There are countless unforgettable wildlife encounters one can experience in a lifetime. We collected some of our favorite experiences to share them with you.
Gorilla Trekking in Africa
It is estimated there to be only 790 Mountain Gorillas left in the world. Joining a Gorilla Safari is a wonderful opportunity to see these endangered great apes. These Gorilla treks usually require a permit and once your group has spotted the Gorillas you have 1 hour to spend with them. Uganda or Rwanda are your best bet to see Mountain Gorillas. There are a few other places like Nigeria and Cameron to list a few that offer you with a chance to see Mountain Gorillas but these places are less established and your chances of actually getting to see gorillas is lower.
Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales in Australia
Dwarf minke whales are amongst the smallest of the baleen whales, reaching a maximum length of around 8m. The Great Barrier Reef is the only location where snorkel and dive tours with minke whales are available. Swimming with Dwarf Minke Whales is tightly regulated and only a handful tour operators have licenses. A multi day dive trip is your best chance of encountering them. Silversonic and Poseidon cruises are the only operators that also offer snorkeling day trips with the required license to get in the water if minke whales do show up.
Panda Bears in China
The giant panda is native to south central China. There are roughly only 1800 remaining pandas in the world. The probably best place to see pandas is the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research base in China. There is even the possibility to snuggle side by side with a young panda for a photo opportunity. Especially young pandas are very playful and are a joy to watch. Find out more about places to see giant pandas.
Swim with Galapagos Sea Lions
Wildlife encounters on the Galapagos Islands are usually plentiful. It’s difficult to pick the best one, but swimming with Sea Lions is probably one of the most memorable ones. Especially the young Galapagos Sea Lions are very curious and playful. Check out our video of Galapagos Sea Lions playing with us or the general variety of animals to expect on a trip to the Galapagos islands.
Wildebeest Migration in Africa
The Great Wildebeest Migration is an annual migration of giant herds of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles across northern Tanzania and Kenya. It is a truly spectacular event to see over two million animals move through the Serengeti and Masai Mara ecosystems in search of green pasture. A great way to observe the migration is from the air by hot air balloon.
Chobe River Boat Safari in Botswana
A boat safari offers a unique and very different experience from your regular safari. Elephants usually being territorial don’t seem to consider boats a threat and it is often possible to get very close to these majestic animals. You might get lucky seeing a big herd of elephants coming to the water to drink and you are guaranteed to see some big hippos.
Penguins in Antarctica
If you like Penguins, and who doesn’t, a visit to Antarctica might be in order. Depending on the cruise you’ll get on you might have the opportunity to visit huge colonies of Adélie, Chinstrap, Gentoo, Emperor, King, Rockhopper and Macaroni Penguins. Earlier in the season you can observe penguins breeding. Going a bit later and you'll have young penguins literally walking all over you. If you want to see a specific species of penguins make sure to do your research where a cruise ship stops.
Great White Shark Cage Diving
If you are looking for a more adrenalin filled wildlife encounter try cage diving with Great White Sharks. There are only a few places around the world where this is possible. The best places are False Bay/Seal Island, South Africa, Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico and Neptune Islands, South Australia. South Africa is probably the only place where you can do day trips from shore. Other places like the Farallon Islands of the coast of San Francisco, California should be avoided since there seems to be almost no chance of seeing a Great White Shark. There is some controversy about cage diving since it usually requires to chum the sharks and you’ll have to decide for yourself if you’d like to support this.
Swimming with Whale Sharks
The whale shark is the world’s largest fish, growing as long as 60 feet. It is possible to swim with these gentle giants at various locations around the world. Some of the top places are in the Philippines, Mexico, Seychelles, Belize, Western Australia and a few more.
Alaska Bear Camp
Seeing a black or brown bear in the wild up close is a truly remarkable experience. There are many places in the US where you might be able to encounter them (hopefully from a safe distance and always prepared with bear spray). Maybe one of the best experiences we have seen is the Alaska Bear Camp. Find out more about the Alaska Bear Camp.
Please manage your expectations and keep in mind that most of the wildlife encounters can’t be guaranteed as the animals have a mind of their own. You should also plan carefully to make sure any encounters are sustainable and have no or at least only very little impact to the wildlife.
If you know of any other unique wildlife encounter please comment below or send us a message!