On Friday 19th May, 2017

Wild animal encounters that should be on your bucket list

Written by

Travel at 60

We humans love our four-legged friends. We call them our best friends and our partners in crime. But there’s something very different about having a pet and seeing a wild animal in its natural habitat. No matter where in the world you’re headed, here are some of the best places to have an up-close animal encounter to remember.

Pandas have got the be the cutest, squishiest, most adorable of all the bears and the best place to see them is in their natural habitat in China. Dujiangyan Panda Base is a great place for a casual panda encounter. Travellers are welcomed to get in and amongst it by cleaning the enclosure, preparing food and even viewing and holding the pandas.

2. Spot elephants in Sri Lanka

Perhaps the cutest animal in the world 🐘

A post shared by Victoria Rennerståhl (@vrennerstahl) on Mar 26, 2017 at 8:48am PDT

One of the best places in Sri Lanka to get up close and personal with elephants has got to be seeing these magnificent creatures in the wild. According to the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka, there are currently close to 6,000 elephants in the country. You’ll find 200 of these beautiful animals in Kaudulla National Park, with the best time to visit being during August and September.

World famous the world over, the Snow Monkey Park, or the Jigokudani Yaen Koen, is a popular favourite for tourists around the globe. Here you’ll encounter more than 160 Japanese Macaque monkeys lazing around, chasing each other and grooming one another’s fur. It’s not just the tourists that love the popular onsen in Japan, as the monkeys can be found lazing around the hot pools with blissful looks on their faces, too.

4. Swim with marine life on the Great Barrier Reef

A green sea turtle charging full speed ahead into the weekend 🐢

A post shared by Ocean Art | Photography (@jordan_robins) on May 18, 2017 at 8:11pm PDT

If there’s anywhere in Australia you’d want to go to encounter marine life, the Great Barrier Reef has got to be one of the most popular places. Here you can see more than 1,600 species of fish, six types of sea turtles, more than 100 types of sharks and 30 species of whale and dolphin. Bring a waterproof camera with you, because the magical world that lies beneath the surface is a sight to behold.

5. Take a safari in Africa

🦁 #photography #photographer #photooftheday #africa #serengeti #animals #animalkingdom #lioness #babylion #lametayel #motherhood

A post shared by Meitar Levy (@m8r) on May 18, 2017 at 4:26am PDT

Africa is a continent of wild animals and big adventure, but for a close-up animal encounter you can’t go past Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Here you can spot some of the 3,000 lions in the area, more than 1,000 leopards, laughing hyena, zebras and the vervet monkey, which can usually be found in groups of around 50.

Thousands of tourists visit the area of Churchill in Canada each autumn to get a glimpse of the polar bears roaming in the wild. The best time to see these guys in their element is during October and November, when they begin their journey from their summer home to their winter hunting grounds. Canadian Wildlife Service reports there are between 900 and 1,000 polar bears in the Hudson Bay area, so have the camera at the ready.

7. Swim with dolphins in Western Australia

Just a little bit excited that it's 10 days until #christmasGift vouchers available for all our tours: www.penguinisland.com.auAmazing image @sarahcootecinematography

A post shared by Rockingham Wild Encounters (@rockinghamwild) on Dec 14, 2016 at 6:41pm PST

Just 45 minutes outside of Perth lies the opportunity to get not just an up-close encounter with live animals, but an intimate experience with Rockingham’s local wild dolphin population. Meet more than 200 wild bottlenose dolphins on a leisurely swim in their natural environment. They don’t perform tricks and they’re not fed by tour operators, they just lap up all the attention!

What are some of the best animal encounters you’ve ever had? Let us know all about them in the comments section below.

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