Most of you live in the cities. I can say that with full confidence, as an internet connection isn’t that good anywhere else. That’s why I bet you would like to see some wildlife other than raccoons or the rare stray dog. No, you want to stuff straight out of National Geographic. So, in honor of the National Geographic Day, here’s a list of some of the best wildlife destinations you could visit in 2019.
Sweden is not an exotic country, not by a long shot. So for your first trip to ogle animals, go to Sweden. The central part of it is forested and filled with beasts like beavers, elk, wolves, brown bears and even mountain hares. Expect to find one or two wildlife retreats or safari tours with some googling. Maybe you’ll even see the famous moose!
And if you go North, way North, you can enjoy the desolate areas of the Sarek and Padjelanta national parks. They are a lot less vibrant in animals – it is basically the Arctic Circle, after all – but you can still spot some brown bears, arctic foxes, reindeer and, of course, lemmings.
You know what? Screw safe choices and easy spots. Go to Galapagos! 97% of the area in the islands is dedicated to the national park and its variety of animal species. You won’t see many large mammals (outside of any dolphins or whales), but there is a variety of other critters.
Marvel at the penguins, see some flightless cormorants, compare and contrast the land iguana vs. the marine iguana, wonder why someone named an azure-legged bird a ‘boobie’ and maybe spot a giant tortoise – if you’re fast enough! The islands have been isolated from the continent for so long that the animals have yet to learn to fear humans that much.
Even with Rolling Thunder and Agent Orange, the US didn’t manage to kill off Vietnamese fauna (did a number on the fauna, though). So there are many fun spots to visit where you can see all sorts of jungle wildlife.
Or you can just skip the whole “where do I go” bit and go to Cúc Phương National Park in the Ninh Binh province of Vietnam. It’s the best destination for fans of leopards and other bigger cats, black giant squirrels (that’s really their name), porcupines, bats and a bunch of birds. Also, since you’re in Ninh Binh already, you can see the famous limestone pinnacles without going to the more popular (and thus pricier) Ha Long Bay.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world. Seeing how it’s covered with rainforests (though humanity is working hard to rectify that), it’s a great wildlife destination for anyone interested in animals. For one, Borneo hosts more bat species than you can shake a stick at.
And while seeing bats and hundreds of species of ants is as riveting as it is enticing for Instagram photos, don’t forget that larger animals live there, too. The Borneo orangutans are a standout, but you can see a bunch of other primates, too. You can probably find a few live elephants and rhinoceros. And if you take to the seas, you’ll probably be greeted by a wide variety of whales – including orcas and their budget knockoffs, the false killer whale and the pygmy killer whale.
India is so big and diverse that only the craftiest of listicle writers can boil it down to two paragraphs. Me, I’m just going to recommend you visit Jim Corbett National Park, which was actually established to protect the endangered Bengal tiger.
Aside from tigers, you can also spot leopards and a variety of cats, elephants, golden jackals (much better than regular jackals), Pallas’s fish eagle, and many others. Much like Borneo, this place hosts pangolins, too! However, increased tourism activity is viewed as one of those things that actually hurt the park, so at least try to go on the off season.
However, no matter when you decide to go watch some animals, your experience can still be befouled by flight disruptions. Flight delays, cancellations and overbookings care for no man nor animal. If that happens to you, you should immediately claim flight compensation via Skycop. Up to €600 could be yours – a good investment into some binoculars!