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Paul Goldstein is one of very few people that has spent time with all five of the BBC’s ‘Dynasty’ luminaries. Several chimp safaris, literally years with lions, two fabled expeditions to Emperor penguins and wild painted dogs throughout Africa. 15 marathons in his tiger suit along with 20+ ‘striped’ safaris adds to this not underwhelming litany. Here he shares a few thoughts and tips on these species:
In terms of character, they are probably most similar to humans which, although not always a good thing by any means, does make them fascinating viewing as some of their habits are identical. Kabale forest would be my choice of destination for them in Uganda and why not twin them with a visit to their bigger cousins: gorillas.
Find out more: Chimps & Gorillas of Uganda
King of the jungle maybe, but being cats they are actually often very lazy. However, to hear the roar of a male or see a whole pride bisect the dawn’s rays is a seminal moment of Africa and one everyone should experience at least once. There are many good places to see lions: the Serengeti, Mara Conservancies and Ngorongoro Crater probably being the best.
Find out more: Big Cat Safaris
Hail the Emperors
It is VERY expensive to see them as only C class ice breakers can access these colonies and there is no guarantee that you can fly in, as the weather is capricious at best. But the Happy Feet allure of these birds, especially their chicks, is still strong.
Alternatively, King penguins are far more numerous, have brown chicks not grey and are easier and less expensive to see in South Georgia – six million can’t be wrong!
Find out more: Polar marine and wildlife
These painted dogs were almost wiped from the African continent due to a combination of hunting, culling and distemper. However, there are many areas now where they can be seen with a degree of regularity.
As hunters, they are in a class of their own: the outriders fan out wide and the peloton of reserves keep up a decent clip behind their prey. Moremi in Botswana, certain reserves in South Africa and the more remote reserves of Kenya and Tanzania still offer good opportunities for these enigmatic predators.
Find out more: Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari
Tigers were almost a footnote in history, poached by butchers more interested in their pelts than their future. Fortunately, their numbers have stabilised but they are still threatened. Indian national parks with their layers of bureaucracy do not always assist tourists but the visceral thrill of seeing your first striped burnished cat will never be forgotten.
I have spent years trying for that perfect tiger image and never come close but you won’t find me complaining. This is an iconic species worth thousands of times more alive than dead on the slab. Best to see in Ranthambore, Kanha, Pench, Tadoba and my favourite: Bandhavgarh.
Find out more: Tiger Safaris
View more of our mindblowing wildlife holiday below.