Best Nature & Wildlife Trips around the World

Lions are just one animal you can see on a safari

© Shutterstock

lion in South Africa

Lions are just one animal you can see on a safari

© Shutterstock Best Nature & Wildlife Trips around the World These world-class breaks will let you get up close and personal with wildlife ranging from beluga whales to buffalo, and enjoy some epic scenery.

Savannah + The Big Five, South Africa

Dusty red plains, mirror-like lakes, swaying grasses – the 10,000 hectares of bushland in South Africa’s Shambala Private Game Reserve are so picturesque, they look like they've been lifted straight from The Lion King. But among the craggy trees and open fields you’ll also find some of the country’s finest Big Five game viewing, with lions, leopards, rhino, elephants and buffalo ready for capturing on camera. After a morning out exploring with your expert guide Sean, return to the luxurious Zulu Camp, home to just a clutch of thatched private villas, and nibble breakfast by a waterfall. 

Jungle + Birds, Peru

Settings don’t get much more evocative than the Amazon rainforest, with its sticky tropical heat, snaking rivers and bizarre plant life. But it’s also a prime place to see some of the world’s rarest wildlife, whether you’re looking for slithering anacondas or howling monkeys. At Inkaterra Reserva Amazonica, perched right on the banks of the caiman-stuffed Madre de Dios River, the birdwatching is especially impressive: more than 500 species have been spotted on the hotel grounds. After a night sleeping in a cosy cabana cloaked in trees, rise for an early-morning boat ride to spot flocks of colourful macaws congregating near the waterside. 

Arctic Tundra + Polar Bears, Canada

Set between boreal forest and the vast expanse of Hudson’s Bay, the little town of Churchill, Manitoba, spends much of its year frozen under a blanket of snow. People come to view the northern lights from its remote lodges, try dog-sledding, cruise with beluga whales and – most of all – to witness the polar bear migration every autumn. As the silvery giants migrate towards the bay, safari expeditions on zodiacs or giant tundra vehicles let you get (safely) within photo-snapping distance. Tour operators such as Discover the World run holidays.

Desert Islands + Flamingos, Bahamas

With more than 700 islands and thousands of cays, the Bahamas majors in castaway strips of sand that look as pretty as a postcard. But you can combine that laze on a sun-drenched beach with some serious wildlife watching, too. Inagua, a large and mostly uninhabited island in the south, is home to a whopping 80,000 West Indian flamingos – the world’s biggest breeding colony – as well as dozens of other unique native birds. Book into one of the down-to-earth guesthouses, such as Enrica’s Inn, then head out on a feather-filled excursion with Great Inagua Tours.

Volcanoes + Gorillas, Rwanda

When you arrive in the lofty Rwandan highlands, lush with trees and cloaked in mist, it’s easy to imagine that you’re at the top of the world. But while the mind-blowing views over forested volcanoes and island-studded Lake Burera are reason enough to book into Virunga Lodge – a luxury stay perched on a particularly cinematic ridge – you’d be silly to stay put. You’ve really come here for the multi-day gorilla safaris, which let you spot the endangered apes in their natural mountain-top habitat. Keep eyes peeled for rare golden monkeys, too.