TV wildlife guru and adventurer Steve Backshall gives us his top holiday destinations for mini wildlife fans
 
COSTA RICA

Costa Rica has it all, and is one of the finest eco tourism locations on earth. From the dolphins and leaping humpback whales of Drake bay, to nearby Corcavado where I’ve had a tapir nudging my backside while wandering through the forest at night. Kids are also sure to enjoy the Arribadas, where tens of thousands of turtles come ashore on one small seven kilometre stretch of beach, and the montane forests [cloud forests] around the active volcanoes of Arunal. It’s truly spectacular. Youngsters will love riding the world’s longest zip wire through the jungle canopy.

KOMODO ISLAND

Going to Komodo near Bali is like travelling back in time. The greatest draw is always going to be the dragons, wandering down the beaches like ancient dinosaurs, and stalking buffalo and deer in the dry forests of the mountainous islands. Kids will also enjoy a trip to Pantai Merah, where you’re treated to some of the most sensational snorkelling on earth.

 

GUYANA

The finest rainforest on Earth bar none. This is one of the only jungle environments where you will definitely see giant goliath bird-eating tarantulas, electric eels, harpy eagles and giant anteaters. It’s alive with crocodiles and giant snakes – endlessly exciting, and it’s paradise for any young naturalist. Youngsters will love the sense of adventure, camping out in the forest in hammocks and cooking their dinner over an open fire.

Picture shows: Steve with bird eating spider

INDIA

The iconic national parks of India are home to a bewildering array of wildlife, but it’s tigers that will always be the number one attraction. Though they’re tricky to see, three or four days in Ranthambore, Corbett, Chitwan or Kaziranga will give you a good chance of seeing this majestic beast. Kids will love the open top Jeeps, learning to track tigers by their dung and footprints, and all the other animals they’ll see.

SOUTH AFRICA

I had to put one African destination on here. I’d head to the Kruger National Park to get a glimpse of the big five. Kids will love seeing the iconic safari beasts of the Kruger, and learning all about the way they interact with each other.

 

Suggested Itineraries

From $14,300 pp

Russian High Arctic

Russia The Arctic

  • Sail around the Russian High Arctic in luxury with all modern comforts onboard Sea Spirit 
  • Experience a true expedition cruise to the rarely visited Franz Josef Land archipelago
  • Visit a soviet-era research facility, once a base for polar exploration
  • Look out for colonies of nesting seabirds on the rugged, steep cliffs of the islands
  • Spot polar bears, walrus and endangered bowhead whales around the archipelago

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 13 nights

From $8,500 pp

Arctic Wildlife Safari

The Arctic

  • Search for polar bears hunting seals in the pack ice on an arctic safari
  • Explore historical sites including early whaling camps, trappers’ cabins, deserted coal mining operations, and an abandoned polar research station
  • Sea kayaking near tidewater glaciers and icebergs
  • Look out for humpback whales from the outdoor decks
  • Take advantage of the included photography program and learn alongside the onboard expert

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 10 nights

From $7,000 pp

Mongolia’s Eagle Hunting Festival

Ulaanbaatar & Central Heartland

  • Living alongside a nomadic eagle hunting family and learning about their age-old traditions and ways of life
  • Attending the annual Ulgii Eagle Hunting Festival and getting caught up in the excitement of this event which locals spend their lives training for
  • Experiencing a less mainstream part of the country and really getting off the beaten track

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 6 nights
Destinations Featured in the Article
Beautiful Tourist wear Sali, traditional dress in Amber Palace, Jaipur, Rajasthan - India

India

Experience a world of elephants and tigers, turmeric-coloured villages, coconut-studded coastlines, dazzling cities, and spicy curries on a holiday in India.

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