The best place to see penguins is Boulders Beach, only a short drive from Cape Town, South Africa. It has a year-round colony of around 3,000 African Penguins that settled on the beach 30 years ago. The beach is open to the public and penguins walk freely around sunbathers and children paddling in the water. The best time to see the penguins is at low tide, when there is more room on the beach.
If you don’t fancy sharing a sunbathing spot with a penguin however, the place to watch them is from Foxy Beach, which has new boardwalks taking visitors right up close to the penguins. Remember to check under the bushes on your way to the viewing deck as you can often find penguins huddled underneath taking a nap.
One of the best places in the world to spot whales year-round is the Caribbean island of Dominica. Sperm whales breed and calve here, so there is always some excitement in the water. Because of Dominica’s underwater drop-offs, deep sheltered bays provide the perfect habitat for these creatures. The whales are strictly protected but you can still get up close to the animals from boats. On the rare occasions that sperm whales are not present in the waters around Dominica, you will be able to spot hundreds of dolphins in the water instead.
With the birth of a new baby elephant in the area, the best place to view the incredibly rare Asian elephant is undoubtedly Khao Sok National Park in Thailand. Keep your eyes peeled for baby Ha-Ha as you walk through the luscious rainforest. Asian elephants have been heavily hunted and are now an endangered species.
While it is not the same as spotting a wild elephant with its herd, Khao Sok now offers an elephant experience where you can get close to the elephants allowing you to feed and wash them.
The island of Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is divided between three countries, Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. It is in the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak where orangutans can be found most prevalently. Visit the rehabilitation centre of Sepilok to get up close with the apes or take one of our many tours into the jungle. Here you can see orangutans in their natural habitat from boats, making it easily accessible for every member of the family.
Malaysia also has a large selection of other wildlife – over 20% of the world’s animal species live here which makes it an excellent place to see Asian elephants, crocodiles, the occasional leopards and tigers, plus over 620 species of birds.
As the national animal of India, it is no surprise that the best place to view these beautiful and endangered creatures is in India itself. For a fantastic wildlife experience, tinged with culture, visit Kanha National Park. This park inspired Rudyard Kipling to write The Jungle Book. Visit in June or mid-November when it is not too warm to increase your chances of sighting the animals.
Once the tiger is spotted, guides can transfer you onto elephants to get you closer to the animals. Combine this trip with a visit to Bandhavgarh National Park which is nearby.