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Wild About Nature - 4 Places To See Wildlife Up Close

Published: May 18, 2012

Come face to face with some of nature’s most incredible inhabitants in the most intimate and the most spectacular settings on earth.

Serengeti Animal Migration The greatest show on earth is not the circus but the annual migration of more than a million wildebeest, 500,000 Thompson gazelles and 200,000 zebra across Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains to Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve. See, feel and hear this annual migration spectacle – the animals’ incessant pounding across the plains reverberates for hundreds of kilometres. The sheer mass of animals brings out predators in droves. This is no Lion King production. It’s real and it’s raw. Crocodiles lie in wait in the rivers while hungry lions and hyenas track the herds across the plain. This is nature’s fury and beauty at its most spectacular.

SerengetiCredit: Shutterstock/EastVillage Images

Great Barrier Reef You don’t need to be an expert diver to experience the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest reef system is accessible to all. Swim, surf, sail or snorkel to see 400 types of protected coral, 1,500 species of tropical fish and 200 types of birds. Appreciate its fragile beauty from the air in a helicopter, seaplane or hot air balloon. Board a cruise and look for humpback whales; the warm waters are one of their prime breeding grounds. Stretching 3,000 kilometres along the Queensland coast you can experience the Great Barrier Reef from the comfy confines of a 5-star resort or sleep under the stars camping on a beach.

Great Barrier ReefCredit: Tourism Australia

Patera Elephant FarmCredit: Patera Elephant FarmElephant Rescue Camp Check the poop. That’s important at an elephant rescue camp in Thailand, where the focus is on the learning and not the photo op. You’ll sweat, smell, get dirty and wet here – and love every minute of it. After introductions at this day-long bonding exercise, you’ll conduct a medical check-up of your new friend: analyze her poop (did we mention that’s important?), check her ears and feet. Feed her clumps of bananas. Brush off dirt and pesky bugs and wash her in a creek. Head out on a jungle trek. It’s animal care and bonding as it should be.

Galápagos Islands Your arrival on the Galápagos Islands will go largely unheralded. Step off the boat and you are greeted by a colony of marine iguanas and sea lions who ignore you as they go about their business. There is no fear of man in this protected archipelago of volcanic islands where close proximity and observance rule. Sea lions may rub against your belly while you swim in the open sea. Blue-footed boobies, sea turtles, giant tortoises and penguins attract your camera’s lens. No zoom required though – the inhabitants are only inches away. The animal kingdom whether in the air, on land or in the sea, doesn’t get any closer or better than in the Galápagos Islands.

GalapagosCredit: Shutterstock/Eskymaks

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