Whether you yearn to come face to face with a leopard or a lemur, our planet’s wildlife inspires many travellers’ globetrotting adventures.
Kick start the year by heading into the Antarctic in search of penguins, catch the Great Migration rumbling across the Mara or why not finish the year on a high after spending a precious hour with Mountain gorillas in December?
Sharing their wealth of knowledge, our team of wildlife experts have compiled a calendar of the best animal encounters on Earth. Fauna fans can easily spot where to go and when for their next fix of fins, feathers and paws…
JAN ¦ FEB ¦ MAR ¦ APR ¦ MAY ¦ JUN ¦ JUL ¦ AUG ¦ SEP ¦ OCT ¦ NOV ¦ DEC
Why now? A new year, a new family: the Antarctic Peninsula teems with hatching penguin chicks. Adelies, Chinstraps and Gentoos are the downy stars of this avian crèche. With almost 24-hour daylight, this is the ideal time of year for budding wildlife photographers to maximise their lens skills against a glistening backdrop of blue tabular icebergs and sapphire polar waters.
What else? Humpback, Minke, Fin and Southern Right whales, leopard seals, Fur seals and their pups.
Taking you there: Antarctic Explorer
More wildlife holidays in January:
Classic Tanzania Safari
Borneo Wildlife Discoverer
Why now? A migratory species, the Blue whale frequents oceans the world over, feeding in polar waters during the summer before returning to the tropics for winter. This monolith of the animal kingdom passes by the southern coast of this Indian Ocean pearl to give some of the most spectacular whale watching opportunities on Earth. Nothing can prepare you for the moment one of these majestic mammals flaunts its eight-metre fluke next to your boat.
What else? Leopards, Asian elephants, monkeys, Samba deer and Monitor lizards.
Taking you there: Whales & Leopards of Sri Lanka
More wildlife holidays in February:
Classic Kenya 4WD Safari
In Search of the Snow Leopard
Why now? A maritime pilgrimage beyond compare, this goes far beyond whale watching in its purest sense. Begin at the beginning, the Grey Whale Birthing Lagoon of Magdalena Bay, whose crystal clear waters come alive at this time with mothers nursing their young calves.
What else? Dolphins, Sea lions, turtles and Whale sharks.
Taking you there: Journey to the Sea of Cortez
More wildlife holidays in March:
South Africa Walking & Wildlife (bird migration season)
Botswana & Zimbabwe Lodge Safari
Why now? The chance to look into the amber orbs of a Bengal tiger sits pretty high on many wildlife wish lists. Maximise the chances of meeting this elusive striped predator by visiting during the dry season. With less foliage to obscure the view and dropping water levels forcing much of the park’s wildlife to congregate around watering holes, you’re already one step closer to your feline goal.
What else: Sloth bears, leopard, Samba and Spotted deer, kingfishers, Malabar hornbill.
Taking you there: Tigers in Focus - NEW for 2016!
More wildlife holidays in April:
Why now? The end of Indonesia’s rainy season signals a rainforest positively overflowing with life. It’s a time of plenty for the wildlife, but quiet in terms of tourists, most of whom hold off until July and August. It’s an ideal time to delve deep into the rich, volcano-fed ecosystem without having to share.
What else? Bats, Thomas leaf monkeys, Long-tailed macaques, gibbons, Sumatran elephants and Manta rays.
Taking you there: Primates & Dragons of Indonesia
More wildlife holidays in May:
Discover Costa Rica
Greater Kruger Safari
Why now? Polar bears bathed in 24-hour daylight, an icebreaker, onboard bear experts… the question really should be “why not?” Polar bears are another predator very close to Paul Goldstein’s heart and each year he leads this exclusive Exodus charter around the Spitsbergen archipelago hoping to go one better than the year before. Well this year he went not one, but eight better with a total 24 bear sightings. A small ship voyage really is the best way to encounter the great white hunter.
What else? Walrus, Arctic foxes, reindeer, seals, Humpback, Blue and Beluga whales, Kittiwakes, Little auks, Barnacle geese and Guillemots.
Taking you there: Spitsbergen Photographic Charter with Paul Goldstein & Mark Carwardine
More wildlife holidays in June:
The Zambezi Valley
Carpathian Walking and Bears
Why now? Humpback whales congregate in their hundreds to feed on plankton blooms, while along the shore Brown and Black bears come out of hibernation to feast on salmon and boost their fat reserves for the long winter of hibernation ahead. The bears will treat you to some spectacular photo opportunities against a cascading backdrop of white-water and primordial forest, and when the Humpbacks breach, lucky onlookers will be mesmerised by their awesome power. This special departure will be led by our very own Product Director and photographer Jim Eite.
