Intrepid staff and travellers are a very passionate lot; unafraid to speak up about ethical and social justice issues they may be confronted with during their travels.
Human rights issues, poverty, environmental concerns…there are many, but one of the areas that Intrepid folk are most vocal about is animal welfare. From witnessing animals in distress, to captive animals in poor conditions or working animals, particularly if it’s connected to tourism, Intrepid staff and travellers don’t hold back on speaking up for the voiceless.
Just imagine the Galapagos…with no majestic giant tortoise, no quizzical looking blue footed boobies, no sea lions taking over the park benches on the water front, or no dinosaur-like marine iguanas sun-baking on the rocks.
It’s a scary thought – but if not for one action 50 years ago, that’s how the Galapagos Islands could be now.
“It’s difficult to describe just how vulnerable you feel when your eyes meet the unwavering stare of a predatory lion.”
The Norwegian Arctic archipelago of Svalbard is a fantastic location for seeking out wildlife, but there’s more than that to discover in this intriguing land.
You have a more than excellent chance of seeing the fearsome polar bear, as well as groups of bloated walrus, the somewhat dumpy Svalbard reindeer and even the Arctic fox. In the water you can encounter a variety of whales and all sorts of seals, often hauled up on pack ice.
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 didn’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.
The Galapagos Islands have long been a destination for the most adventurous and curious of travellers.
Today, the most common way for people to see the incredible wildlife of this Ecuadorian province is by boat, much like Charles Darwin did. However, for Intrepid travellers looking for more in-depth Galapagos tours, you really need to stay on the islands themselves to fully appreciate the incredible creatures for which the islands are famous.
In what appears to be a never-ending search for the best or most unique cup of coffee…consumers will go to crappy lengths.
Monkeys, elephants, Brazilian jacu birds and civets are amongst the animals that have been employed to eat coffee beans, with their digestive enzymes denaturing the beans and altering the final taste.
Civet coffee, or Kopi Luwak as it’s known in Indonesia, is one of the world’s most expensive drinks, selling for up to $100 per cup. It’s made from coffee beans, which have been partially digested and then excreted by small cat-like mammals known as civets. According to coffee connoisseurs, this unusual production method is what gives the coffee its uniquely smooth taste. But is it cruel or unethical?
Almost everyone who has done a tour of East Africa will tell you it’s fantastic. It’s renowned for being wild, authentic, spectacular and rugged, but Intrepid’s Skye Gainey wondered if it would live up to her high expectations when she finally had the chance to travel to Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania…
“Let me start with the game viewing. Never would I imagine seeing so many animals in such a short period of time. In Rwanda we hiked deep into the forest to spend time with a Gorilla family – a silverback, mature males and females, juveniles and babies! Watching these primates interact with each other and recognise us as friendly visitors truly makes you believe in evolution.
Hot off the press are Intrepid’s new Polar brochures, packed full of more Antarctica and Arctic adventures than ever before. To research these fantastic trips, we sent our own Wendy Smith into the frozen wonderland of the great white continent…
“I had my first Polar experience in January when I joined the Sea Spirit for an 11-day Antarctic Explorer voyage and it blew my mind! I find myself struggling for words that adequately describe how beautiful it really is. The views from the deck of the ship were ethereal, otherworldly and like nothing I’ve seen on this earth.