Wildlife and safaris

Wildlife and safaris

The full Wanderlust guide to wildlife and safari travel...


Wildlife holidays are all about anticipation. There’s never any guarantee that you’ll get to see a tiger, that a humpback whale will surface near your boat, that a turtle will come ashore to lay its eggs. The people who were there the day/week/month before you always seem to have seen something amazing, while you scour the horizon with little success.

However, adjust to that and you can then start to enjoy all the other aspects of the environment you're in, and all the other creatures you will get to see. Occasionally, something magical will occur: a leopard crossing your path when you're on a walking safari; a family of orca performing acrobatics just metres from your boat; realising what you thought was a boulder was actually a rhino.

Wildlife holidays can require a lot of patience, but it's more important to find the right one for you. Will you be happy to sit in a vehicle or hide for hours, or do you need an easier option? If on a safari, do you want to stay in a lodge with all mod cons such as air-con and a pool? Or would you rather be in an intimate camp where 'nightlife' is sitting round a fire, swapping yarns and listening to the sounds of the bush? These are important considerations before you go.

Our 3 top tips for the best safari experience

1. Get up early

As a general rule you will have to get up early on a wildlife trip, as the majority of animals are most active at dawn and dusk.

2. Dress wisely

Khaki is synonymous with safaris for a reason – wear blue or black and you’re more likely to get bitten by a tsetse fly; wear white or a bright colour and you’ll stand out like a beacon to the camouflaged critters.

3. Bring binoculars

Bring binoculars on any wildlife trip or safari, as you can rarely get as close to the animals as you would hope. It's not essential. Sometimes open eyes and ears will do!

The world's most renowned wildlife trips...

There are a handful of wildlife encounters that regularly top the bucket lists of travellers the world over.

They're stalwarts that almost guarantee a life-changing encounter with the world's greatest creatures. An African safari. A cruise through the Galapagos islands. A close-up encounter with a gorilla, a whale, a brown bear, or thousands of penguins on the icy shores of Antarctica.

Our writers have done it all, and are on hand to share their experiences and advise you on how to enjoy one, too.

Alternative wildlife experiences

You’ve seen the Big Five. You’ve snorkelled close to a whale. You’re hooked on wildlife, and want to try something a bit different.

The good news is that as interest has grown in wildlife travel, so too has knowledge of the knowledge of the numerous places you can encounter it.

The wonders of the natural world don't stop there...

Wildlife isn't all about the great mammals of our world. There are creatures great and small to discover, plus a fascinating range of botanical hotspots around the world.

Ready to go?

Check out this selection of fantastic tours offered by our recommended travel partners. From amazing budget camps to luxury wilderness tours, there’s something for every taste and budget. Plus, take a look at our pick of the best of the bunch, below.

Staying safe while spotting wildlife

Capturing it all on film

We've sought advice from some of the biggest names in wildlife photography to help you take the kinds of photos that capture the thrill and awe of meeting nature’s superstars...

Have an amazing photo you'd like to share with us? Check out the Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year competition, or share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

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