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Best Wildlife Destinations (1 Viewer)

Lucas_

Member
Italy
I don't know if thisisthe right thread, so I ask the mods to move it in the case.

In this thread I'd want the members to talk about the finest destination of the world for wildlife-viewing, maybe mentioning trips they have done in the past or want to do in the future (and obviously about the animals they saw there).
Personally, I'd love to visit the Wadi el Gimal National Park, in Egypt. It may not sound exciting, but there all taxas are well-represented (mammals with dugong, birds with red sea endemics, herptiles with sea turtles and fishes with hundreds of species).
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
I'll stick to recommend only where I know so far, but I'd say South Florida in particular for the 2 national parks in the forms of Everglades National Park and Dry Tortugas National Park.
  • Dry Tortugas National Park is in Southern Keys about 70 miles from Key West, best time of the year is in Late April, you can snorkel see thousands of nesting seabirds like Sooty Terns, Brown Noddies, Magnificent Frigatebirds and Masked Boobies, along with migrant songbirds and on the boat ride there you have a chance of seeing sea turtles, flying fish and Bottlenose Dolphins.
  • Everglades National Park needs no introduction, best time of the year is November to March, with the main targets being hundreds of wading birds, Ospreys, Bald Eagles alongside big animals in the form of American Alligator, American Crocodile and West Indian Manatee among others.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
I lived in Ft. Lauderdale for 3 years and made many trips to the Everglades and was never disappointed on my sightings.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
I'm not really attracted by it, from what I know it is a bit "artificial" and overcrowded in some areas.
I'd rather go to Ruaha, Nyerere or Kidepo Valley...
It depends on whether you have a target list or not, certain species such as African Wild Dogs, Southern Ground-Hornbill and a few others are often found within Kruger as opposed to other parts of their range where they are even rarer or hard to find.

If you just want a great African safari, any of those parks work, but it depends on what your targets are as well. Plus Kruger is often visited due to the easy access and lack of need to have a tour guide with you.
 

IDidiot

Active member
United States
Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa... It was absolute animal bliss. Am going to Eqypt next year. Hope I can check out Wadi el Gimal National Park. I live in Florida - and yeah, it's simply amazing what lives here!
 

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Lucas_

Member
Italy
It depends on whether you have a target list or not, certain species such as African Wild Dogs, Southern Ground-Hornbill and a few others are often found within Kruger as opposed to other parts of their range where they are even rarer or hard to find.

If you just want a great African safari, any of those parks work, but it depends on what your targets are as well. Plus Kruger is often visited due to the easy access and lack of need to have a tour guide with you.
Wild dogs are one of my priorities, but they are also present in Southern Tanzania.
In generale I'd rather go to a place with less species and a real wilderness vibe than to a place packed with animals, but that seems a "safari park".
This is one of the reasons I want to go to Namibia; maybe there aren't the numbers which can be seen in South african private reserves, but seeing a giraffe or a rhino in a completely natural setting may be even a better experience.


I'm noticing many of you are mentioning Florida, but strangely it really isn't appealing to me, maybe because I prefer more "natural" countries.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
It does have a lot of people but even in August it is possible to avoid the crowds. The great thing about Kruger is that it is easy and reasonably cheap to do yourself. I've spent three weeks there, over two trips, and still felt down when leaving the last time. I was planning an interdependent trip to Tanzania for last Easter: it was certainly going to work out a lot more expensive. Hopefully it will happen in the next year or two.

Etosha in Namibia is probably more artificial with its light waterholes.
 

Lucas_

Member
Italy
In fact I wasn't referring to Etosha.
Black rhinos are present and free in Damaraland and animals such as giraffes, baboons, warthoga and even big cats exist throughout the country.
Etosha in Namibia is probably more artificial with its light waterholes.
 

lgonz1008

Well-known member
I'm noticing many of you are mentioning Florida, but strangely it really isn't appealing to me, maybe because I prefer more "natural" countries.
If you go by natural only, you'll end up missing most of North America except maybe Alaska and many of the easier to travel countries in Central and South America like Costa Rica, Panama and Ecuador.

The experience of being in the middle of nowhere is great, but be ready for the amount of planning, preparation and money you'll need to make it happen.
 

jqmhelios

Well-known member
Here are my best suggestions, based on experience in the UK and Spain. Rated by accessibility.

Isle of Mull, UK Extremely worth a visit with high chances of seeing white-tailed eagle, golden eagle and hen harriers as well as other birds. Guided tours at an unusually reasonable price with one famous and popular tour offering close views of fishing eagles- distance less than 10 meters, apparently.

Rutland water, UK If you live in south England this is probably the best place to see Osprey. The Lindon center is especially good for them with guaranteed but usually distant views of nesting, perching and fishing birds. It is important to note here that I do NOT recommend visiting the Horn Mill Osprey Hide though. Lindon center offers wonderful views which have the potential to satiate even the hungriest Osprey appetite, especially if a boat cruise is involved. The £80 admission fee to the Horn Mill hide for a couple of hours is simply put robbery, quite unlike the tiny admission fee to Lyndon nature reserve.

