the world's smartest travel social network
We all have a bucket list, whether it be entrenched in our minds or thoughtfully prepared on paper; travel destinations that we long to visit. For many people these ‘trips of a lifetime’ get put on the backburner as they seem so unattainable.
I like to think of knocking these places off whenever time and money will allow me to, why wait? Wildlife and nature focused travel is my passion, and the more places and unique experiences I learn about the longer my bucket list gets!
Why wildlife and nature travel? We all have favorite animals, whether it be the elusive tiger, the giant elephant or a playful sea lion. Most of us only dream about seeing these animals up and close in the wild – but so many of us WILL only ever see them at the local zoo or on TV. For whatever animal you long to get close to, there is likely a trip for it!
Here are a few trips of a lifetime you might want to add to your list!
Gorillas are one of our closest relatives and share 96% of our DNA. There are only about 800 Mountain Gorillas left in the wild and are considered extremely endangered. Reasons for their decline include deforestation, poaching, and agriculture growth.
There are numerous options available to get up and close with these curious creatures, trips range from 3-14 days in length. Gorilla permits are required and must be booked in advance. Guests must be willing and physically fit to trek up to 8 hours a day in search of the gorillas and once found you are permitted to remain in their presence for 1 hour, a truly moving experience.
My trip suggestion – Imaginative Traveler: Masai Mara & Mountain Gorillas, 15 Days from $2145 CAD plus local payment of $450 CAD
A cluster of volcanic islands located 1000 km’s off the coast of Ecuador, these enchanting islands are known for its plethora of wildlife, many species found nowhere else on earth. Wildlife here includes the Galapagos Sea Lions, Waved Albatross, Blue Footed Boobies, Giant Tortoises, Galapagos Penguins and Marine Iguanas (the list goes on)…these animals have never developed a fear of humans and the opportunities for close interaction with these animals is guaranteed.
Traveling through the islands is strictly regulated and you must be accompanied by a Certified Guide. There are numerous cruise options to take ranging from 3-14 days in length, as well as land based itineraries for those who have issued with sea sickness. A typical day on-board a cruise would include 2 land based excursions, snorkeling (sometimes more than once a day), time for some relaxing and plenty of time interacting with your guide and learning about the islands.
My trip suggestion – Natural Habitat Adventures: Classic Galapagos on-board the Nina, 11 Days from $5595 USD
Polar bears have recently been added to the list of endangered species and can be found in 5 nations worldwide including Canada. It’s exciting to know that we don’t have to travel very far to experience the polar bears in their natural hábitat! Polar bear expeditions operate mainly in October and November when they wait for Hudson’s Bay to freeze over. The expeditions travel in tundra buggies which helps to view these guys up close and personal!
My trip suggestion – Natural Habitat Adventures: Classic Polar Bear Photo Expedition, 7 Days from $5095 USD
Antarctica, one of the most isolated and mesmerising places on Earth, a continent of extremes, one of the most fragile ecosystems on Earth. People that travel here often talk about the quietness of the land, the sheer beauty of the icebergs - then there is the wildlife. Penguins in the millions, whales, seals, seal lions and numerous species of birds.
The journey through the Sub-Antarctic Islands and on to Antarctica is a journey of enrichment, experiences that cannot be described until you do it for yourself.
This past December I had the opportunity to travel with Orion Expeditions through the Sub-Antarctic Islands of New Zealand and Australia – we were immersed with penguins, Kings, Gentoos, Royal, Yellow Eyed – so many species, plus Elephant seals, sea lions, Waved Albatross (the largest bird in the world), and so many other types of wildlife. Passing giant icebergs that have been floating up from Antarctica for years. This is the trip of a lifetime. Since traveling here I NEED to get all the way down to Antarctica!
My trip suggestion – Orion Expeditions: NZ & Sub-Antarctic Wildlife Adventure, 13 Nights from $9035 USD
OK, you’re probably thinking, why the Baja Coast? For any whale lover, trips through this area is heaven. Expedition style cruises operate through theSea of Cortes during the months that the whalesmígrate down from their northern feeding grounds into the sheltered lagoons of Baja and Mexico to breed and rear their Young. This gives travelers the chance for exciting encounters, closer then you can imagine, with the giant mammals. You also have the chance to see dolphins, sea lions and birds like the Blue Footed Boobies.
My trip suggestion – Lindblad Expeditions: Among the Great Whales, 8 Days from $4990 USD