World Wide Wildlife

 Seeing some of the planet's most amazing animals in their natural habitats or on a wildlife safari must feature prominently amongst the travel wishlists of many.

From mountain gorillas in Rwanda and marine iguanas in the Galapagos Islands to tigers in India and polar bears in the Arctic, there are hundreds of possibilities to get up close and personal with nature and the wonders of its fauna, often from the comfort of your open-top jeep.

The Travel Time Team has put together a selection of wildlife possibilities in case you feel up to following in David Attenborough’s footsteps!

Transylvania, Romania

For bear-spotting you don't need to travel half way around the world. The beautiful Carpathian Mountains of Romania are home to several thousand brown bears – nearly half the entire European population outside Russia. The area boasts a huge unbroken forest which is teeming with wildlife. You may not stumble upon werewolves or vampires but an encounter or two with grey wolves, wild boar, pine martens or even the Eurasian lynx is a serious possibility!

Húsavík, Iceland

This fishing village in north-eastern Iceland, nestled in Skjálfandi Bay, is considered by many to be the whale watching capital of Europe. Twenty-three species of cetaceans have been known to frequent the seas surrounding Iceland. Types of whales commonly sighted include minke, humpbacks and orcas as well as white-beaked dolphins and harbour porpoises. If you are lucky, you may even spot the largest animal on the planet and the Holy Grail for whale watchers - the mighty and magnificent blue whale!

Sichuan, China

Sichuan is home to the giant panda, one of the most endangered animals on earth and logo of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) since its founding in 1961. The must-visit location is the Chengdu Panda Breeding and Research Centre (approximately 6 miles from Chengdu) - it’s one of the largest giant panda reserves in the world, housing around 80 pandas on a 92 acres plot which replicates their natural habitat.

Okavango Delta, Botswana

Following the reintroduction of rhinos, the Delta is one of the few places where you can see all of the "Big Five" (lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhinos). Elephants are absolutely everywhere and with prey animals, like the Cape buffalo in abundance, all the major predators are present in some strength. Prides of lions and cheetahs are commonly seen in the open grasslands whilst spotted hyena and black-backed jackals scavenge as leopards haunt the forest margins; it is also arguably the best place to see the highly endangered African wild dog. If that wasn’t enough, the waterways are teeming with hippos and crocodiles and the area is home to over 400 species of birds with the ostrich, African fish eagle and crested crane to name but a few, making this an amazing destination for bird watchers too.

Borneo, Indonesia

The dense forests that straddle the borders of Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia on the island of Borneo are home to Asia’s only great ape, the orang-utan (which translates to “man of the forest”). Tanjung Puting National Park, located in the Indonesian sector, is one of the more accessible national parks on the island with the traditional method, and most popular mode, of travel being by klotok boat. As you drift along jungle rivers, you will see orang-utans and the other famous native arboreal animals, the proboscis monkeys, swinging in the trees. The park is also the location of Camp Leakey Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, established in the 1970s where the rehabilitated orang-utans roam free. Get an up close and personal view of the apes at the feeding station.

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