Trailing tigers in India
Wildlife tourism is a growing industry in India as more people head to the Subcontinent in search of a safari-adventure alternative to the more expensive African resorts. For many, the main pull is the possibility of spotting a tiger, however sightings of these elusive creatures cannot be guaranteed. Responsible Travel runs a Tiger Watching holiday designed to maximise chances of sightings across two major tiger habitats. Bandhavgarh National Park is where the famous white tigers of Rewa were first discovered and, alongside its healthy Bengal tiger population, the park is home to herds of barking deer, mongoose, bears, palm squirrels, plus many more unique beauties. The itinerary also takes in Kanha National Park, a 1,945-square-kilometre expanse of dense forest, where chances of tiger sightings are high and can be further improved by trying the elephant-back safari excursion.
Need to know: Tiger Watching Holiday in India for eight nights with Responsible Travel costs from Dh3,638 to Dh4,831 per person, which includes accommodation, AC sleeper train, road transfers and 10 game safaris. Contact 0044 1273 823 700 or www.responsibletravel.com
Journey through the jungle in Nepal
Home to the majestic royal Bengal tiger and the Asian one-horned rhinoceros, the Chitwan Jungle was Nepal’s first national park and has been a World Heritage Site since 1984. Rich in flora, fauna and exotic species, this wilderness offers enormous scope for exploration with safari lodges dotted in and around the park borders. Chitwan Jungle Safari hosts a six-day journey through the park, incorporating a series of activities, from safari jeep drives and canoeing, to bird watching, nature walks and river bathing with elephants.
Need to know: Chitwan Jungle Safari for five nights with Breakfree Adventures costs Dh1,028 per person. Includes all jungle activities, national park and conservation area permit and fees, accommodation and all meals, plus guide and transport from Kathmandu to Pokhara. Contact 00977 985 101 4557 or visit www.chitwanjunglesafari.com
Gorilla trekking in Uganda
Gorilla trekking is one of the most popular safari-style excursions in Uganda and Rwanda – the primary habitats of the rare mountain gorilla species. It’s also one of the more expensive types of safari, but some tour operators do offer package deals. Matoke Tours runs a 10-day Budget Safari through Uganda that takes in many of the country’s wildlife highlights, including the zebra herds of Lake Mburo National Park, the tree-climbing lions of the Bwindi Forest and, of course, the mountain gorilla families.
Need to know: A 10-day Budget Safari Uganda with Matoke Tours costs Dh7,400. visit www.matoketours.com or call 00256 312 202907
Botswana on horseback
One of the best ways to engage with the environment on safari is on horseback. The animals are usually more comfortable being approached by a horse than a jeep, allowing guests to get closer and have a more intimate wildlife experience. African Horseback Safaris was an early pioneer of riding trips in Africa and has a stable of well-trained thoroughbreds, Namibian Hanoverian and Kalahari-Arab crossbreeds in at its Macatoo Camp. The beautiful facility has eight luxurious tents set on raised wooden platforms overlooking the floodplains of the Okavango Delta where elephant, zebra, buck and other species pass by.
Need to know: A one-week horse-riding safari with African Horseback Safaris starts from Dh2,714 per night. Call 00267 686 1523 or visit www.africanhorseback.com
Arabian wildlife safari on Sir Bani Yas Island
If you want to keep your wildlife adventure local, then Sir Bani Yas Island, located 170km southwest off the coast of Abu Dhabi, is the ideal destination. Home to more than 13,000 free-roaming animals – both indigenous and endangered – the island was established as a nature reserve in 1971 and provides a tranquil natural environment for the many different species of animal that make up the island’s delicate ecosystem. Guests of the Desert Islands Resort and Spa can take 4x4 nature and wildlife drives or walks accompanied by experts, which provide the chance to spot everything from Arabian oryx and ostrich to giraffe and even cheetah and hyena.
Need to know: One night at Desert Islands Resort & Spa by Anantara starts from Dh1,200 per room including breakfast. See www.desertislands.anantara.com