But sadly, a number of these sites offer animal attractions that are less than ethical. Imagine the grueling training elephants must endure just so tourists can take a ride on them safely. And then there are tiger facilities that allow visitors to take photos with fully mature tigers. These tigers are chained and often drugged so they remain calm and docile enough for close contact with humans. (Remember Tiger King? Yeah, not great.)
Luckily, there are ethical wildlife experiences available globally. Some even make it their mission to rescue animals and give them the best life possible. So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable trip, check out my top 5 wildlife vacation spots that all made it on my bucket list.
Chiang Mai Elephant Land
Located in the south of Thailand, far away from the white sandy beaches, lies Chiang Mai. Its forestry scenery with rivers, waterfalls, and mountains simply takes your breath away. Visiting Chiang Mai Elephant Land allows you to see some of this beautiful scenery and, even better – wild elephants that roam around happily in their little jungle paradise.
Chiang Mai Elephant Land provides a better life for elephants by providing them with vast areas of ideal land where they can behave naturally, including a huge waterfall and river in which they can bathe. Their two-day sanctuary program is absolutely worthwhile and allows you to experience elephants from a whole new perspective – from feeding to bathing, hugging, and holding.
Mountain Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Mountain gorilla trekking in the jungle is ranked as one of the top wildlife experiences in the world. And for good reason. Because without it, there most likely wouldn’t be any gorillas left in the wild. When Biwindi Impenetrable National Park opened in 1993, there were only two gorilla families in the area – since then, the number of families has increased to 19.
To trek gorillas in the wild, you need to purchase a permit from the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which is costly but worth it because most of the money goes directly to conservation. Trekking and locating them is an experience in itself, but finding yourself in their presence is an experience you’ll never forget, especially if babies are present.
Tiger Safari in India
Madhya Pradesh is known as India’s Tiger State. It’s home to over 70% of the world’s wild tigers. So no wonder it’s a magnet for tourists on a tiger sighting mission. There are over 50 tiger reserves, but Bandhavgarh National Park is the best.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just rock up to it and be guaranteed a sighting – even though some parks make bold claims – but your chances are high, especially if you visit multiple parks.
Whale Watching across the World
There are numerous places for wildlife spotting excursions. And since they are a water-based activity, they’re also a fantastic combination with a relaxing beach holiday. When picking a spotting tour, make sure they follow ethical guidelines. Some of them chase whales every time they come up for air, which is incredibly distressing, so do your research before you book one.
Whale watching is also a very unique and memorable activity for children. The experience as a whole can foster a deep love for the ocean and its endangered species.
Facing Grizzly Bears in the Canadian Rockies
Another amazing wildlife trip is experiencing grizzly bears in the wild. Lake Louise is known as a hot spot due to the bountiful food sources on its slopes.
Another place to check out if planning a trip to see grizzlies is Knight Inlet which has one of the largest populations of bears. It’s located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, Canada, and is one of the hottest wildlife viewing destinations.
Wildlife holidays guarantee memories that last a lifetime. There’s nothing more powerful than experiencing animals in their natural habitat. I hope this blog post has inspired you to pick out your next wildlife adventure while keeping the safety of animals in mind.