With the global warming crisis and animal endangerment rate increasing rapidly, now is the best time to pack your bags and head off to nature! Here are 10 exotic places where you get to see wild animals in a close range and take a break from the hectic city life!
1. Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve
First stop…Singapore! Although Singapore is a very small country, it is the home to an abundance of wildlife. Here at Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, you get to spot the Singapore long-tailed Macaques, Giant Mudskippers, Grey Heron and even get real close with Monitor Lizards as they are often spotted using the trails to bask under the sun!
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Monitor Lizard spotted crawling through the forest.[/caption]
Credit: The Smart Local
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The magnificent Grey Heron sitting atop trees.[/caption]
Credit: David Behrens Bird watching is one of the main activities at this nature reserve. During the bird migratory season between September to March, you are able to spot rare birds like the Chinese Egret and Nordmann’s Greenshank. Other activities include guided walks, DIY walks and gardening!
P.S. There are two entrances to this nature reserve, do plan well before heading there!
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Map of the walking trails of the nature reserve.[/caption]
Credit: National Parks Singapore
Visitor Centre – 60 Kranji Way, #01-00 Singapore 739453
Wetland Centre – 301 Neo Tiew Crescent, Singapore 718925
7am to 7pm daily
2. Kaudulla National Park
Who doesn’t love the thrill of a jeep safari and chancing upon wild animals while driving through the sandy roads? This newest national park in Sri Lanka is part of the 6656-hectare Elephant corridor between Somawathie Chaitiya and Minneriya National Parks, and home to over 200 Elephants, Leopards, Sloth bears, the endangered Rusty spotted cat and many species of birds.
The best period to visit this spectacular park is between August and December. The exciting news is that large numbers of Elephants are seen to gather around the Kaudulla Reservoir during this dry season, which means get your cameras ready! If you are lucky, you will also be able to see the magnificent scene of hundreds of pelicans gathering at the reservoir during sunset.
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Who doesn’t love a cute baby elephant?[/caption]
Credit: Monkeys and mountains
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You can get to see the elephants on a jeep safari.[/caption]
Credit: Points and Travel
Note: Remember not to get too close to the Elephants, as they might feel threatened and charge at your vehicle (especially family herds!). Remind your guide to keep a distance from the animals for your safety!
Engage a tour agency for this trip, it’ll definitely be much more convenient!
3. Yala National Park
After showing you the newest national park of Sri Lanka, this next national park featured is the OLDEST national park in Sri Lanka. Named a National Park in February 1938, the Yala National Park is extended over two provinces and covers about 97,880.7 hectares. It is home to Elephants, wild Buffalos, Axis Deer, and the endangered Sri Lankan Leopards.
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Sri Lankan Axis Deers grazing on the ground.[/caption]
Credit: Chandana Withanranage
The main attraction of this National Park is their Leopards. Leopards are good at hiding and camouflaging. It might be tough to spot them, so do pay 101% attention to your surroundings, you’d never know if they are just up on a tree branch resting beside your jeep! Do remember not to make too much noise, as it will scare them away.
#HHWT Tip: Always get your camera ready; you
might not know when you’ll spot a Leopard or any other wildlife! Address:
260km South East of Colombo
Tour rates are USD $40 (half day) & USD $75 (full day), which includes a jeep that can take up to 6 people
6am to 6pm
4. Kakadu National Park
Next up…Australia! The Kakadu National Park is the largest national park in Australia and one of the largest in the world’s tropics. The best period to visit this national park is between April and October, the dry season where most of their visitor sites are open.
Do book your accommodations in advance if you are going during the peak season from April to October.
Here at Kakadu National Park, you will get to see the majestic creatures of the river – Crocodiles, other reptiles, land mammals and birds!
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A majestic saltwater Crocodile resting on the bank.[/caption]
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If you are lucky, you’ll get to see a group of Egrets![/caption]
Credits: Audley Travel
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There are so many routes for you to choose from![/caption]
: Parks Australia Although famous for its Crocodiles and many species of birds, you can
also take a dip in the Gunlom plunge pool, do bird watching, self-drive touring and trekking. #HHWT Tip:
SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISK, because the Crocodiles co-habit the same areas as the pools. BUT! This also means that you have a high chance of spotting one in a very close distance. Remember to pay very close attentions to warning signs and safety rules!
State Route 36, Northern Territory, Australia
AUD $40 for Adults (16 years old and above)
AUD $20 for Children (5 – 15 years old)
Kids below 4 years old is free
24 hours, daily
It’ll be much easier if you engage a coach tour or rent a car, and travelling from Darwin or Katherine. It takes about 3 hours drive from either Darwin or Katherine.
