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
Gorilla in Uganda

From £6,740 pp

Classic Uganda

Uganda Africa

  • Observe the antics of wild chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda

  • Take a boat cruise down the Kazinga Channel in search of hippos

  • Spot rare black-maned, tree-climbing lions in Ishasha

  • Be humbled by a gorilla encounter in Bwindi Impenetrable NP

  • Enjoy unbelievable birdwatching opportunities in Africa

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 8 nights
Sri Lanka_Yala

From £3,380 pp

Sri Lanka with Kids

Colombo Galle Fort Sri Lankan Safaris Cultural Triangle Sri Lanka

  • Explore the city of Anuradhapura, one of the most important sites in medieval Asia
  • Visit the rock fortress of Sigiriya and the Dambulla Cave Temple
  • Wind through the Central Highlands by rail and visit a tea plantation
  • See Sri Lanka’s wildlife on game drives in the Yala National Park
  • Relax on pristine beaches, and enjoy watersports and whale watching

When to go:

J F M A M J J A S O N D
ideal length 9 nights
Elephants in river, Sri Lanka Safaris

From £3,220 pp

Wild Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Safaris Cultural Triangle Southern Beaches Sri Lanka Indian Subcontinent

  • Visit the Royal Botanical Gardens and trek through tea estates
  • Meet elephants at Udawalawe National Park
  • Go on a nighttime turtle watch at Rekawa
  • Search for the elusive Sri Lanka leopard at Yala National Park
  • Enjoy whale and dolphin watching on Sri Lanka’s south coast

When to go:

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