you will most definitely want to spot from afar. Black bears are more common and a sighting is thus more likely.
An iconic Montana animal, the humble Moose is quite a sight. These ungainly but beautiful animals can be spotted in the meadows and marshy areas across Montana. They spend their time eating the underwater vegetation found in these areas. Despite their size they are great swimmers!
To say we have barely scratched the surface with regards to exploring the wildlife diversity of this stunning part of the world would be an understatement. Montana is a wonderful destination for wildlife lovers and nature/outdoor enthusiasts.
Where to Stay – The Resort at Paws Up
This 37,000 acre working ranch is located deep in the heart of Montana’s Big Sky country. An inspired combination of 5 star rustic chic, this is the perfect getaway for couples and families alike. Surrounded by mountains and forests, wide open spaces and huge horizons, you can take part in so many diverse activities in rural idyll. Find out more here.
From the rugged outdoors that is Montana, we are heading for an island paradise; the Seychelles. Common consensus marks these islands as the most beautiful in the world. Visually stunning, they are also home to a breath-taking array of wildlife, much of which faced extinction at some point in the past. Thanks to the efforts of conservationists, including famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, the Seychelles now teem with life, both on shore and in the tropical waters surrounding the islands.
So, what might you spot on a trip to the Seychelles?
Ornithologists flock to the Seychelles as a result of the near 250 different species that call these islands home. Twelve of these species are what is known as endemic, which means they are found nowhere else in the world. You will want to keep a lookout for some of the more unusual ones including the blue pigeon, the Scops owl and frigatebirds.
Tortoises and Turtles
Home to the greatest concentration of giant tortoises in the world, the magnificent but rare Aldabra tortoise can be found across the islands. One of the Seychelles most notable land animals, these fascinating creatures can live for well over a century and weigh in excess of 200kg. Despite their size, they are able swimmers and can be found making the most of the waters around the islands. You will also see the Hawksbill turtle which is an endangered species. If you are lucky, you may see them come ashore to lay their eggs. An unforgettable experience.
Get ready to strap on the scuba gear for one of the most colourful of diving experiences. With over 1,000 species of fish around the Seychelles, the water teams with life and makes swimming amongst the coral reefs an entrancing process. Make sure your diving mask is fog free and you will spot parrotfish, angelfish, pufferfish and moray eels to name but a few. In addition, the islands are home to the whale shark which is the biggest fish in the world but don’t worry… they are filter feeders and not at all interested in humans!
Where to stay – Fregate Island
Steeped in history, Fregate Island was once a hideout for pirates. Today, Fregate Island is one of the world’s most exclusive private island retreats. During your stay you will be encouraged to make the most of their ‘anything, anytime, anywhere’ policy which means your holiday will be personally tailored to you and your family. You can find out more about this exclusive destination here.
A blog about travelling to wildlife rich destinations would not be complete without mentioning South African game reserves. Home to some of the most incredible animals on the planet, South Africa is a mecca for wildlife lovers. Hundreds of species of birds compete for your attention with over 100 species of mammal in this breathtakingly beautiful country. Most visitors will opt to travel to a wildlife reserve where animals are protected and knowledgeable guides can ensure you experience the best these reserves have to offer.
Many visitors will be excited to spot the ‘Big Five’… well you will have certainly come to the right place.
Needing little introduction, these truly beautiful animals are found across South Africa living in savanna where tall grasses, bushes and shrubs obscure them. The most socially inclined of wild felines, lions, live and hunt in packs and are seen resting together for much of the day. On the right game reserves, you are almost sure to be able to spot these wonderful animals in the wild.
The undisputed wildlife king; spotting an elephant (or more than one if you are lucky) in the wild probably will be the most unforgettable wildlife-related moment of your life. Nothing quite prepares you for seeing these magnificent animals in the flesh.
Most active between sunset and sunrise, these elusive creatures are seldom seen. To stand any chance of a sighting you will need the help of an experienced guide. These stunning creatures are adept climbers so you will need to look skyward if you are to catch a glimpse.
Reaching heights of up to 1.5m, these powerful animals roam the veld, bulk grazing the grassy landscapes. Moving in herds that sometimes number the hundreds, they present an awe-inspiring vista as they travel across the landscape.
There are two African Rhino species, black rhino and white rhino. Both have increased in numbers in recent years thanks to conservation efforts. Rhinos have been around for millions of years and play a crucial role in the local environment's ecosystem. A real ‘must see’ for any wildlife enthusiast!
Where to Stay - Royal Malewane
Royal Malewane is a vast game reserve that offers its visitors some of the best guided tours available in South Africa led by exceptionally experienced trackers and guides. Following enthralling sightings out in the bush, enjoy exceptional comfort in the stunningly luxurious suites. To find out more about Royal Malewane click here.
For more information on any of these destinations please contact our travel team on +44 1993 899 430 or click here for more contact options.