10 new experiences for animal lovers

written by Rianna Manuel December 4, 2023

We’ve added even more ways to connect with the critters and creatures we get to share this planet with. 

If you love getting a little closer to nature and seeing creatures in their natural habitat while exploring the world, these new wildlife trips and experiences are tailor-made for you. Whether you’re swimming with turtles in the warm sea or spotting whales from the deck of a boat, seeing the world through the eyes of an animal isn’t something you get to do every day.  Here are the best new animal experiences to go wild over. 

1. Spot Asian elephants on safari in Sri Lanka  

Intrepid’s new Sri Lanka Safari takes you to five stunning national parks bursting with wildlife. Discover the varied landscapes of Wilpattu, Minneriya, Gal Oya, Kumuna and Yala National Parks by boat and 4WD, keeping your eyes peeled for enormous native elephants, ever-elusive leopards, wild buffalo and deer, crocodiles and more. Explore ancient fortresses and hidden temples, now home to thousands of birds, and spend the night in a rainforest reserve, falling asleep to the sounds of jackals, big cats, wild boars and toque monkeys. 

2. Stay with the Black Mambas in South Africa 

On the edge of Kruger National Park in South Africa, you’ll find a team of all-women anti-poaching rangers – the Black Mambas. The first all-female unit in the world works to monitor the park and help prevent poaching. Starting in 2024 on Intrepid’s Vic Falls to Kruger trip, you’ll camp at their headquarters and head out with them on a bush walk to see how they find and destroy poachers’ snares. Enjoy dinner by lantern and cap the day off around the campfire, listening to the Mambas tell their inspirational stories about protecting the savanna. 

3. Meet the Gorilla Doctors and their patients in Rwanda  

The forests of Uganda and Rwanda are home to families of mountain and eastern lowland gorillas. These incredible animals are under near-constant threat of extinction due to habitat loss, disease and poaching. On the Remarkable Rwanda & Gorillas of Uganda trip, you’ll visit the headquarters of The Gorilla Doctors – the only organisation in the world dedicated to saving these species using veterinary science and medicine. Meet the vets doing this essential work and learn how they monitor the species numbers, detect early signs of disease and injury and medically intervene with gorillas suffering from human-induced or life-threatening trauma or disease, one gorilla patient at a time.  

4. Safari in Amboseli National Park  

Jump on board an overland vehicle and head out into Amboseli National Park, where you’ll find the largest population of African elephants in Kenya. The elephants that call this region home are famously large tuskers, so make sure you have your cameras ready. Join the Serengeti Trail and keep a lookout for some of the park’s other residents, including leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, lions, crocodiles and dik-dik. 

5. Track rhinos on foot in Zimbabwe 

Home to black and white rhinos, Matobo National Park is an animal lover’s dream. On Stone Town to Vic Falls, explore the park on foot with an expert guide, who will take you across the rocky landscape in search of these elusive animals. This incredible landscape of towering rock formations and open plains is home to thousands of animals and species, so keep your eyes peeled for locals like leopards, warthogs, klipspringers, springhares and hippos. You’ll also have the chance to see the San rock paintings that depict the lives of foraging societies in the Stone Age, dating back at least 13,000 years. 

6. Sip elephant-friendly beer in the Okavango 

Elephants and beer aren’t necessarily the first iconic pair you might think of, but in Botswana, a craft brewery works closely with its enormous neighbours. Visit the Okavango Craft Brewery on the Okavango Experience and learn about the conservation and sustainability at the core of their practices, buying millet from small-scale farmers around the area as they work to coexist with the local elephant populations. By protecting ancient elephant movement corridors, using peaceful elephant deterrents to protect crops and embracing more sustainable farming practices, the farmers, brewery and elephants are all able to live peacefully alongside one another.  

7. Admire the seasonal displays of Antarctica 

Head to the end of the earth, where you’ll find a world bursting with wildlife. You won’t find any shortage of animal encounters on Shackleton’s Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica Expedition, there will be glimpses from the comfort aboard the Ocean Endeavour or while walking in their footsteps on day trips and landings. Watch as whales breach the icy water’s surface, penguins waddle across the land and seals and sea lions splash in the shallows along the shores. The land here is truly wild, and the wildlife is incredible to behold. You may even spot duelling male elephant seals battle for dominance – an aggressive but spectacular show. 

8. Meet a menagerie of rescues in Utah 

Just north of the city centre of Kanab, Utah, over 1600 dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, horses, pigs and a menagerie of other animals have found their sanctuary. On the Zion Glamping Adventure, visit the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where workers and volunteers spend their time diligently caring for the welfare of all kinds of animals who come through their doors. The biggest non-profit no-kill sanctuary in the United States, their goal is to bring the entire country to no-kill by 2025. When you visit, explore the sanctuary, grab lunch at their vegan cafe and meet some of the adorable rescues who call this place home.  

9. See animals on land, in the sea and in the air in Australia 

Welcome to Far North Queensland, Australia, where nature will absolutely spoil you. During your time on the Daintree & Cape Tribulation Adventure, you can enjoy a Great Barrier Reef excursion, marvel at coral colours, swim with tropical fish and maybe even meet a sea turtle or two. Explore the Mareeba Wetlands and witness this flurry of activity as over 220 bird species, endangered northern quolls and various reptiles showcase the rich biodiversity of northern Queensland. In this region, sunset is prime for observing native wildlife coming out to play or making their way back to rest.

10. Discover India’s creatures and ancient culture

Intrepid’s Premium Indian Safari brings you face to face with the majestic Bengal tiger. This solitary creature stalks the grasslands of Panna National Park, which looks a real-life picture from The Jungle Book. Along with searching for leopards, sloth bears and monkeys, you’ll visit historical marvels like the Taj Mahal and vroom around the streets of Old Delhi on the back of a rickshaw.

Find out what else is new for 2024 with The Goods. 

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