Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Go Wild: Encountering Wildlife

The world is full to the brim with opportunities for incredible encounters with wildlife – there’s more to the planet than just us! If you’ve not yet hung out with gorillas or swum with sharks, what are you waiting for? You’ve really missed out!

It’s time to make up for that – use the following examples of nail-biting encounters with the natural world and you’ll quickly find your pulse racing. Let’s get wild!

Fishing with Grizzlies

Grizzly bears  [or North American brown bears, but that name is way less exciting] can weigh up to 56 stone of pure muscle. These giant predators love nothing more than a salmon feast, so they get themselves to the Alaskan rivers in time for the spawning run, which takes place between May and October.

You can watch grizzlies as they fish and feast by getting to the right place at the right time. Book flights to Alaska, then travel to the Katmai National Park where they have a fantastic viewing platform. Come in September for the best experience.

Gorilla Party

Gorillas only live in central Africa’s jungle, and they are sadly very endangered – if you want to get up close and personal, you’d be better off doing it sooner rather than later. Rwanda is a good place for it, but we’d recommend the Ugandan forests as you have a better chance of hanging with an imposing silverback.

Sadly, gorilla tracking doesn’t come cheap, but going with Intrepid would probably be your best bet. An eight-day Gorilla Express tour will set you back about £1000, but they also offer a 16-day one which includes seeing chimpanzees and big game, such as hippos and the Big Five.

Swim with the Sharks

Quick – name the most fearsome, scary shark you can. You said “great white”, didn’t you? Weighing up to a ton, the great white shark is the king of the sea, an awe-inspiring migratory predator.

The best way to see them for real is by getting in the water with them – get into a cage off the coast of Gansbaai [near Cape Town], scatter some chum, and spend a few hours with them circling just inches from your face. Book your travel with cheap flights to South Africa, then use Shark Diving Unlimited to get you in the water.

Croc Chase

You thought great whites were scary? Australia’s saltwater crocodiles have a bite force twice as powerful as the wimpy [in comparison] shark! The world’s largest reptiles, salties are found in various locations, but the biggest of the big are found in the Northern Territory.

Known to jump out of the river to grab birds in their jaws, tour operators will encourage this behaviour to spectacular results by dangling large chunks of meat over the side of the boat. You would do well to head to the Adelaide River and contacting Jumping Crocodile Cruises. The cruises last for about an hour and are rather reasonably priced!


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