Combining perfectly with a safari in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia or Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls are not only a wonderful place from which to begin or end a trip, but offer enough interest to be a safari destination in their own right. The wildlife in the tributaries is active all year round, and the birdlife is superb.
At 1,126 kilometres, the Sepik River is Papua New Guinea's equivalent to the Amazon and it is the people of the Sepik that makes this region an exciting and fascinating place to visit. Life revolves around the river, and locals are unique in their belief in the spirit world with its mythical stories and rituals.
Destination: Papua New Guinea
This rich complex of grasslands, papyrus marshlands, lagoons and forests are often described as one of Africa’s best game-viewing areas. With a dense concentration of wildlife, the perennial waters attract great herds of plains wildlife and predators, but wild dog are undoubtedly the area’s speciality.
Selous Game Reserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Its vast tracts of wilderness contain perhaps the greatest concentration of big game on earth, sustained by the waters of the Rufiji River whose tributaries form a network of lakes and lagoons to help create a home for a bewildering array of birds.
Yacutinga Rainforest is a private reserve whose multi-layered ecosystem is home to countless species of birds, mammals and plants. You can explore on walking and boat trips with naturalist guides, watching colourful birds flit through the forest. Yacutinga makes a fantastic, relaxing finale to any wildlife trip.
Around the two volcanoes of Tenorio and Montezuma is an area of primary rainforest and cloud forest. One of Costa Rica’s most beautiful waterfalls is found here, where the water tumbles 32 metres into a pool of amazing blue. The subterranean activity endows the area with several hot springs.
Destination: Costa Rica
This ecological paradise is the world’s largest wetland, with 124 mammals (including the world’s largest jaguars), 177 reptiles, 1,100 species of butterfly, and a myriad of birds, brightly coloured flowers, and shoals of fish. There are significant differences between the north and south; we recommend visiting both.
Tortuguero is a vast area of pristine rainforest on a remote stretch of Caribbean coast, where beaches, canals and wetlands create an astonishing biodiversity. Activities centre on boat trips through the freshwater creeks and lagoons. Green, hawksbill and leatherback turtles come ashore here to lay their eggs.
Destination: Costa Rica
The basin of the world’s largest river contains its oldest tropical forest and most diverse ecosystem, with at least 40,000 plant species, and a variety of wildlife. The lodges offer outings on foot and by canoe to explore the rainforest. Alternatively a riverboat voyage can take you deeper into the rainforest.
Conservation projects in the southern Pantanal focus on jaguar and the hyacinth macaw. From a comfortable lodge you can see wildlife by boat, vehicle and on foot. Bonito, on the southern fringe, is a mecca for ecotourism, where you will find grottos with blue lakes and walking trails surrounded by monkeys.
The world’s largest impenetrable mangrove forest covers 10,000 square kilometres of mudflats and tidal waterways in the Ganges Delta. Home to numerous birds and mammals – including over 250 tigers – the Sundarbans offer a unique wildlife experience, as game-viewing is done either by boat or from hides.
Accessed via the town of Cuiaba, the northern Pantanal is home to some of Brazil’s rarest wildlife, such as jaguar and giant river otter. Many of the lodges here are still functioning cattle ranches, offering day and night trips by boat, vehicle, on foot and on horseback, accompanied by local naturalist guides.
This beautiful sanctuary was established in 1979 along a vast stretch of India’s Chambal River. Numerous ravines, the product of centuries of soil erosion by flood and rain water, line its banks. The cliffs and vegetation shelter numerous birds, mammals and reptiles, and the river is one of India’s most pristine.
Queen Elizabeth National Park offers Uganda’s best open-country birds (over 600 species) and wildlife (over 100 mammals). Often described as “The Pearl of Africa”, it has rolling grassland, tropical forest, volcanic crater lakes, papyrus swamp and lakeshore, giving it one of the highest biodiversity rates in the world.
This area of primary forest is considered to be one of the finest birding areas in South America. The varied terrain supports more than 400 species of birds, including the elusive Andean cock-of-the rock. There is a remarkably high number of endemic plants, and orchids, bromeliads and heliconias grow in abundance.
This private reserve is part of a bio-region that stretches along the Pacific slope of the Andes from Panama to Peru. Its rich ecosystem is home to 500 bird species, butterflies, amphibians and orchids which thrive in the moist conditions. An aerial tram offers a unique vantage point in the rainforest canopy.
Kafue is one of the world’s largest national parks. It’s has a rich variety of wildlife and a profusion of game who are attracted by the diverse habitats, which range from woodland opening onto wide, grassy dambos. The vast, rolling Busanga Plain, fed by the Lufupa River, attracts large herds of red lechwe and buffalo.
The Kinabatangan River snakes through Sabah’s lowlands for 560kms to reach the Sulu Sea. Along its length, a river safari will reveal a mosaic of riparian forest, oxbow lakes, nipah swamp and mangroves which supports a wide variety of mammal and birdlife who have grown surprisingly tolerant of human presence.
Liuwa is a pristine wilderness. Its wooded areas offer excellent birding, especially during the October rains when the remote grasslands are a carpet of wild flowers. And the rains bring herds of wildebeest, mingled with zebra, from across the Angolan border for Africa’s second largest migration.
Koshi Tappu Reserve is Nepal’s top birding destination. In the shadow of the mountain of Makalu, it consists of the floodplain of Sapta- Koshi, the country’s largest river, a dammed expanse of open water and a patchwork of marsh, lagoon, sandbank and mudflat. It is one of North Asia’s finest wetlands.
The town of Puyo is the jumping off point for this part of the Amazon, with most lodges being accessed by light aircraft from here. You can explore on foot and by boat with naturalist guides, learning about the rainforest and its prolific birdlife. In addition to a profusion of flowers, many medicinal plants are found here.
This private rainforest reserve on the Cristalino River occupies a region very important in terms of Amazon biodiversity. The high number of species and endemics makes it a great place to see birds, mammals, butterflies and orchids. It is easily reached from the northern Pantanal, avoiding a long flight to Manaus.
This relatively unknown wilderness bordering Lake Kariba, dates from 1958, when the Kariba Dam flooded the Zambezi Valley to create a huge man-made lake. Matusadona has a varied habitat, attracting more than 400 bird species. Black rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard and elephant populations are also healthy in the area.
This vast, waterlogged wilderness about 55 kilometres north-east of Kasanka is a destination for the connoisseur. The still waters of these swamps and the surrounding floodplains are one of the last remaining habitats of the rare and elusive shoebill who lurk on the grassy fringes after the rains.