We love adventures because of the experiences that we get. And there are all kinds of adventurers in this world. There are people who are looking to understand the history and culture of the place they're visiting. There are people who just want to experience something that is not present in the country where they live. There are also people who are seeking spiritual significance in any trip, or, on the contrary, are looking to fill their adventures with adrenaline and experiences that make their blood boil or chill.
It's nonsensical to argue which approach is better because all people are different and each of us is looking for their own thing. In this article, I will focus on the type of adventurers, who are always looking to enrich their traveling experiences by communicating with the animals. And we can subdivide this group even further because some people are anticipating a tiger to knock in the window of their jeep, while others just want to scratch a parrot's back. Both of them want to communicate with the animals, but with a very fundamental difference - some prefer extreme conditions, and some prefer safety.
Fortunately, our planet is huge and there are options for all kinds of animal lovers. From extreme snake or white polar bear safaris to heavenly bird parks and fairy-tale animal destinations, this article will guide you through some of the most impressive animal safaris and parks which both extreme and safety-seeking adventurers will admire.
Get your mosquito-repellent now, because the first stop is India.
20 For Adventurous: Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra, India
The episode you see in the picture is a tiger not giving a damn in front of dozens of tourists and paparazzi. That's what the real catwalk looks like! Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is situated in Maharashtra, India and more than 5o tigers live there.
More than a hundred thousand tigers lived on our planet in the past, but due to acts of disgraceful poachers and loss of natural habitat the population of tigers dropped to 1,441 in 2010. Due to the joint efforts of people the population of tigers is slowly increasing year after year. However, we have to be persistent in our desire to maintain biodiversity on Earth to keep this positive trend going.
If you want to see tigers in their natural habitat, Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve is a good place to be.
19 For Not So Extreme: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Florida, USA
If looking at tigers in their natural habitat is too extreme for you, then you can go to Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, USA and rest assured that this place is totally safe (if you're not afraid of dinosaurs and yetis, of course).
This is a beautifully themed park where you can slow down and enjoy watching animals, because you will have a lot of close encounters with them. It's a Disney place, so of course children will enjoy it, as in addition to animals there are many entertaining shows and programs.
The picture you see above is the Avatar Land which is located within Disney Animal Kingdom to give visitors the taste of Pandora planet from the Avatar blockbuster.
18 For Adventurous: Akagera National Park, Rwanda, Africa
Getting back to the topic of safaris and being adventurous, I want to draw your attention to the Akagera National Park in Rwanda, Africa. It covers 1,200 square kilometers and was founded in 1934 to protect animals and vegetation.
The remarkable thing about this park is a stunning variety of animals and landscapes. And you can look at them both during the day and during the night getting a totally different experience every 12 hours. This park is also an excellent place for those who love birds because there are more than 500 species there.
The park has been doing great lately. In 2015, seven lions from South Africa were released here and in 2017 (absent for 15 years), 20 Eastern black rhinoceroses were reintroduced in the park (absent for 10 years). Thankfully to this, the park is now a home for Africa's "big five": buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and lion.
17 For Not So Extreme: Paradise Park, Koh Samui, Thailand
That's a must-visit place for people who love birds! And if you think that these pigeons on the picture are photoshopped, you're totally wrong. This is exactly the way they look like.
Koh Samui's paradise park is a real heaven on Earth. It is located in the tropical forest on the top of Khao Pom, the island's highest mountain. You will see different kinds of parrots and birds there and will have an opportunity to feed them. Some of them will even talk to you and ask to scratch their back. But be careful, because they won't be willing to let you go even after 15 minutes and you will probably find it difficult to refuse after looking in their sweet little faces. If you feel that's it's getting too hot, you can take a swim in the outstanding infinity pool and enjoy the view that you will remember for a lifetime.
When I was to Paradise Park, it turned out to be one of the most memorable days of my Thailand trip. How could I ever forget little sun conure villains unbinding my straw hat?
16 For Adventurous: Mount Kilimanjaro Safari, Tanzania, Africa
Kilimanjaro is one of the seven summits which refer to the highest mountains of each continent. Not only Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain peak in Africa it is also the largest free-standing mountain in the world (5,895 meters above the sea level). While not the highest in the world it's definitely one of the most beautiful and the good news is that to see its beauty you don't have to climb it. It would be enough to take a Mount Kilimanjaro safari.
Even though Kilimanjaro is situated in Tanzania, you will get the best views on the mountain in Kenya's Amboseli National Park. To tell the truth, there are a number of Kilimanjaro safaris that include climbing the mountaintop so if you're physically and mentally fit, you can consider that option too.
Whether you decide to look at it or to climb it, you're bound to get an unforgettable experience.
15 For Not So Extreme: Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai, Thailand
You can find a lot of information on the web, explaining why riding elephants is bad and which elephant parks you should never visit. Elephant Nature Park is not one of those places. It's a rehabilitation and rescue center which was created out of pure love to elephants.
