The world’s best wildlife walks

Observing wildlife in its natural habitat is one of the most exhilarating experiences, especially if you’re on foot.   

Grab your walking boots and a pair of binoculars and you could spot some of the world’s most majestic animals, from a rhino to a snow leopard. 

If you want to experience the thrill, here are seven of the very best trips available.

Pumas in Chile 

Chilean Patagonia is home to the llama-like guanaco (pictured above). You may also see the Andean puma 

Wildlife wow: Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia is home to the llama-like guanaco and the Andean puma.

Close encounter: Sightings likely to be at a distance. 

Fitness factor: High altitude across rough terrain.

Best time to go: March and April.

Book it: A ten-day trip, including flights, accommodation and meals, costs from £5,395; wildlifeworldwide.com

Brown bears in Slovakia

Endearing sight: A brown bear with one of her cubs. Bears should be observed from a safe distance

Endearing sight: A brown bear with one of her cubs. Bears should be observed from a safe distance 

Wildlife wow: Slovakia’s Carpathian Mountains are home to almost half the European population of brown bears. Follow tracks with park rangers.

Close encounter: Bears should be observed from a safe distance but just a glimpse through binoculars is pulse-raising.

Fitness factor: Hikes are seven to nine hours a day, so a good level of fitness is required.

Best time to go: May, June and September.

Book it: An eight-day trip costs from £1,049, excluding flights; walksworldwide.com

Caribou in Arctic Canada  

Wildlife wow: Deep in the Arctic tundra you’ll find the 350,000-strong herd of Qamanirjuaq caribou – and there’s also a chance to spot wolves, grizzly and black bears and golden eagles.

Close encounter: You can walk within feet of the herd.

Fitness factor: A mix of short walks and longer hikes.

Best time to go: September.

Book it: Seven-day trips costs from £5,250; naturalworldsafaris.com

Snow leopards in the Himalayas

Cool cat: A snow leopard on the slopes of the Himalayas - they are one of the planet's most majestic creatures

Cool cat: A snow leopard on the slopes of the Himalayas – they are one of the planet’s most majestic creatures 

Wildlife wow: Hidden in the frosty crags of the Himalayas, you’ll find one of the planet’s most majestic creatures – the snow leopard. Travel firm Pelorus works with guides who helped the BBC Natural History unit track and film these elusive predators for smash-hit show Planet Earth.

Close encounter: Sightings are normally through binoculars.

Fitness factor: Tough trekking in sub-zero conditions.

Best time to go: December to March.

Book it: An 11-day trip costs from £6,420, excluding flights; pelorusx.com

Gelada baboons in Ethiopia

Distinctive: A female gelada baboon with its baby on her back pictured in Ethiopia's Simien National Park

Distinctive: A female gelada baboon with its baby on her back pictured in Ethiopia’s Simien National Park

Wildlife wow: This trek through Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains could offer sightings of Ethiopian wolves and ibex. But it’s the spectacular gelada baboons (otherwise known as bleeding-heart baboons because of their distinctive chest markings) that are the real draw.

Close encounter: You’ll get near enough to get a good look at their long fur and huge incisors.

Fitness factor: Daily distances up to 13 miles, often at high altitude.

Best time to go: Between October and February.

Book it: A 15-day trip costs from £2,649, excluding flights; responsibletravel.com 

Rhinos in Nepal 

A sunrise walk through Nepal’s Chitwan National Park will give you a good chance of seeing a rhino

A sunrise walk through Nepal’s Chitwan National Park will give you a good chance of seeing a rhino 

Wildlife wow: Only 2,000 Indian rhinos remain in the wild. A sunrise walk through Nepal’s Chitwan National Park will give you a good chance of seeing one.

Close encounter: Most likely at a distance.

Fitness factor: A fair level of fitness is required.

Best time to go: October to May.

Book it: A three-day trip costs from £235, excluding international flights; rickshawtravel.com

Lemurs in Madagascar

Something special: Listen out for the ghostly wail of the indri lemur, pictured above, in the forests of Madagascar

Something special: Listen out for the ghostly wail of the indri lemur, pictured above, in the forests of Madagascar 

Wildlife wow: The majority of wildlife experiences are on foot – bringing you into close contact with the island’s wildlife. Day and night walks through the forests allow you to follow long-limbed lemurs and listen out for the ghostly wail of the indri lemur.

Close encounter: You’re likely to get to within several feet.

Fitness factor: You set the pace – the wildlife is accessible.

Best time to go: Between April and November.

Book it: A 14-day trip costs from £5,795, including flights, meals and accommodation; rainbowtours.co.uk 


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