Africa is on so many travellers’ bucket lists, but that wasn’t the case for Megan Butler. For some reason the thought of being on safari in South Africa didn’t grab her, but after reluctantly agreeing to make the trip she soon got a lot more than she expected…
“After arriving in Johannesburg and then travelling by van towards Kruger National Park, my attitude was starting to change. The scenery and towns were so different from home. I sat with my face glued to the window as we approached the park and saw a wild monkey and impala. Wow – maybe this will be fun after all. Still didn’t know what to expect and couldn’t explain why I didn’t want to go.
From sloths hanging out, to whales breathtakingly breeching and lions stalking their prey – when we asked you about your best experiences with animals when travelling, we were inundated with more than 2700 special moments.
Selecting just a small handful to share for you was one tough task, but here are 15 of the most fabulous animal encounters from travellers…
Two weeks before their trip, Jason McLaughlin and his wife Charlotte knew they were going away, they just didnâ€™t know where.
You see, the couple were the winners of an Intrepid mystery trip competition, so imagine their delight when Jason and Charlotte turned up at the airport and discovered they were going to explore Peru and its astounding Amazon Jungle…
“The driver kills the engine and for several moments the boat sits in darkness in what equates to silence in the jungle – the polyphonic hum of the cicadas, the occasional whoop of a nighttime bird and the excited wails of unseen monkeys, somewhere, maybe far away, maybe watching us from the shadowy trees which overhang the river banks. We gaze at stars I can’t remember seeing before. The constellations I recognise, The Plough, Orion, Pegasus are there of course, but between them are sparkling clusters of light which, I swear, just don’t exist in the city.
Maybe itâ€™s the broadening of existential horizons that comes with seeing how different folk dwell â€“ or perhaps itâ€™s just long beach-bound days perfectly suited to naval-gazing â€“ but overseas travel has a habit of bedevilling the professional ambitions of even the most career-satisfied.
You know the score: one week youâ€™re perfectly content toiling away in the sensibly chosen industry of your sensibly completed qualification, the next youâ€™re in Cuba ruminating that your true calling may be as an antique watch-repairer. And while such whimsical wanderings usually last no longer than the eveningâ€™s final mojito, overseas adventurings can on occasion herald vocational redirections of the most drastic variety. Take Charles Darwin for instance.
So itâ€™s my second time travelling to Italy and Iâ€™m so excited just to be in my favourite Italian city, Florence.
Today we have time to explore at our own pace. Yesterday we had a free day and Iâ€™m still recovering from the hauntingly breathtaking climb of the Duomo and the huge five course dinner that was included the night before â€“ bruschetta, prosciutto, fusilli with creamy spinach sauce, rare lamb salad and the most amazing tiramisu, all accompanied by the local wine of course.
One day a guy walked in to Intrepid’s London store, while simultaneously a girl in Sydney booked her tour of Peru. What comes next is a romantic tale that Holly Howard will be able to tell the grand kids…
“I was at a stage in my life where I wanted to shake things up a bit. I was in a job I didnâ€™t particularly enjoy, at the end of a relationship and living in a flat that I no longer liked. I also just turned 30, so thought it was the perfect milestone to ‘up-stumps’ and see more of the world. South America seemed like an exotic destination, full of history and not yet overrun by tourists â€“ a place where I might even have an ‘epiphany on a mountain top’ about what I should do with my life.
When there are two things in life that you love, why not find a way to do both? Laura Rinderknecht did just that on her tour of Cuba…
“I love to travel. I also love to salsa dance. With Intrepid now being able to run tours to Cuba via Miami, I combined my two passions into a ‘dancation’ to Cuba and my heart nearly exploded with excitement.
Why have fountains flowing with water when they could be splashing about in the country’s national drink?
Yes, Peruvians are so passionate about their beloved Pisco that on the first Saturday in February they honour their famous cocktail with Pisco Sour Day. On this day each year the fountain at Plaza Mayor in Lima even pours with thousands of litres of the local brew!
If you can’t make it to this huge Pisco party, there is another chance to celebrate the iconic liqueur on National Pisco Day in July. And if you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, you can join Intrepid’s special Pisco Making Urban Adventure in Cusco to discover why this national drink has a way of bringing locals and travellers together.