11 Unique Safari Experiences Around the World
AFAR voted our Galapagos tour the “best wildlife experience in the world”: it brings you face-to-face with the incredible land and marine life of the islands, in the company of our local naturalist guide, who knows everything there is to know about the creatures here, from the best spots for sightings, to their intriguing habits.
We didn’t stop there. We apply the same level of detail to every Classic Journeys tour, ensuring you get the wildlife experience of a lifetime, everywhere, every time.
Where Darwin developed his theory of evolution, and researchers continue to make new discoveries each year. With the islands having been left uninhabited for so long, the wildlife of the Galapagos evolved without fear of humans, meaning spectacularly close encounters. Liberated from commuting boat to shore twice each day, you have an unlimited opportunity daily to snorkel face to face with curious baby sea lions who blow bubbles into your mask. You can swim with sea turtles and rays for hours on end. You meet giant land tortoises over 100 years old on a hike the most visitors never experience. And you watch iguanas colored black to orange to green scutter over coastal rocks. The bird life is brilliant too. With your naturalist guide, see pink flamingos feeding in lagoons, and kayak past dancing blue footed boobies.
As you sail through the wilds of the White Continent with us, you can wake up to hourglass dolphins and humpback whales feeding right outside your suite’s window. On kayak and zodiac excursions, you’ll meet chubby fur seals and snoozing elephant seals. You’ll see so many penguins—porpoising alongside your boat, sliding across icebergs, hopping into the water and huddling to protect their chicks—that you’ll soon be able to identify an adélie from a gentoo, and a chinstrap from an emperor. Meanwhile in the sky, watch the fabled albatross dancing against the breeze.
More penguins: this time the African penguins who waddle along Boulders Beach. And then, the real show begins, as you stay in a private game reserve that doubles up as a luxury mountain lodge. You’ll be able to spot Africa’s Big 5—lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalo—while you soak in your private pool, or tuck into a gourmet meal. Enjoy walks and drives through the reserve, and spend time with the scientists and conservationists fighting to protect these species.
From your jungle hotel with its volcanic hot springs, you’ll have oodles of opportunity to roam the Costa Rica rainforest. Overhead, see swooping macaws, swinging monkeys and sleepy sloths clinging to branches. In the undergrowth, your naturalist guide can help you spot skulking jaguars and frogs tinier than your thumb.
Hawaii Big Island
Hawaii’s Big Island is heaving in wildlife. This is where humpback whales migrate from Alaska to seek warm tropical water. Where rays and turtles grace volcanic reefs. Where spinner dolphins surf in the wake of boats, and where chameleons change color to match plants and rocks. Explore the ocean, coastline and tropical rainforest with your islander guide for wildlife wonders galore.
Patagonia is the land of the puma. With patience, you’ll see them prowl powerfully across Torres Del Paine. Meanwhile, deer and guanacos graze, armadillos shuffle, and condors cut through the skies to catch prey (one of over 100 bird species here). In nearby Puerto Natales, marine life reigns supreme, with whales (orcas, humpbacks and blues), dolphins, sea lions and penguins.
Paddle your kayak as orcas, gray whales and humpbacks appear around you. Stop to watch sea otters playing in the shallows, and harbor seals sleeping on the shore. Spot over seventy species of bird, from blue herons to bald eagles.
Though one of America’s most sparsely populated states when it comes to humans, Alaska’s wildlife scene thrives. Each season brings different sightings, from grizzlies and humpbacks in the summer, to foxes and harbor seals in the winter, with moose, puffins and many more spottable year-round.
Yellowstone & Grand Tetons
Welcome to the Serengeti of the United States. Learn how to track wolves, bears and bobcats through silent forest with your naturalist guide. River raft past playful otters. Watch bison grazing by geysers. And spot over 300 species of bird.
When you explore Thailand with us, your luxury jungle hotel doubles up as an elephant research and conservation camp. Watch Earth’s most graceful giants as they feed, bathe and interact with one another, and meet the experts devoted to protecting them.
The trip extension of a lifetime: after exploring the Taj Mahal, Jaipur and other Indian icons, join us in Ranthambore National Park, home to tigers, leopards, hyenas, crocodiles, wild boar, bears, and more.