Places Where You Can See Animals in the Wild
Wildlife adventures around the world are on most travelers’ bucket lists. To actually get close up to wild animals is a dream most travelers at heart have shared for decades.
Here’s our list of incredible and ethical wildlife experiences that will fill your heart’s content.
See orangutans in Sumatra
If you want to see wild orangutans up close, your best bet is probably in Sumatra's Bukit Lawang. This cozy town is set right next to Gunung Leisur National Park, which is home to wild and semi-wild orangutans.
Bukit Lawang was once known for its orangutan rehabilitation project – its aim was to release captive orangutans into their natural habitats. Once they were released back into the jungle, the orangutans to be monitored and given food from a feeding station. A few years later, the orangutans were able to survive on their own, so the feeding station was closed and the orangutans remained in the jungle. With that said, the orangutans don't really stray too far from the village, which means you're pretty much guaranteed a few sightings on a trek through the national park!
Trek to Watch Mountain Gorillas in the Wild
With less than 900 Mountain gorillas left in the world, there are only three places where they can be spotted: Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, and Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda.
While it is not a cheap experience, as a permit is required to do the trek and their cost varies- $400 in the DRC, $600 in Uganda, and $1500 in Rwanda, the opportunity to see them up close in their natural habitat is truly a mesmerizing and life-changing experience.
The gentle giants are very intelligent and playful. Their endangered species condition has made it necessary to protect them from poachers and deforestation. For that reason, visitors can expect very controlled tourism where the number of visitors allowed each day is restricted as is the time visitors can spend around the gorillas, which is one hour a day, Worth every second!
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
If you’re in for getting close to massive sea turtles, penguins, and sea lions, the Galapagos Islands off the Ecuador shores are perfect!
This idyllic volcanic archipelago is made up of several islands that were formed by underwater volcanoes. Hiking through its prehistoric-looking landscapes is a breathtaking experience as visitors often cross paths with giant tortoises, albatrosses, and lava lizards.
The best part of this adventure, however, awaits under the water. Massive sea turtles, unfazed by your presence will swim by, while penguins and sea lions zoom by, with colorful tropical fish as the perfect backdrop.
Trek with Rhinos in Uganda
Rhinos completely vanished from Uganda during the 8s. In a huge effort to bring these fascinating animals back to their homeland, in 2005 rhinos from zoos all over the world were brought to the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary.
The sanctuary is now home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda. It is so big that it resembles their natural habitat and visitors have to trek with rangers for several kilometers in the bush before spotting them.
Watch Orangutans in Malaysian Borneo
There are many activities in Southeast Asia that involve primates. Sadly, most of these are not ethical.
Fortunately, Sepilok, located in the Malaysian Borneo, is a world-class rehabilitation center for orangutans. Sitting right by the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve, this sanctuary is home to more than 70 orangutans that roam freely in the reserve.