From the shores of the Galápagos to the jungles of Uganda and beyond, these six wildlife encounters are just a few samples from the recently launched Jane Goodall Collection by G Adventures. These experiences were selected to bring you into close, larger-than-life proximity with the world’s animals, while at the same time, respecting their freedom.
Some might be new to you, while others may be indisputably iconic. But one thing’s for sure, these highlights are essential for any traveller who seeks to understand the world and its natural phenomena through first-hand experience, rather than through the windows of a bus. So, let's get off the beaten track with wildlife experiences that are sure to delight and surprise, and introduce you to the world in ways you’ve never imagined. Ready? Let’s go!
1. Madagascar’s lemurs
Madagascar is, above all, a nature destination. Cut off from the African mainland 165m years ago, the island evolved in isolation, leading to many unique and endemic species. The hands-down superstars of this wildlife paradise are the endangered lemurs, of which 90 per cent of the world’s surviving population is found here. The Anja Community Reserve, a unique environmental and cultural preservation site in the south of Madagascar, is most notable for its dense population of semi-tame ring-tailed lemurs. As both a nature reserve and a growing town, Anja is an example of how humans and nature can co-exist and flourish.
Lemurs, wild landscapes, village culture, beaches – Madagascar might be an island but there’s nothing small about it. See it for yourself on a 14-day Highlights of Madagascar tour.
2. Rwanda and Uganda’s gorillas
Covering an area of 8,000km² (3,000 mi²), the Virunga Mountains straddle the borders of Rwanda, Uganda, and the DRC — a region that’s become synonymous with mountain gorillas. By the late 1970s, however, habitat loss led to a massive reduction in their numbers, which have only begun to recover over the past two decades. Gorilla trekking safaris have been fundamental to this shift, as income generated from these tours provides funds for managing and ensuring the protection of gorillas and their habitat. Trek deep into Volcanoes National Park to observe gorillas in the wild. Deepen your understanding of Africa’s primates and you’ll deepen your understanding of humanity.
There’s a wealth of adventure to be had in both Uganda and Rwanda, especially now that travellers are beginning to rediscover this region — explore it all on a 10-day Culture & Wildlife of Uganda & Rwanda tour.
3. Ngorongoro’s Big 5
The largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world, Tanzania’s Ngorongoro is a deep, volcanic crater about 20km across, 600m deep, and 300 km² in area (that’s 12 m across, 1,968 ft deep, and 115 mi²). It offers an unparalleled concentration of wildlife — the highest density of predators found anywhere in Africa — earning it a UNESCO World Heritage site designation in 1979. Ngorongoro is home to more than 25,000 large animals, among them black rhinoceros, elephants, wildebeests, and zebras. With high concentrations of wildlife offering close-range viewing, there is no better place on earth to spot Africa’s Big 5 – the African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and rhinoceros.
Inhale the fragrant perfume of Zanzibar’s spice plantations and hunt for the perfect snapshot of the ever-elusive Big 5 on the 20-day Victoria Falls & Serengeti Adventure.
4. Costa Rica’s Tortuguero and its turtles
Head straight into the core of Costa Rica and explore the freshwater channels and dense jungles of Tortuguero National Park — home to sloths, monkeys river otters, caiman, and endangered manatees. What’s more, Tortuguero’s beaches play host to the Caribbean’s most important breeding ground for endangered green sea turtles. During nesting season (April to October) you can join a registered guide to observe giant sea turtles laying their eggs on the beach outside the pueblo. An eco-tourist's dream, Tortuguero has become synonymous with all an unspoiled tropical paradise can be. Rarely does reality measure up to hype, but this national park certainly comes close.
Glide straight into the core of the Costa Rican experience and hit two of Costa Rica’s hot spots in a kayak on the nine-day Costa Rica Kayaking Adventure.
5. Monkeying around in Borneo’s Kinabatangan
Comprised mostly of impenetrable jungle, the world's third-largest island is shared by Indonesia, Malaysia, and the tiny, wealthy Sultanate of Brunei. Home to critically endangered rhino, elephant, leopards, and orangutans — to name but a few — Borneo's wildlife is its top draw. One of the best places to catch it is the Kinabatangan River, where you’ll find a concentration of orangutans, Bornean gibbons, long- and short-tailed macaque tarsiers, and proboscis monkeys. Afterward, get up close and personal with these famous primates at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in nearby Sepilok. The centre attracts tourists and researchers alike, where a boardwalk leads to a viewing gallery and feeding platform and allows fantastic views of the animals in their natural habitat.
Get up close and personal with the orangutans at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (selfie time!) on the 14-day Experience Borneo tour.
6. Galápagos's giant tortoises
Situated 965km (600 mi) off the coast of Ecuador, this isolated haven of biodiversity remains nature’s greatest science laboratory, home to a dazzling array of birds, reptiles, fish, and mammals that you won’t find anywhere else — including the archipelago’s giant tortoises. Once numbering in the hundreds of thousands, centuries of exploitation and the introduction of invasive species like rats meant the giant reptiles had dwindled to just 3,000 by the 1970s. Since then, however, captive breeding programs, of which the one at the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz is perhaps the best known, have resulted in major successes in the recovery of giant tortoise populations throughout the archipelago. Still, the highlands of Santa Cruz are one of the best places to see giant tortoises in the wild.
The Galápagos Islands are a hotbed of exotic wildlife and picturesque landscapes, and there’s no better way to view it all than from a comfortable ship. Experience it for yourself on a Galápagos adventure.
Ready to go face-to-face with the world’s most interesting wildlife? The Jane Goodall Collection is a selection of 20 of G Adventures’ most incredible, wildlife-focused tours endorsed by world renowned primatologist Dr Jane Goodall. These trips have been designed to bring you into close proximity with the world’s animals, while at the same time, respecting their freedom. Interested? The Jane Goodall Collection will introduce you to the world in ways you’ve never imagined — click here to explore trips.