If you’re planning a luxury wildlife holiday for 2019, we have just the list for you – our top five unique and indulgent wildlife destinations and experiences, as compiled by TravelManagers’ Rose Febo.
Whether it is swimming with a whale shark on Australia’s Ningaloo Reef, or coming face-to-face with a silverback gorilla in Uganda, nature has a unique way of reminding us just how insignificant we are. Popular choices include “Big Five” African safaris, along with other holidays that feature A-list species on land and sea, such as tigers, polar bears, gorillas, orang-utans turtles, whales and orcas.
The ultimate wildlife adventure is limited only by your imagination, and can combine breath-taking natural landscapes, close-up encounters with mesmerising wildlife, and captivating cultural experiences. Here are some of our favourites.
1. Lion Sands Game Reserve River Lodge, South Africa
Situated on a private concession within the Kruger National Park, the Lion Sands Game Reserve boasts a contemporary décor that exudes style, elegance and luxurious comfort. Nestled on the banks of the Sabie River, each suite has a private viewing deck for fine river views. During your stay, you’ll be treated to home-styled breakfasts and other culinary delights, including artisanal coffees and a traditional ‘Boma’ with a twist.
2. Sanctuary Chief’s Camp, Botswana
Set within the former royal hunting reserve of Chief Moremi in the heart of the Okavango Delta, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp offers a mind-blowing setting, with exceptional viewing and award-winning gastronomic experiences. Boasting a ‘safari chic’ décor, the bathrooms in its bush pavilions are fitted with floor-to-ceiling windows and folding glass doors leading to outdoor showers. The lodge gives you the opportunity to enjoy the traditional dug-out canoe experience, ‘mokoro’, with an expert guide, or indulge in some relaxing Africology spa treatments.
3. Sarova Mara, Kenya
Surrounded by Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve, the Sarova Mara camp is strategically situated in the heart of the migratory path of the zebras, wildebeest and gazelles. This means your Africa safari will provide you a front row seat to the awe-inspiring performance of the wildebeest migration. You can even opt for a hot air balloon safari to survey the reserve from on high.
4. The Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands, the world’s most famous wildlife destination, this year celebrates its 60th anniversary as a national park, with last year marking its 40th as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take a cruise aboard a luxury yacht and explore the wildlife highlights of the archipelago on land and in the water: highlights will include the lava fields of Punta Moreno where penguins live alongside marine iguanas and blue-footed boobies, an awe inspired snorkelling experience with sea lion pups and penguins.
Curious and other-worldly, Madagascar is full of surprises and extraordinary creatures. As Earth’s number one biodiversity hotspot, it has people, wildlife and landscapes found nowhere else on earth and it’s still largely untouched by tourism. The Mandrare River Camp was built within an old sisal plantation on the banks of the Mandrare River, and offers comforts such as four-poster beds and delectable gastronomy. As sun sets beneath the tamarind trees, enjoy a sundowner in the views of the mountain jungles beyond.