10 of the best new wildlife trips for 2024

Whether seeking out snow leopards or birds-of-paradise, there’s an extraordinary wildlife experience for every nature-loving traveller…

Team Wanderlust
23 April 2024

Embark on an alternative safari in Australia

Quokkas are often called the ‘world’s happiest animal’ (Shutterstock)

Thought safaris were just for Africa? Think again. Audley Travel has designed an itinerary for travellers wanting to seek out South Australia and Western Australia’s unique wildlife. On this tailor-made trip you’ll get to visit Kangaroo Island to hang out with its wallaby and sea lion populations, and also discover a colony of 20,000 fur seals in Flinders Chase National Park – also located on the island. You’ll then head to Rottnest Island to swoon over its adorable smiling quokkas, before diving into a world of rich and dazzling marine life at Ningaloo Reef, known for its whale sharks, manta rays, turtles and humpback whales. So if you want to experience a different kind of ‘Big Five’ this year, an Australian safari is for you.

More information: Tailor-made; 20-days from £10,755pp (based on two travelling) including flights, transfers, fully insured rental car and excursions. audleytravel.com.

Spot The Gambia’s exotic birds with Megan McCubbin

TV presenter Megan McCubbin will be guiding your trip in The Gambia (Megan McCubbin/The Gambia Experience)

This tiny West African country is one of the continent’s most underrated wildlife destinations, with more than 600 species of bird having been recorded here. It’s also both easy to get to and affordable. On a new Birding Trip with The Gambia Experience, you can join TV presenter and photographer Megan McCubbin, who has been visiting this country with her stepfather, Chris Packham, since she was a child. She’ll be guiding three- and four-night trips alongside Wanderlust World Guide Award 2023 winner Malick Suso. Given Malick won the Wildlife & Safari category and knows a host of unique birding locations, it’s a great opportunity to glimpse a side of The Gambia that few bother see.

More information: Dates and prices are to be confirmed soon. Booking now for 2025. gambia.co.uk.

Seek out Mongolia’s snow leopards

Head into Mongolia’s Altai Mountains to seek out snow leopards (Shutterstock)

This trip of a lifetime from Wildlife Worldwide will introduce to you some of the most flamboyant and charismatic birds on the planet. Led by naturalist and BBC presenter Mike Dilger, you’ll journey to Papua New Guinea to eye up its incredible birds of paradise, as well as its fascinating endemic species. Orientation will take place in Port Moresby before exploring more remote areas in search for greater and 12-wired birds of paradise and (fingers crossed) the flamed bowerbird. The trip then takes you to Mount Hagen – not only known for the King-of-Saxony and blue birds of paradise, but also for experiencing the island’s tribal culture – before moving onto Bismarck Archipelago for a spot of low-forest birdwatching and snorkelling in tropical waters.

More information: Departing 14 July; 15 days from £12,995 (including flights from UK). wildlifeworldwide.com

Search for Papua New Guinea’s birds-of-paradise

Papua New Guinea’s exotic birds include the Victoria-crowned pigeon (Shutterstock)

Venture into Mongolia’s wilderness with NatureTrek to seek out one of the country’s most elusive animal, the snow leopard, as well as other incredible wild mammals and birds. You’ll first fly into Ulaanbaatar before heading into the Altai Mountains, where you’ll reside in the foothills for seven nights at a new community ger camp. It’s in this remote area that a population of just 40 snow leopards reside, yet the team have had a 100% success rate in sighting. Other potential sightings include the lovable Pallas’s cat, as well as saiga antelope and goitered gazelles in the steppes. Before heading home, you’ll have three nights in Hustai National Park, home to the wild Przewalski’s horse and grey wolves. This popular trip has limited availability, but there’s also departure dates for 2025 available to book.

More information: Departing 31 July; 14 nights from £6,995 (including flights). naturetrek.co.uk

Enjoy wild luxury in Botswana’s Okavango Delta

Spot lions in Botswana’s Okavango Delta (Shutterstock)

The Okavango Delta is high on the must-see list of most wildlife lovers, and a trio of new camps being offered by Audley Travel can now be combined on a tailor-made trip for a unique safari. Opening in May, Tawana in the Moremi Game Reserve combines luxurious suites and safari experiences in an area known for its high populations of antelope, lion and leopard. Also in the reserve is African Bush Camps’ Atzaro Okavango, which offers a dose of sustainable luxury as guests get to stay in solar-powered suites with their own plunge pools on a private concession. Lastly, Great Plains’ Sitatunga Private Island Camp recently opened, having been designed to make the most of its waterside setting on an island reserve in the delta.

More information: Tailor-made; 12 days with the option to stay at each new camp from £10,500pp (including international flights). audleytravel.com.

