How can ordinary folk like you and me encourage conservation in countries around the world? We could petition governments, launch campaigns, boycott products—the ideas are endless but it can be tough to assess if these methods really work.
Fortunately, there’s a far simpler (and substantially more enjoyable) approach: sustainable tourism. Nothing speaks louder than visiting breathtaking places and paying to see wildlife. If you choose well-managed reserves, then a large portion of the income flows back to local communities directly supporting the wildlife you came to see.
For starters, here’s a few places on our wildlife tour bucket list.
Encounter Gorillas in Uganda
When a wildlife reserve is called the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, you know it’s going to be good. The very fact that it is in such rugged and challenging terrain is probably why gorillas have managed to cling on here while disappearing from much of the rest of their range.
A wildlife tour in search of gorillas is a great choice for environment-conscious tourists. These trips are carefully managed with a large portion of the income flowing back to the park and local area; great for conservation and an incredible experience!
Inspired Escapes offer a great itinerary to show you the best of Uganda.
Beneath the Waves in Monterey, California
Wildlife spectacles aren’t always in remote corners of the world. Slip below the waves in Northern California and you’re likely to encounter everything from seals to sea lions, and sea otters to whales. Kayaking, scuba diving and whale watching tours are all available, and if any elusive species escape you, then there’s always the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium for a closer look.
Catherine Capon offers a great dose of inspiration with all the information you need to organise a trip of your own.
Polar Bears in Churchill, Canada
Polar bears are not an animal to mess with, and there’s a risk they could become habituated to humans if tourism takes off. That’s why choosing a reputable organisation to give you a glimpse of the king of the Arctic is essential—and it’s worth it too to drive home just how fragile this pristine and breathtaking ecosystem really is.
Churchill, Manitoba is an excellent base from which to see bears, the local website is packed with options and guides.
Manu Biosphere Reserve, Peru
Protecting one of the most biodiverse regions on earth, Manu is a park nestled between the foothills of the mighty Himalaya and the vast Amazon rainforest. While largely inaccessible, CREES have been working to protect and preserve the forest here for over a decade, and offer small unique tours covering everything from birds to primates and even rainforest cooking.
Find out all about CREES Tours.
Landrover Safari, Botswana
There are few experiences more liberating than being at the wheel of a fully kitted out Land Rover and having the vast Kalahari or Okavango Delta stretched out before you. Much quieter than neighbouring South Africa or Namibia, Botswana rewards those with time to spend immersing themselves in the wildlife and terrain. Watch out for Elephants and wild dogs, Botswana is a real hotspot for both.
Whichever you choose, the only trips you’ll regret are the ones you didn’t take. Go!