From the thrill of tracking pumas to the reward of bottle-feeding baby elephants, seeing the local wildlife up close and in its natural habitat is one of the most fulfilling experiences one could have while visiting a foreign place! Thankfully, many of our partners across the JG Black Book Collection offer guests the opportunity to observe – and sometimes meet – their region’s beloved species in a special, unique way. We’ve compiled a list of unique wildlife adventures available around the world, each one sure to showcase the local animals and leave you in awe of their beauty.
1. Discover the Beauty of the Arabian Oryx at The Chedi Muscat: Also called the white oryx, the Arabian oryx was classified as endangered in 1986 but was the first animal to revert to vulnerable status in 2011 after previously being listed as extinct in the wild. This beautiful species rests during the heat of the day and can detect rainfall and move towards it, which means they have huge ranges; a herd in Oman can range over 3,000 km2 (1,200 sq mi). Herds are of mixed sex and usually contain between two and 15 animals, though herds up to 100 have been reported. They are are generally not aggressive towards one another, which allows herds to exist peacefully for some time.
When staying at The Chedi Muscat, guests can travel two hours by car to the Wahiba Sands to spend a night or two to experience the Bedouin environment and may be fortunate to encounter a herd of oryx in the wilderness!
2. Kenya’s Ultimate Baby Elephant Meet-and-Greet with Micato Safaris: Since 1977, the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised more than 150 infant elephants in their Nairobi center. Most elephants rescued are orphaned by poachers (every 15 minutes an elephant is killed for its ivory). Elephants typically stay in the orphanage around six years before released back into the wild.
Once a day, Micato Safaris guests are welcomed to the orphanage to observe the garden full of baby elephants being bottle fed – a great midday spectacle! Trunks twine agilely around milk containers while younger ones are hand-fed. The leathery babies of varying bulks guzzle down their five-liter allotment in around 30 seconds flat! Guests are invited to arrange for a private tour of the facility and also have the option to visit the facility in Tsavo – the second phase of transition for the elephants. Finally, Micato Safaris guests are able to “sponsor” an elephant – a valued deed which earns them the opportunity for a memorable visit with their foster elephant during sponsors-only hours.
3. Winter Puma Tracking Overland Safari in Patagonia with Quasar Expeditions: During your 6-day trip with Quasar Expeditions to Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park, you will explore an area known as “entre porterias.” This area is a favorite winter foraging ground for the guanaco – a relative of the Andean Llama and the African Camel. Since the guanaco is one of the park’s pumas’ favorite prey, they tend to gather here during the winter as well, making it a prime spot to track the elusive cat!
During your search for the puma, you will have the opportunity to see many different wildlife species. This area of the park is also common grounds for grey and culpeo foxes, the mighty Andean Condor, the southern Cara Cara, and a series of other birds including Upland Geese, Black-Faced Ibis, Chilean Flamingos and more. Not to mention, you will also find paintings of the native Tehuelche tribes that lived in the area in centuries past within the caves.
4. The Monkey Forest at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah: To explore Ubud, Bali and beyond, rely on The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah‘s complimentary car service offered between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm. Don’t miss the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex in Ubud, home to over 700 monkeys and 186 species of trees. But beware of the monkeys, as they can be rather cheeky at times!
5. Gorilla Tracking with Volcanoes Safaris: The most incredible wildlife experience is available to guests travelling at Volcanoes Safaris‘ lodges: gorilla tracking! Whether guests decide to track in Uganda or Rwanda, they will have the opportunity to spend one entire hour with these magnificent animals – a once in a lifetime experience!
It is an early start for gorilla tracking whether you are staying at Virunga Lodge and therefore tracking in Parc National des Volcans through the enchanting bamboo forest, or whether you are staying at Bwindi Lodge and therefore tracking through the densely forested hills in Bwindi Impenetrable forest. After a one to three hour hike, you will spend one hour in the company of these gentle apes before returning to base. Some gorilla families can be more elusive, and tracking can take a full day especially if it is wet and muddy.
6. Authentic Wildlife Adventures at Azura Selous Game Reserve: There is no greater luxury than the luxury of space, which is what makes Azura Selous Game Reserve‘s wildlife adventures so unique. Azura Selous’ knowledgeable guides go out every day to monitor the games movements and sightings to ensure they are providing exceptional services and personalize adventures. From their signature tailor-made game drives to their sundowners set up at the river’s edge and their personalized breakfasts setup in the bush, they will provide you with the most authentic bush experience!
Hear it from one of their delighted guests after his recent visit: “Having traveled a fair bit in Africa, Azura Selous is one of the most authentic African experiences you’re likely to have. I say that with confidence. From the moment you touch ground here, Azura will ensure that this is one of the most memorable African experiences you’re likely to have. They’re masters at authenticity. If you’re a traveler seeking solace from safari crowds in an incredible wilderness, go here! When I left, I felt part of the family and the woodwork, that doesn’t happen often. Thanks to the incredible hosts and staff! If I make it back in my lifetime I’ll be one happy traveler.” – rpearce0909, TripAdvisor July 2017