5. Mount William National Park
Located in the Northeast corner of Tasmania lies this beautiful national park, home to Forester Kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils (yes, it is a name of an animal species), Bennett Wallabies, Echidnas, Wombats and Possums.
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This is how the real Tasmanian devil looks like! Don’t be deceived by their looks, they are aggressive by nature.[/caption]
Credits: Phil Stone One of the recommended activities to do here is
to take the Forester Kangaroo Scenic Drive. Take this drive during dusk or dawn to catch a glimpse of Tasmania’s only species of kangaroo. If you want to see more wildlife, just take a stroll along the beach or the grasslands around the campgrounds! If you are lucky, you will get to see Whales and Dolphins when you wander by the sea.
Who can resist such a cute creature?
Mount William, Tasmania 7264, Australia
AUD $24 per vehicle (up to 8 persons)
From Launceston, travel to Gladstone via Scottsdale (A3 and B82), or via the East Tamar and Bridport (A8 and B82).
From Gladstone it is 17 km (on gravel roads C843 and C845) to the Park entrance at the northern end of the park.
The southern end of the park, near Eddystone Point, can be reached by gravel roads from St Helens via Ansons Bay (C843 and C846) or from Gladstone on C843.
6. Kruger National Park
This world-renowned park offers the best wildlife experience in Africa. Game drives through this 2 million-hectare park is a must-do in your list. The park offers three options – morning, sunset and night drives. All three drives gives you the
encounter with different wildlife. The main highlight in this national park would be the fascinating encounter with the King of the jungle, the Lions.
As you drive along, you will get to see Giraffes, Rhinoceros, Elephants, Cheetahs, African Buffalos and even Zebras! As all the animals co-exist within this park, you might be in favor of some live hunting/fighting action. Keep your distance and keep your eyes and cameras ready for some surprises along the way. Animals may block your path or appear out of the blue, make sure you are paying attention to your surroundings!
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This is how close you could be with the wild animals![/caption]
Credit: Wild Wings Africa
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Always fascinated by the stripes on them, can you believe that each has a unique stripe pattern?[/caption]
Credit: E.Afrique TV
For a complete experience, do consider staying at their game lodges. This saves much more time travelling and you will not spend half the day getting lost. It may be a bit pricey, but for what it is worth, I’d say go for it!
#HHWT Tip: If you rent a car, be prepared to have bad phone signals on the
R280 per adult, per day; R140 per child, per day
The operating hours of the park varies throughout the months, do check their gate timings from here
before you go.
If you rent a car, take a look here
for the route map to Kruger National Park
7. Pilanesburg National Park
This rather private and small-sized park offers way more than what it seemed to be. It is the home to an abundance of wildlife and due to it’s small land size, you would be able to see the Big Five - African lion, African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, African Leopard, and Rhinoceros, in just a short 2 hours!
Credit: African Inspirations
There are a variety of activities to do at this National Park. Do pre-book any activities you wish to do in this Park here
to avoid disappointments! (The website is just a reference for itinerary planning and the rates of the activities. Do approach any tour agency for help too)
This first one featured is really a unique and once in a lifetime experience!
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Hot Air Ballooning Safari! How cool is it to view the game reserve from a bird’s eye-view?[/caption]
Credit: Pilanesberg Game Reserve
It is none other than… Hot Air Ballooning Safari! Imagine viewing the wildlife from up there! Nothing could literally escape your eyes, and you might be even lucky enough to spot birds up in the air along with you.
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Sit in open safari vehicles to spot and capture photographs of the Big 5![/caption]
Credit: Pilanesberg National Park
Another popular activity would be Game Drives. Conducted in the early mornings or late afternoons by experienced rangers, you will be guided to spot the big five game animals and sometimes, rare species like cheetahs and wild dogs! For bird-lovers, this vehicle also offers a spectacular view for you.
Other activities include guided hikes or even tracking Rhinoceros!
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Get up close and personal with these big beauties![/caption]
Credit: Pilanesberg National Park
Bojanala, North West, South Africa
R65 for Adults; R20 for Children; R20 for Vehicles
The Park opens all year round, with gate timings differing throughout the year.
For March and April – 6am to 6.30pm
For May to September – 6.30am to 6pm
For September and October – 6am to 6.30pm
For November to February – 5.30am to 7pm
Directions: From Johannesburg/ Pretoria (Gauteng) take
the N1 north towards Polokwane. Take the N4 Rustenburg split. A signboard shows Pilanesberg to the left on route 91.