Call for moose with a Swedish Sami

Join a local ‘moose whisperer’ as he calls out to the ‘king of the forest’ (Windows on the Wild)

This thrilling four-hour experience comes as an added extra on Windows on the Wild’s trip to the unique Arctic Bath hotel in Sweden. You’ll join Micke Suorra – also known as the ‘moose whisperer’ and a local Sami guide – to learn about the art of moose calling and moose behaviour, before heading deeper into rural Swedish Lapland to seek out the ‘king of the forest’. After climbing a hunting tower Suorra will begin his unique call to the moose, but might also end up attracting some other large furry friends in the shape of bears (make sure to bring along binoculars for a closer inspection). At the end of the day, you’ll return to the comfort of your cosy elevated cabin, either floating or frozen on the water of the Lule River.

More information: 4 nights from £840pp (excluding flights), Moose calling activity an additional £180pp and only available in September and October. windowsonthewild.com

Spot seals and seabirds in the wild British Isles

The Farne Islands are home to a large colony of grey seals (Shutterstock)

This small group trip with Wilderness England embraces the wild coastlines of Northumberland and the south of Scotland. Beginning with bird and butterfly watching at Hauxley Wildlife Discovery Centre, you’ll then travel to the protected Farne Islands where you’ll be met by a large colony of grey seals, as well as witnessing plenty of seabird action – famously puffins and guillemots. More highlights of Northumberland include spotting terns at Long Fanny and waterfowl at Lindisfarne. Crossing the border to Scotland, you’ll hop on a boat to Bass Rock where you should prepare to be dazzled by a spectacle of 150,000 northern gannets, then continue on to the birthplace of the conservationist John Muir. And this is just a taster: there’s plenty more island hopping, puffin spotting and reserve rambling to be had.

More information: 11 May or 16 June; 6 nights from £2,295pp for two people. wildernessengland.com

Immerse yourself in wild Borneo

Learn the importance of sun bear conservation in Borneo (Intrepid Travel)

Specifically for 18-29 year olds, Intrepid’s Real Borneo experience immerses you in a wildlife-rich but little-visited region of Sabah. It’s truly a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of jungle hikes, river cruises and sea snorkelling activities to keep you busy. Each action-packed day will introduce you to an array of Borneo’s incredible wildlife, from spotting pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, to swimming alongside sea turtles around Pandan Pandan Island. You’ll also visit conservation and rehabilitation centres for sun bears and orangutans, learning the vital work they do to rescue, nurture, and reintroduce these extraordinary mammals into their natural environment. What’s more, you’ll also get to mingle with locals and gain an understanding of the important Indigenous cultures of the region.

More information: Various dates; 10 days from £899pp (excluding flights) on a multi-share room basis. intrepidtravel.com

Experience South Africa’s flourishing savannah

Track cheetahs in Samara Game Reserve (Etienne Oosthuizen/Journeys with Purpose)

Following decades of destruction due to agriculture and political turmoil, mother-and-daughter team Sarah and Isabelle Tompkins are working to breathe life back into 67,000 acres of South Africa’s Great Karoo. Since 1997, the private game reserve has introduced the first wild cheetahs, elephants and lions to the region in more than 100 years. On this Journeys With Purpose itinerary, you’ll get to shadow the Tompkins as they continue to regenerate the land. You’ll also join an expert conservationist in the next steps of the reserve’s rewilding process – sensitively introducing female black rhinos into a community of males. There’s also game drives, bush walks, cheetah tracking and fireside chats including in the itinerary.

More information: 2 November; 6 nights from $12,545 (excluding flights) based on two sharing full board and including 20% donation to black rhino reintroduction project. journeyswithpurpose.org

Discover whales and puffins in Newfoundland

A large population of humpback whales can be found off the coastline of Newfoundland (Alamy)

Most visitors to Canada think of the westerly provinces as the gateways to Canada’ extraordinary wildlife, but the truth is, the Atlantic coastline also offers plenty of exhilarating encounters. The Newfoundland Adventure with Discover the World will take you out on wildlife boat tours to seek out the large population of humpback whales that gather here, as well as the region’s fantastic and vast array of birdlife, from large colonies of puffins and gannets to soaring bald eagles. Back on dry land, you’ll also likely bump into moose and caribou among lots of other native flora and fauna. Don’t be alarmed if you spot icebergs drifting off the shoreline: this area is known for this fascinating natural spectacle during the late spring and early summer. Activities you’ll take part in range from sea kayaking and reserve hiking, but you’ll have the opportunity to explore the cultural side of Newfoundland too through its lighthouses, museums and colourful city of St Johns.

More information: June and July; 7 nights from £2,529pp (excluding flights). discover-the-world.com

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