These are the World’s Best Wildlife Holidays for Nature Photographers
I read somewhere that BBC wildlife documentary series Planet Earth was so popular in China that the country’s combined streaming activities slowed the internet when it aired. An exaggeration perhaps, but totally believable.
The programme’s epic
photography and captivating commentary have brought the topic of conservation
to the forefront of the conversation in our living rooms. Something I feel is vital
if we are to have any hope of preserving the natural landscapes of our earth.
If you’ve been inspired by the footage captured by the Planet Earth team and would like to see some of the environments featured in the series, why not consider booking a wildlife holiday?
Pack your camera and some camouflage, and dust off your sense of adventure. I’ve compiled some of the best destinations that offer a memorable wildlife holiday for nature photographers.
Which one is top of your bucket list?
SCUBA DIVE IN THE UNCHARTED WATERS OF RAJA AMPAT
You will need to invest in an
underwater housing for your camera, however the reward will be worth it. Sparsely populated and peppered with
white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, and jungle covered peaks, Raja Ampat is
without question one of the most beautiful archipelagos in the world.
For an underwater photographer the opportunities are endless, gin-clear water provides the perfect setting for epic underwater shots, and the endemic marine life, which consists of 550 species of coral as well as eels, sharks, mantas and seahorses, are the perfect subject.
WATCH WILD BEARS FEEDING ON SALMON IN HOKKAIDO, JAPAN
Hokkaido’s Shiretoko National Park is home to around 3,000
brown bears weighing up to 350kg each and standing at twice the height of the
average man; the Ussuri brown bear (also known as the black grizzly bear) is
quite an impressive sight when viewed in close quarters.
It was only a few yards from our base at the Shiretoko
Nature Centre that I first saw one. Two in fact; a female and her cub were making the most of the abundant salmon
running up-stream to spawn. Although I like to think I’m a great
storyteller no words can paint a better picture than the somewhat shaky video I
captured on my phone as I watched on in wonderment.
Japan is home to an incredibly varied number of species and if you’re a keen wildlife photographer it is well worth taking the time to explore the country’s highlights. A tailored wildlife tour like this one from Nature Trek offers insight from a local guide which can ensure you get the pictures you crave!
GO GORILLA TREKKING IN RWANDA
The primeval forests of Nyungwe National Park offer a front row seat to a jungle extravaganza.
Inhabited by more than 75 different mammals, including the last of the world’s mountain gorillas, hundreds of chimpanzees, and nearly 300 bird species, it’s here that the critically endangered mountain gorilla can be found roaming wild.
If you’re not familiar with the Tierra Del Fuego its translation from Spanish should offer insight. Meaning Land of Ice and Firethe region is known for its magical landscapes dominated by snow-capped mountain peaks.
For some truly unique photographs head to Martillo Island which can be accessed from Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego. It is a very special place because it is home to two (sometimes three!) different penguin species: Magellanic, Gentoo and the odd King penguin too!
CAPTURE ICELAND’S LANDSCAPES OF FIRE AND ICE
While Iceland has a number of intriguing species of wildlife, for me its tempestuous volcanic landscapes are the main draw to visit. A country of sharp contrasts; here ice and fire co-exist, the Land of the Midnight Sun will stake a convincing claim to the number one spot on your travel bucket list.
You’ll find 190,000 reindeer, 749 fells, and 1 Santa Claus
in Finnish Lapland, a magical natural kingdom that sits just inside the Arctic
Circle. Here harsh weather conditions and long winter nights are juxtaposed by
of the region’s wilderness and unobstructed panoramas are in endless
Visit in winter and snow
blankets the ground while the northern lights dance in the sky. You’ll be
able to take in the region’s natural beauty via dog-sled, skis, or snowmobile.
MAKE FRIENDS WITH A WOMBAT IN AUSTRALIA’S GREAT WILDERNESS
I have a pretty pointless fact about wombats, and that’s
that their poo is cube shaped. Don’t ask me why, I don’t think I’ve ever
googled it. I can also tell you that Australia is vast and is home to more
sheep that people.
The one thing I will never be able to find the words to describe is the sheer emptiness of its outback terrain. In 2012 I bought a campervan in Australia and drove the full breadth of the country over the course of 12 months.
With an ever-changing landscape and an adjacent network of highways that navigate some 25,000 kilometres around the circumference of the continent, you’ll never be short of options to explore. On your way you’ll likely encounter camels, ostrich, wombats and koala.
IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
Shrouded in historical beauty, the magnificent Scottish Highlands have been inspiring romantic writers and artists for centuries and have featured in Hollywood movies as the backdrop to countless adventures.
In addition, they also boast an impressive array of wildlife. Golden eagles, red deer and peregrine falcons range the hills with beautiful divers on the lochs that line the west coast.
The Moray Firth on the east coast is home to the world’s most northerly resident pod of bottlenose dolphins, and on Skye you can catch sight of an impressive density of otters, and sea eagles, plus there are whale watching opportunities aplenty.
Since Charles Darwin first wrote about the unique and beautiful
creatures and landscapes he found there in 1835, the Galapagos Islands have been a must-see destination for evolutionary
biologists, conservationists, and photographers alike.
Marine iguanas, giant tortoises, Darwin’s Finches, and the
flightless cormorant are just a few of species that can’t be found in the wild
anywhere else. Thanks to a lack of human activity, most of the creatures on Galapagos have no fear of people therefore you
will enjoy the closest encounters with wild, and often endangered,
creatures in their natural habitat.