The wildlife takes your breath away.
I love heading out into the jungle in search of exotic wild animals. I'd love to visit these places!
In the southern Indian beach town of Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu, you'll find the 'Cow Council' meeting in fair weather just before sunset. All the town's cows meet to check in each evening and then linger for about half an hour. This phenomenon is best observed from the beach, where you have the best chance of a cow approaching to insist on a quick pet. There are a variety of rooftop terraces nearby for those who wish to watch this remarkable gathering from a distance.
On a lovely Hawaiian Sunday afternoon, my sister and I made our way up the windward side of Oahu to spend a day sightseeing, scoping out surf spots, and meeting friends at Ted's Bakery (http://tedsbakery.com). Along with our haupia pie, we also received an unexpected tip that there were turtles on the beach not far from where we were.
So we went to check out the location at Laniakea Beach and found out from one of the wildlife representatives, that the endangered green sea turtles frequent this beach on the North Shore. In fact, they have been on the beach all but five days in the last year.
Plenty of tourists and locals crowd around the roped off area protecting these big creatures while they take a break on the sand. Other turtle silhouettes could be spotted playing in the surf as it rolled toward shore.
The best time to view these tired turtles is when it rains. The crowds dissipate...
Visiting Antarctica is on many people's bucket list. I am fortunate to have traveled there to witness first hand the awesome beauty. My trip on a small expedition ship included stops in Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia Island. There were so many highlights on a this 2-3 week adventure, but none as exciting as seeing penguins at play on the giant icebergs near Point Wild. This is very near the place where Shackleton's men spent four cold and miserable months in 1916, while Shackelton sailed for help.
The trip to Antarctica in a small ship made it possible to do two zodiak raft excursions nearly every day. That is not possible if you visit Antarctica in a big cruise ship. It was from one of these zodiak trips that I was able to witness the spectacle of marching penguins on city-block sized icebergs. Truly an amazing sight to see.
If you want to see wildlife in a...
“You are very lucky!” my guide told me. “You will have the gorillas all to yourself!” He seemed pleased for me in my rare situation of being the lone tracker to see one of the habituated gorilla families in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Typically there are 8 people per outing, and they have booked their permit ages ago, battling other safari company clients to clutch one of the limited permits in their sweaty hands. But through a happy set of circumstances, it was just little ol’ me and 12 mountain gorillas quietly passing the time together in a small ravine. Suddenly a loud crack above me and the brief whooshing sound of air rushing through leaves as my guide and I looked up in time to see the tree falling as if the gorilla had precision-aimed it right at our heads. Fortunately, the gorilla misjudged the length of the tree and it stopped short of our fragile craniums. Then he...
The Inn is located within the 274,690-hectare Tambopata National Reserve, one of the world’s most species-richbiodiverse natural protected areas and the meeting point of three distinct biomes: lowland tropical rainforest, cloudforest and humid tropical savannah and extensive palm swamps. The scene of numerous biodiversity world records —including the sighting of 620 bird species around the Inn — the reserve provides unrivalled opportunities to observe Amazonian wildlife up close and personal.
Whether you are an experienced research scientist or simply want to experience tropical rainforest for the first time, the Explorer's Inn is the place for you. Visit us and wake to the roars of howler monkeys and the numerous melodies of the resident caciques that nest in the palms beside the bungalows. Spend the day walking jungle trails and paddling across oxbow lakes as tiny saddleback tamarin...
I left tropical Southeast Asia for Japan in the dead of winter for one reason - to see snow monkeys. I'd always seen pictures like the one above, of zen macaques in steaming hot springs surrounded by snow, and had no idea how accessible they were but was determined to find them. Turns out, it's just an hour bullet train to Nagano from Tokyo, and then another train to Yudanaka, a sleepy winter wonderland offering onsen galore... and the Jigokudani Snow Monkey park!
A morning encounter with these primates, the only ones other than humans known to thrive in a snowy environment, is not to be missed. While the adults soak in the springs, appearing to follow a strict code of conduct surrounding this activity - much like their local human counterparts do! - the mischievous youngsters practice acrobatics and start snowball fights.
This seldom-visited island in the Southern Philippines is a favourite of mine for swimming with whale sharks. Most places that receive regular whale shark visits become very touristy and have numerous tour operators competing to get their customers near these gentle giants. This is not the case on Leyte. There are only a few shops that offer whale shark tours there. Both times that I've gone, the boat I was on was the only one in the water, so just I and a few others jumped in the water to swim with the whale sharks.