It's situated in Northern Thailand and you can visit it not just to watch elephants but to volunteer and help. Aside from elephants the park also serves a natural environment for cats, buffaloes, dogs and other animals which are being taken care of.
Volunteers who come to the park can help the animals while learning more about their past and present. Visit it to make elephants' life better. And yours too!
14 For Adventurous: Gir National Park, India
This is a place to visit if you want to find out more about the typical lion lifestyle and watch how they behave in their natural habitat. Gir Forest National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is situated in Gujarat, India and has a total area of 1,412 square kilometers. It's fully protected as a wildlife sanctuary and national park.
If you take the safari, it would be best if you go early in the morning, when lions are hunting or drinking water. In addition to lions, you will see foxes, antelopes, deer, crocodiles and rare species of birds.
People say that the best time to visit it is between October to January, so if you want to go to Gir Forest National Park, plan accordingly.
13 For Not So Extreme: Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Safari, Nebraska, USA
If you don't like the idea of bringing your children to see lions in India and thinking about something safer and more appropriate, then Lee G. Simons Conservation Park and Safari might be just what you're looking for. It has been placed in the highest positions in numerous lists across the web and it has excellent ratings.
Embarking on this four-mile drive through North American wildlife with your children, you can show them how animals behave in natural habitat and take excellent photos. The animals which you will most probably encounter are elks, bison, deer, bears, wolves and different birds.
If you want to see more animals, visitors recommend coming early in the morning.
12 For Adventurous: Pantanal Jaguar Safari, Brazil
Africa, India and Brazil are home to the most extreme safaris in the world, so it would be inappropriate to include Africa and India and to ignore Brazil.
Although there are many safaris in Brazil which can give you plenty of enriching experiences, I want to focus on Pantanal Jaguar Safari and Amazon Rainforest Safari. Speaking about the former, it's a rare case when all of 31 reviews on Trip Advisor give the highest rating saying that "it's a must for anyone who loves wildlife".
Jaguars are certainly the main heroes here, but you will also have an opportunity to see anteaters, tapirs, giant otters and many many more. A must if you love safari and happen to be in Brazil.
11 For Not So Extreme: Shuka Vana, Mysore, India
Meet Dr. Sri Ganapathy Sachchidananda Swamiji, an outstanding man behind Shuka Vana bird sanctuary. He is the leader of social, cultural and spiritual welfare organization Avadhoota Datta Peetham in Mysore. The mission of Shuka Vana is noble: to conserve endangered and distressed birds. There's a hospital near the aviary, where wounded and sick birds are taken care of. Swamiji teaches birds to talk and be friendly with Shuka Vana visitors. This amazing place took a new Guinness record last year for the most bird species in an aviary. 468 bird species and 2,100 colorful residents live there.
It's worth mentioning that Swamiji currently holds 8 Guinness World Records titles, including largest display of bonsai trees, the biggest number of people chanting and largest Hindu Smriti.
By watching any of the videos from the Shuka Vana you can clearly see that Swamiji really loves and cares about all these birds. Thank God, there are places likes this on our planet.
10 For Adventurous: The Snake Safari, Kenya, Africa
It wouldn't be right to create the list of extreme safaris and not include snake safari in it. Those of you who are terrified with just one look of the snake can scroll down quickly, and for those seeking adrenaline - read on!
There are 127 species of snakes in Kenya, but most of the country visitors don't see a single one while being on a visit. Snake safari offers you to see top 5 Kenya snake species and it combines river rafting, wild walks and visiting local witch doctors. The top 5 Kenya snake species include Cobra, Python, Puff Adder, Boomslang, and Mamba.
It's interesting that the goal of these safaris is not just to show you the snakes, but to demonstrate their role in African eco-systems and show that their reputation of bloodthirsty killers is a little exaggerated.
9 For Not So Extreme: Puffin Safari, Bleik, Norway
I'm sure that you have seen pictures of these funny birds at least once in your lifetime, but I doubt that you know where they dwell. They live in several countries, but we will take a look at Bleik, Norway.
Most of the people who have been on Puffin safari say this "if you're in this area, you should go and see the Puffin rock near Bleik". The ship takes you to the rock where thousands of puffins are nested. It's a small island but its completely covered with these funny birds and once you get there you will have enough time to look at them and take photos. Other birds that you will get the opportunity to see on this trip include sea eagles, guillemots, herons and cormorants gulls.
8 For Adventurous: African Horseback Safaris, Botswana, Africa
People can be divided into two categories - those who prefer their safaris in a car and those who prefer their safaris on horseback. If you belong to the latter category, then African Horseback Safari in Botswana is your cup of tea.
It's not a right place to expect comfort and if comfort is not something you're looking for, then you will enjoy this trip because you will get the opportunity to watch the African big five in action, ride with zebras or giraffes across plains and watch elephants across the delta. And probably fall into the dirt (hopefully, it will be dirt) several times.