What else: Bald eagles, elk, seals, beavers.
Taking you there: Southeast Alaska Island Odyssey Charter
More wildlife holidays in July:
Spitsbergen Photographic Charter with Paul Goldstein & Mark Carwardine
Land of the Jaguar
Why now? During the summer and autumn months, the Mara plains rumble as ruminant herds thunder north from the Serengeti to their northern stronghold of the Masai Mara. This normally begins sometime in July and if this year is anything to go by, the wilderbeest can still be in Kenya well into October and November. To be among literally millions of wildebeest, zebra and other plain game is one of the greatest wildlife encounters anywhere. Their life is not easy, they have croc-infested rivers to cross and are pursued relentlessly by predators.
What else? Lions, cheetahs, leopards, African elephants, Cape buffalo, impala, Fish eagles, Thompson gazelle, ostrich, hippos, giraffe…actually it’s a fairly long list!
Taking you there: Classic Kenya 4WD Safari (Premium trip)
More wildlife holidays in August:
Discover Costa Rica (turtle nesting season)
Greenland & Canada’s High Arctic
Why now? This is the time of year to catch the Humpback whale migration heading south along the Atlantic coast of Costa Rica, as well as turtle's nesting on the Caribbean coast. According to National Geographic, Costa Rica is the “most biologically intense place on Earth” and during your two-week adventure here you’re likely to encounter everything from sloths to tree frogs, breaching whales to flashy macaws. Howler monkeys will provide your early morning alarm call, before being accompanied by their avian backing singers. Sit back and relax to the sounds of the jungle – pura vida!
What else? Dolphins, monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, iguanas, butterflies, bats and a myriad of birdlife of birdlife including hummingbirds, toucans, quetzals, Frigate birds, flycatchers, hawks and even Harpy eagles are occasionally spotted.
Taking you there: Costa Rica's Coastal Secrets
More wildlife holidays in September:
Whales & Bears of British Columbia
Primates & Dragons of Indonesia
Why now? Rare, elusive, and stunningly beautiful, an encounter with these powerful, e-type cats requires an expert guide, patience and flexibility. For a while in the 70s and 80s it looked as though the skin trade would claim all of these cats but not now, the Pantanal has a stable population of these magnificent creatures. Anyone who has enjoyed viewing leopards may well want to try their hand here, a jaguar is over twice the size of its African cousin and the males are bigger than most lionesses!
What else: Hyacinth macaws, Giant river otters, caimans and kingfishers.
Taking you there: Land of the Jaguar
More wildlife holidays in October:
Azores Whale & Dolphin Watching
Wildlife & Wilderness of Botswana
Why now? Though they are present year-round, this is the perfect time to see Whale sharks in the Maldives – clear weather and abundant plankton serve to bring the sharks into the channels. You’ll set sail onboard a luxurious Turkey Gulet around staggeringly beautiful coral atolls seeking encounters with not only gargantuan whale sharks but also majestic Manta rays and a kaleidoscopic array of coral reef fish. Awake to the rising sun glistening over the sapphire ocean and spend the days sailing and snorkelling around tiny, remote islands hoping the deep blue reveals its magnificent marine life.
What else: Reef sharks, sting rays, dolphins,
Taking you there: Marine Wildlife of the Maldives – NEW for 2016!
More wildlife holidays in November:
Antarctica, Falklands & South Georgia
Why now? With the exception of the short rainy season between March and May, you can see Mountain gorillas at any time of year, but we picked December for our Christmas departure. Can you think of a more exciting, unusual way to spend the festive season than on an Africa overland adventure for what is sure to be a wildlife extravaganza? No, didn’t think so!
What else: Lion, leopard, cheetah, Africa elephant, hippo, Black and White rhino, Cape buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, baboon, Rock hyrax, vulture, ostrich, flamingo, wart hogs...and the list goes on!
Taking you there: Gorillas & Gameparks - NEW for 2016!
More wildlife holidays in December:
Land of the Tiger
Kenya & Tanzania Safari
See all our Wildlife Encounters or go back to the top of the calendar