Wildlife Watching

Overall rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ – 3 adventure travel stars

Who's watching who, gorilla toddler playing peek-a-boo

Who’s watching who, gorilla toddler playing peek-a-boo

Wildlife watching is a pretty tame adventure for the most part. That is, where risk and the physical aspects are concerned (there are exceptions), but when it comes to good clean fun in a natural environment you’d be hard pressed to find anything more exhilarating.

You can go on many different types of safaris from Alaska to Africa, dive the watery depths to see how animals with gills and blowholes live their lives and venture to a number of wildlife havens to watch strange, colorful and majestic birds.

I went on a gorilla trek in Rwanda, and it was one of the most exciting adventures of my life.

It was a muddy uphill climb, but once we found the community of gorillas I was absolutely captivated by the way they interacted with us. It was incredible.

To see a couple more photos from my gorilla trek you can click here to go to the “About” page.

Whether watching from a distance or getting up close and personal with exotic creatures on their terms, wildlife watching will give you adventure travel experiences that you’ll remember forever, and you’ll have plenty of stories to tell when you show your photos and videos to family and friends.

Risk Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ – 2 adventure travel stars

For most wildlife watching experiences you’ll probably face little or no real risk. Other experiences have some uncontrolled risk.

For instance, climbing into a shark cage while big great whites are circling does have its risks. And if they get curious about you as a possible food source, well, there’s your adrenaline rush.

Dealing with wildlife is an unpredictable proposition, but if you have a competent guide you shouldn’t face much risk if you follow their instruction.

Some wildlife watching excursions require little more than stepping onto a boat while others entail a trek through some fairly dense jungles. So, the nature of the wildlife you watch, and their environs, will give you a good idea of the risk involved.

Skill & Physical Factors
Rating: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ – 2 adventure travel stars

There’s really not much skill involved for most wildlife watching opportunities. You may need to use stealth techniques from time to time, but not much else. You’re going to be relying on the skill of your guide for the most part.

As far as physical aspects are concerned, the difficulty will depend on where you need to go to watch the wildlife that interests you. Is it a short hike or a long haul? Are you going to be canoeing in a swampy jungle or sitting on a cushy seat in a Land Rover?

With some wildlife experiences you don’t even need to leave your hotel. For instance, if you’re fascinated by giraffes all you need to do is book a room at the Giraffe Manor in Nairobi, Kenya. Those beautiful gangly creatures will stick their heads right in through the windows as you eat. And you thought your dog was annoying when begging for table scraps.

Here’s a little adventure I had at the back gate of Giraffe Manor.

Fun Factor
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 adventure travel stars

To watch wildlife in their natural environment is an inspiring adventure travel experience, and to interact with them is nothing short of amazing.

I’ve been approached by gorilla toddlers, fed giraffes by hand, been grabbed by a manatee (they don’t have hands, but they know how to use their pectoral flippers), danced with seals, been left in puffs of ink by an octopus and chased by a big angry bull that lacked a sense of humor.

There are few things on earth that can match the fun factor of an adventure travel experience with wildlife.

Popular places for wildlife watching

Are you into big cats? Take a trip to Africa or India and see the majestic beasts stalk through their natural habitat.

For an unforgettable gorilla trek head to Rwanda, and if you want to see a variety of marine life in one destination book a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

Following are some of the most exciting wildlife watching opportunities you’ll find. If you like animals, this short list is a good place to start.

  • Borneo Island
  • Botswana, Africa
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Kaikoura, New Zealand
  • Kangaroo Island, Australia
  • Kenya, Africa
  • Rwanda, Africa
  • The Denali National Park, Alaska
  • The Hudson Bay, Canada
  • The Komodo and Rinca Islands, Indonesia
  • The Yellowstone National Park, USA
  • Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda (gorilla trek)
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