July 2009 to June 2010 - A Calendar of Wildlife Holiday Options
By Robert Dixon, Exodus' eCommerce Manager
Chris Packham (pictured left) made quite an impact on BBC’s Springwatch this season. Not only have viewing figures improved but he also managed to drop in a reference to the 1980’s indie band The Smiths into every episode! The charismatic presenter is currently accompanying our ‘Spitzbergen Explorer on the Vavilov’ (departed 24 June), and he will bring his enviable experience and photography tips on board.
Summer in the UK is without doubt the most rewarding time to enjoy the great outdoors. But why wait until next summer to enjoy nature at its best. Below is a mini-guide to some of Exodus’ best wildlife holidays from observing marine life in the Arctic Circle to seeing Mountain gorillas up close and personal in Rwanda.
Why? Well beyond the Arctic circle lies the Svalbard archipelago, home to huge bird colonies, Arctic foxes, magnificent mountains, monstrous glaciers, walrus and of course the ultimate marine predator, the polar bear.
When? Spitzbergen has a short season from mid June to mid August; and there is 24-hour daylight in all three months.
Why? We meet the loveable Orang-Utans at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and spend time in the Kinabatanagan Wildlife Reserve where Orang-Utans, elephants, proboscis monkeys and hornbills are commonly seen.
When? You can visit Borneo all year, but August/September is probably the best time as it’s the dry season and cooler than other months.
Why? The Masai Mara is, quite simply, the most prolific game park in the world. Whether it is lion, cheetah, wildebeest, giraffe or elephant, you can rest assured that they will be on hand.
When? Through the September and October migration season Exodus run a series of Photographic Safaris in Kenya, with our own resident photographer, Paul Goldstein.
Why? The main draw is the opportunity to see some of the world's last bands of Mountain gorillas - often described as the ultimate wildlife experience.
When? Travelling in September or October means you can combine seeing the gorillas with the migration of plains game in Kenya.
Why? In 2005 the existence of 4,000 pairs of Emperor Penguins, the most charismatic and photogenic of all penguins, was confirmed at a previously unknown site near Snow Hill Island.
When? In November Exodus has a landmark expedition guided by Paul Goldstein and BBC Big Cat presenter Jonathan Scott.
Why? Etosha National Park offers some quite stunning game viewing, including rhino and large herds of elephant, as well as predators such as lion and cheetah.
When? What better time to visit the southern hemisphere than during the depths of winter in the north?
Why? For anyone with an interest in India but especially wildlife and photographic enthusiasts eager to see the tiger in its natural environment.
When? For the last 12 months Exodus have been sponsoring the school in Tala, adjacent Bandhavgarh, and there will be cricket games with a local team during the trip in January 2010 to raise funds for the school.
Why? Almost 24-hour daylight, which for photographers and wildlife enthusiasts is a huge plus and through the viewfinder they are likely to spot at least six types of penguins, five different seals, including the menacing Leopard seal.
When? In the middle of high season it is superb for ice, penguins and whales.
Why? In the Galapagos Islands we may find ourselves stepping over snoozing sea lions and iguanas or watching close-up the courting rituals of Blue-footed Boobies, albatross, or frigate birds.
When? For those with a serious wildlife interest we offer a few two-week cruises each year.
Why? A tropical paradise, bursting with wildlife. The biodiversity of this extraordinary country is indeed rich; more than 850 species of birds alone have been recorded, far more than found in any one of the continents of North America, Australia or Europe.
When? November to April is the best time to visit as it’s the driest time of the year, but you should still expect some showers!
Why? For centuries the locals have existed in harmony with a rich variety of rare wildlife, including Europe's highest concentration of bears, wolves and lynx.
When? The Carpathian Mountains can be blanketed in snow until May at higher altitudes so our first departures are in May/June.
Why? The Okavango Delta offers the largest inland delta in the world, home to countless species of game and birds.
When? This is a good time to visit when it's not too hot, but the wildlife viewing is great.
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