From polar bears in Norway to koalas in Australia, the world is teeming with exotic animal species to experience. If you’re an animal lover who has the travel bug, you won’t want to miss out on these wildlife-spotting vacation spots.
Kalahari Desert, Namibia
The Kalahari Desert in Namibia is a spectacular sight all on its own, with bright red sands, grass that shimmers in the sunlight, the dried remnants of river beds, and scatterings of acacia trees. It’s also a perfect place to spot all sorts of big cats and meerkats. If you’re lucky enough to arrive during a rainy spell, you may even see elephants, antelope, and hyenas.
Monkey Beach, Thailand
Monkey Beach, Thailand is all in the name – on the southwestern side of Tonsai Bay, this short strip of perfect white sand, bordered by clear emerald water, is a great place to hang out with the monkeys who live in the lush, tropical vegetation of its cliffs. You can take a boat from Tonsai, or even rent a sea kayak and make the journey under your own steam if you’re feeling adventurous.
Australia is famous as the home of wildlife you can’t see anywhere else in the world. If you’re looking for a unique animal experience, then this is the place to be. Catch koalas high in eucalyptus trees, kangaroos hopping along roadsides, plus platypus, wallabies, sea lions, and, even on the famous Fraser Island, penguins.
Off the coast of Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are pretty much the ultimate vacation spot for wildlife. Because there are no natural predators on the island, the animals aren’t afraid of people and will happily come right up to you for a photo. There’s so much wildlife to be seen! Alongside the famous giant tortoises, you can get up close and personal with sea lions, albatrosses, and even a tropical penguin or two.
A cluster of islands somewhere between the North Pole and the Norwegian mainland, Svalbard is one of the very few places on Earth where you might run into a polar bear in the wild – along with Arctic foxes, puffins, walruses, and reindeer. Most people visit in summer, as Svalbard is so far north that in summer, it’s daylight 24/7. Just be sure to wrap up!
Canada is full of incredible wildlife. On land, you’ll find grizzly bears, wolves, and black bears. With bald eagles soaring overhead and in the water, you’ll spot sea lions, porpoises, and dolphins. Head to Johnstone Strait in the late summer, and you’ll see the spectacular sight of orca pods in pursuit of the salmon run.
Definitely, one for the adventurous, Canaima National Park in Venezuela might be best known for its tabletop mountains and spectacular waterfalls (including the highest waterfall in the world), but it’s also home to an incredible number of species of animals. Brave the mountainside, and you’ll see giant anteaters, armadillos, jaguars, howler monkeys, and anacondas. You may also see the giant tarantulas that are eaten as a local delicacy.