8. Etosha National Park
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Where would you get another chance to see African elephants group up like that?[/caption]
Credit: Monkeys and Mountains
This National Park is one of the most popular Parks in South Africa. Accommodations get booked up as early as one year in advance. If you plan to include this gorgeous Park in your itinerary, remember to book the accommodations early! The best period to visit is during the dry season – May to October, plenty of animals will gather around the waterholes. This park offers a Night Safari for a different experience to spot wildlife.
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Okaukeujo Waterhole (This is how a waterhole looks like)[/caption]
Credit: Etosha National Park
The Okaukeujo waterhole is the best place in Africa to see an endangered and solitary-natured Black Rhino. It is well lit even in the night and draws Black Rhinos and Elephants almost every night! If you want to spend a whole night sitting out here to spot the wild animals, consider booking the accommodation right over at the Okaukeujo Rest Camp.
[caption id="attachment_12249" align="alignnone" width="2048"] Leopards are
sighted at the Halali and Goas waterhole[/caption] Credit: Anton Geyser
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Look how cute these cubs are!! You are able to spot them at the Okondeka waterhole.[/caption]
Credit: Bridgena Johan Barnard
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Catch a glimpse of the rare black rhino over at the Okaukeujo waterhole.[/caption]
Credit: Etosha National Park
Namibia, South Africa
NAD 80 per Adult per day; Children under 16 years are free of charge; NAD 10 per vehicle per day (10 seats or less)
Updated gate timings are available here
(timings changes weekly and are based on sunrise and sunset)
The Park is accessible by 4 gates
- Anderson’s Gate is on the southern end of the park and can be reached on the C38 via Outjo.
- Von Lindequist Gate lies in the east and connects to the B1. Tsumeb is the nearest town to this gate.
- Galton Gate is at the southwestern end of the Park.
- King Nehale Lya Mpingapa Gate is in the northern end of the park and is 48km from the main road to Ondangwa
9. Yellowstone National Park Yellowstone National Park is the home to the largest concentration of large and small mammals. You can
get to see Grizzly Bears, Grey Wolves, Bison herds, River Otters, Snakes and Amphibians, Coyotes and even wild Horses! It is also one of the fewer places in Canada where Black Bears co-exist with Grizzly Bears.
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Awww! Look at that small furry baby bear![/caption]
Credit: Jim Stewart
Grizzly Bears are fast despite their sizes. They can run up to 70 kilometre an hour and climb up trees! Most Grizzly bears are spoted at night, dusk and dawn in spring and early summer. The best places to spot them are at Lamar Valley, Gardiners Hole, Antelope Creek meadows, Hayden Valley and Dunraven Pass. Bring along a pair of Binoculars to up your game!
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These beautiful Wolves live in a pack of 4-7![/caption]
Credit: Yellowstone Park
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These playful inhabitants of the park will make you melt at how adorable they are![/caption]
Credit: Yellowstone Park
Stay at least 100 metres away from Bears and Wolves and at least 30 metres away from other large mammals like Elk, Bison and deers.
USD $30 per individual for 7-days access
Opens all year round
10. Denali National Park and Preserve This is Alaska’s
first National Park and one of the world’s last great wildernesses. Many animals live in this remote place, such as the Grizzly and Black Bears, Caribou, Moose and Dall’s sheep. Smaller mammals like arctic ground squirrels, red squirrels, foxes and marmots are also often seen. Your best chances of seeing wildlife in this park is through a bus ride along the Denali Park Road (almost equivalent to Open safari vehicle game drives). On any bus rides, get ready at least one camera and a pair of binoculars, and pay close attention to your surroundings!
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In summer, Arctic ground squirrels are active both in the day and at night![/caption]
Credits: National Park Service
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Wolves spotted roaming on the roads.[/caption]
Credit: National Park Service Gallery
If you cannot decide which type of bus ride you want to take on in this Park, you can visit the National Park Service website here
to see the difference between each bus service.
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Dall’s sheep stay on top of steep slopes where predators cannot reach.[/caption]
Credit: National Park Service Gallery
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Caribou can often be seen walking down trail roads in the Park.[/caption] Credit: National Park Service Gallery
Mile 237 Highway 3, Denali Park, Alaska 99755
USD $10 per Adult, Youth aged 15 or younger is free
Open all year round, 24 hours.
From Fairbanks, drive south along Highway 3 (George Parks Highway); From Anchorage, drive 5 hours North to Denali National Park. You can reach Denali National Park from either cities via the Alaska Railroad.
Ranging from Lions to Elephants to Birds and even Bears, these are the 10 places where you can get your fill of the nature and the wildlife! It is definitely wonderful to be able to “escape” reality for a short break where you can take in what Mother Nature has to offer.