It was a cool morning in Tanzania, and my husband and I rose a little earlier than most to sneak into the sheltered kitchen and grab coffee before the breakfast rush. The tents were beginning to stir, but we had a few minutes alone to enjoy the first of the sun’s rays, the squawking of unnamed birds, and to stares of the giraffes nearby.
Our first photo competition of 2015 was all about wildlife. Anything with fur, feathers, scales or skin was fair game (you know, in a non-hunting way). Maybe the credit should go to all the attractive animals out there in the world, but this month saw some of the most spectacular shots we’ve ever received.
Experiencing wild animals can be such a fabulous highlight of your travel experience. However, wild animals used in entertainment may be experiencing unseen cruelty or abuse. How would you know? How could you help?
Did I expect to be able to climb Mt Kinabalu to watch the sun rise? Never. Was I planning on joining orangutans for breakfast? Probably not. But then these experiences and more were typical of my unexpected highlights in Borneo.
I chose Borneo for my next Intrepid trip because I loved the thought of seeing amazing wildlife, staying in traditional villages and I was prepared to give the mountain climb a go, but what I didn’t anticipate was just how much of a buzz I would get from exploring this fascinating land.
The term ‘trip of a lifetime’ gets bandied about a lot these days, possibly too freely, but for Lee Bethune travelling to the Galapagos Islands lived up to the expectations that comes with such an assured claim…
“Over 1000km west of the mainland of Ecuador, I thought there would have to be something special and there was… it was the Galapagos Islands.
On average, three rhinos a day are being killed in South Africa – all because of a lie…
Rhinos are hunted down thanks to the mistaken belief that their horns possess properties that detoxify the body and can therefore cure anything from a hangover to serious illnesses such as cancer. And if there was evidence to support such beliefs – you may as well chew your fingernails!
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.