International travel affords the adventurous tourist the opportunity not just to visit wild and rugged landscapes, but also the chance to witness diverse and rare wildlife. The options are endless, from truck safaris crossing the vast savannahs of Africa, through to independent treks through forest and mountain regions in Asia. Wherever you go and whichever method you choose just make sure you’ve got the essentials to hand: mosquito net, binoculars, note book, all the appropriate jabs and comprehensive travel insurance.
Chagos Archipelago – Marine The Chagos archipelago is home to some of the most pristine coral reefs in the world and forms a vast oceanic Environment Preservation and Protection Zone. Located 500km south of the Maldives, the reefs and islands cover an area of approximately 19,000km2 of tropical sea and remain largely unpopulated. Whilst tourism is pretty much limited to a small number of yachts, the lack of footfall is the reason behind its rich biodiversity and clean reefs which support many endemic species, including the Brain Coral and Chagos Clownfish.
Kruger National Park – Savannah Whilst you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to national parks and safari in South Africa, Kruger is still the biggest attraction. One of the largest game reserves in Africa, Kruger has been awarded UNESCO status and is one of the few places in the world where you can still see all of the big five. Alongside rhino, big cats, elephants and buffalo, the park is also home to the endangered painted hunting dog, hippo, crocs and zebra. Visitors can take their pick from a variety of safari options, including jeep, hot air balloon, horseback or walking.
Sikkim – Mountain Located in the most north-easterly region of India, boarding Bhutan, China and Nepal, the Sikkim region occupies a lush, mountainous landscape, which alongside being shadowed by the stately Himalayan range, is also home to a vast array of flora and fauna. Keen wildlife tourists will get a real treat with rare species including the illusive snow leopard, the Himalayan tahr, the red panda – endemic to the temperate forests of the Himalayas, clouded leopard, and hog badger – currently listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Borneo – Island / Rainforest The third largest island in the world, Borneo is a biodiversity hotspot accommodating a vast range of habitats, including lowland rainforest, peat swamp forests and alpine meadows. The rainforest is the one remaining habitat of the endangered Bornean Orangutan, the Asian elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Bornean clouded leopard and Dayak fruit bat. Due to extensive logging, palm oil production and forest fires the rainforest has shrank rapidly and the species it supports are increasingly under threat from habitat loss. Tourism is pretty accessible on the island with local and world authorities keen to capitalise on eco-tourism in a bid to sustain not just the economy, but also the ecology on which the island relies.