Not for the fainthearted, indeed.
7 For Not So Extreme: Kakadu National Park, Australia
Maybe some people wouldn't agree with my decision to put Kakadu National Park into "not so extreme" category, but in contrast with most of the items in the "extreme" list, the most dangerous dwellers of the Kakadu Park are crocodiles which you can meet only if you take a special cruise. Otherwise, you can't just meet them by walking around the park, which makes it a rather safe place to be.
Kakadu National Park has earned a World Heritage status and it's an excellent place to enjoy waterfalls, exotics bird life, 2,000 plant species, escarpments and aboriginal rock-art. There are many trails that you can take and numerous activities that you can indulge in. After all, you can't expect to see all 20,000 square kilometers of this marvelous natural beauty in just one day.
6 For Adventurous: Kamchatka Safari, Russia
'Land of fire and ice' is an epithet often applied to Kamchatka because of the combination of active volcanoes and harsh winters. The beauty of Kamchatka is hard to describe and put into words because when you see it you experience awe and when you experience awe, words can only do harm.
Kamchatka surely is an AWEsome place, but because it's a remote one with very few people actually living there, going there for safari is an act of an adventurous person.
It's a place for those who want to experience the true meaning of the wild. My number one advice if you come there would be - DON'T EVER GET LOST.
5 For Not So Extreme: The Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, Africa
Yes, you've read it right, the title says "Safari in Africa for not so extreme". If you think that the whole of Africa and especially safari areas are dangerous, then you've been greatly misinformed. First things first, all national parks are rather safe and most probably you will get an experienced guide who will make sure that nothing will go wrong. Secondly, Africa is a big continent where certain areas are considered safe and certain areas are considered dangerous. Just like many of the American cities with different kinds of neighborhoods.
To continue this analogy I would say that Tanzania is a safe "neighborhood" of Africa and The Serengeti National Park is a place to take one of the safest safaris in Africa. So if you always dreamed about visiting a safari in Africa, but was worried about your safety then The Serengeti National Park is a place that you should visit.
4 For Adventurous: Polar Bear Safari, Norway
This list would be incomplete without a freezing place like Svalbard archipelago where you can watch polar bears. Polar Bear Safari is certainly for adventurous people because it's a bad idea to dream about staying home when a big furry friend is knocking in your jeep.
The population of the polar bears is declining due to loss of natural habitat and climate change, but in Svalbard archipelago, polar bear population is constantly growing. According to estimation, around 3,500 polar bears currently live there.
If you wish to see polar bears in Norway, the best time to do this is from June to September. If Norway is too far for you, you can take a polar bear safari in Canada.
3 For Not So Extreme: Bird Watching Tour, Guyana
I've already mentioned a couple of places where you can see marvelous parrots of different sizes and colors, but now we're stepping into the territory of really rare birds. The winged beauty you see on the picture is hoatzin and it's the national symbol of Guyana. Another bird that can make your jaw drop is cock-of-the-rock because when you look at it you can hardly understand where is what on its orange face.
You can observe these two and dozens of other beautiful, unseen birds if you take a bird watching tour in Guyana. It's a small country in the north of South America. Since it has escaped the tragic deforestation which many other tropical countries suffered, 70% of the country is covered with forest where rich biodiversity was preserved. Thankfully to this, we can now watch all these beautiful birds in their natural habitat.
2 For Adventurous: Amazon Rainforest Safari, Brazil
Don't get me wrong. Seeing a cute little sloth hanging from the tree doesn't mean that Amazon Rainforest Safari will be as easy as a walk in a local park. This is a challenge and that's why it's a choice of adventurous people.
While doing an Amazon Rainforest Safari you will have an opportunity to explore wild places on foot, canoe and boat. The biodiversity that one can experience in the Amazon rainforest is truly staggering. In addition to sloths, you may encounter howler monkeys, macaws, jaguars, uakari, caimans and maybe even rare pink river dolphins.
Experiences like this usually produce stories which you can retell for the rest of your life.
1 For Not So Extreme: Loro Park, Tenerife, Spain (Canary Islands)
If you're still haven't become obsessed wishing to get to this park, while looking at these charming sun conures, then let me give you some more information about it.
Things that you can do at Loro Park include:
- watching dolphins and orcas
- encounter the largest population of penguins, living outside the Arctic regions
- talk to the parrots who will definitely want to greet you and communicate with you while you're walking through the park
- explore Katandra Treetops
The list doesn't end here, but it should be enough to get you hooked.
The remarkable thing about Loro Park is that it serves home for many of the endangered species from around the world. Pay a visit to this tropical paradise to add one more unforgettable day to the treasury of your memories.
Whether you're adventurous or prefer a more relaxed way of travelling and communicating with the animals, remember that these creatures need our love and protection. We have oppressed them for too long and now it's time to pay off our debt.