Salisbury plain, UK Home of the iconic reintroduced Great Bustards. I highly recommend the Great Bustard tour. For just £20 you will be taken into private, military lands to follow and observe these birds, once extinct in the UK and now thriving here. They are especially incredible in the spring. Of course, bustard locations in Spain are far better but this is the best UK option

El Hondo, Spain This is best in the winter. In the winter it is a wintering ground for very rare great spotted eagles. There are numerous other raptors present, and in addition this area has populations of marbled duck and white-headed duck, both extremely rare birds.

Pyrenees north of Jaca, Spain Taking a train up into the valleys and exploring on foot from there can ensure you meet with the lammergeier, a massive raptor for which the Pyrenees are famous for, as well as other raptors

Tarifa area, Spain Excellent for migration with such rarities as Ruppell's vulture and lanner falcon often seen. Near the city Vejer de la Frontera there is a colony of the extremely rare northern bald ibis
 

IDidiot

Active member
United States
There is quite a difference as to where you go for safaris - how wild the animals truly are. This canoe trip is only done 4-5 times a year. You stay in flimsy tents with elephants crashing though the forest. You see no human anything... no trash, no lights, no sound. It is AWESOME.
 

Mr_K

Well-known member
Rockport Texas in December. On the Guif. You should be able to see over 100 species on a Christmas bird count. A premier stopping place for wintering migrants in the USA.
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Here are my best suggestions, based on experience in the UK and Spain. Rated by accessibility.

Isle of Mull, UK Extremely worth a visit with high chances of seeing white-tailed eagle, golden eagle and hen harriers as well as other birds. Guided tours at an unusually reasonable price with one famous and popular tour offering close views of fishing eagles- distance less than 10 meters, apparently.

Rutland water, UK If you live in south England this is probably the best place to see Osprey. The Lindon center is especially good for them with guaranteed but usually distant views of nesting, perching and fishing birds. It is important to note here that I do NOT recommend visiting the Horn Mill Osprey Hide though. Lindon center offers wonderful views which have the potential to satiate even the hungriest Osprey appetite, especially if a boat cruise is involved. The £80 admission fee to the Horn Mill hide for a couple of hours is simply put robbery, quite unlike the tiny admission fee to Lyndon nature reserve.

Salisbury plain, UK Home of the iconic reintroduced Great Bustards. I highly recommend the Great Bustard tour. For just £20 you will be taken into private, military lands to follow and observe these birds, once extinct in the UK and now thriving here. They are especially incredible in the spring. Of course, bustard locations in Spain are far better but this is the best UK option

El Hondo, Spain This is best in the winter. In the winter it is a wintering ground for very rare great spotted eagles. There are numerous other raptors present, and in addition this area has populations of marbled duck and white-headed duck, both extremely rare birds.

Pyrenees north of Jaca, Spain Taking a train up into the valleys and exploring on foot from there can ensure you meet with the lammergeier, a massive raptor for which the Pyrenees are famous for, as well as other raptors

Tarifa area, Spain Excellent for migration with such rarities as Ruppell's vulture and lanner falcon often seen. Near the city Vejer de la Frontera there is a colony of the extremely rare northern bald ibis
Can't recommend the plastic, non-self-supporting UK bustards at all (BTW nearly all of Salisbury Plain is open access, just look out for red flags flying in range areas). Wouldn't dream of visiting the Rutland Water vanity project rather than naturally expanding Ospreys in Cumbria - although Osprey is very easy to see in Southern England in autumn anyway when locations such as Thorney Island and Poole Harbour are rock-solid for birds pausing on migration.

John
 

DMW

Well-known member
I'm not really attracted by it, from what I know it is a bit "artificial" and overcrowded in some areas.
I'd rather go to Ruaha, Nyerere or Kidepo Valley...
I've been to quite a lot of national parks in various African countries, and when we planned a comprehensive South Africa trip, we omitted Kruger for the same reason: it didn't appeal. Towards the end of the trip, we ended up with a few days to spare, and decided to head to go to Kruger without any advance planning or booking. We stayed at Satara, and I have to say it was absolutely fantastic. The park is huge and it's easy to get away from other people once you leave the rest camps. As an all round experience I would say it's arguably the best NP in Africa.

Etosha was kind of the opposite. It is huge, but you tend to concentrate around the water holes and you don't really get the sense of wilderness. The camp grounds are crowded and badly maintained, and the roads are atrocious. We enjoyed it, but it wasn't the highlight of Namibia by any means.
 

DMW

Well-known member
If I had to choose just one destination as the most memorable, I would say it was visiting the Emperor Penguin rookery at Snow Hill Island in the Weddell Sea on board a polar class icebreaker. It was an otherworldly experience.
 

Steve Babbs

Well-known member
Yes people forget Kruger is the size of Wales. I am the first to complain normally of crowds but it is a strong competitor for my favourite place on earth. The advantages far out weight the disadvantages. You never know what you're going to see. For example, on a quiet road, with almost no other traffic, which we visit several times, two cheetahs being chased by two lions and a pangolin wandering along during the day were the biggest surprises. There are places in South Africa which do feel rather artificial, such as Pilansberg.
 

Lucas_

Member
Italy
An area which has never been talked here in the forum is the Nosy Be area in Madagascar. Surely it's not as interesting as the rest of the country, but is there someone who went there and did some observations? (There should be whale sharks, humpback whales, maki lemurs and even Madagascar fish eagles).
 

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