Wildlife-centered vacations create special memories, best shared with the people you love. Some may be restricted age-wise until your kids are teens, but others are great for kids of all ages. Whether you want to search for the Big 5 in South Africa or get up close with the emperor penguins in Antarctica, you’ll find tons of wildlife excursions the whole family can enjoy.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best wildlife-inspired family adventures you and your kids will love.
1. Big 5 Safari in South Africa
South Africa has long been renowned for being one of the world’s top destinations for a safari adventure, especially for those who want to see the Big Five. The country boasts an incredible diversity of landscapes, from jungle swamps to semi-deserts home to a wealth of wildlife species. On your family safari to South Africa, your kids will be in awe of seeing lions hunt, rhinos bathing in the mud, and elephants trumpet.
Kruger National Park is undoubtedly the best destination for a Big 5 Safari in South Africa. It’s one of the country’s best safari parks, and its surrounding private reserves are home to some of Africa’s most iconic mammals, including the endangered African wild dog. Kruger attracts thousands of visitors yearly and has a highly developed tourist infrastructure, making it an ideal option for families with kids.
The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is another popular destination for a safari in South Africa. It’s a massive 65,000-hectare reserve home to abundant wildlife, including the Big 5. Compared to Kruger, Sabi Sands has fantastic birdlife, so it’s best suited for avid birders.
2. Cruising the Galapagos Islands
Located almost 600 miles from Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are some of the most isolated places on Earth. They are home to a whopping 9,000 species of flora and fauna. The archipelago consists of 19 different islands, and the best way to explore them is on a luxury cruise.
Cruising the Galapagos Islands with your family is an incredible experience, where you could come eye to eye with giant tortoises, marine iguanas, comical birds, and quirky sea lions as your boat travels from one island to the next. You will follow in the footsteps of Charles Darwin, exploring the archipelago through the eyes of certified and knowledgeable naturalists.
During the day, take part in adventurous excursions through the islands. You can hike, snorkel, or go on a kayak to discover fascinating landscapes and incredible wildlife species. Every night, you and your kids will come home to your luxurious cabin, equipped with everything you need, from comfy beds to ensuite bathrooms. Enjoy delicious meals and drinks onboard throughout the journey, allowing for an even more enjoyable adventure.
Some islands you’ll visit on your Galapagos cruise include the island of Isabela, Santa Cruz, San Cristobal, Bartolome, and Floreana.
3. Tigers in India
While it’s sad that there are now more Bengal tigers in captivity than in the wild, India is still the best place to see these wild animals in their natural habitat. So, if you want to see tigers on your next adventure with the family, you should visit one of India’s national parks and tiger reserves.
Bandhavgarh National Park offers the best tiger sightings in India. It’s in the state of Madhya Pradesh in the Central Northern region of the country. Aside from seeing tigers, visitors can explore the ruins of the Bandhavgarh Fort, dominating the park at a height of 800 metres. Since Bandhavgarh National Park has the highest tiger density in India and is among the smallest national parks, the possibility of seeing tigers here is high.
Ranthambore National Park is another fantastic location for a safari adventure in India. Aside from offering the best places for seeing tigers in the wild, visitors will enjoy exploring the park’s varied landscapes of dry forest, steep rocky hills, and scenic locations. Ranthambore National Park is in the state of Rajasthan, about 180 kilometres from the famous tourist destination of Jaipur.
4. Gorilla Trekking in Rwanda
Families with teens and older kids should consider a gorilla trekking adventure in Rwanda. Often described as a rewarding and life-changing experience, trekking the jungles of Rwanda in search of gorillas will make your family adventure unforgettable.
The trek will take place on the bamboo-clad slopes of Volcanoes National Park, home to mountain gorillas. About a dozen gorilla families inhabit the park and are used to the presence of humans. To ensure your safety, you will trek with gorillas in Rwanda with an expert guide, leading you through lush jungles to witness the gentle giants in their natural habitat and spend an hour with them.
The chances of not seeing the gorillas on your trek are small. You will leave early morning and gather at the park’s headquarters for your briefing. They will group you according to your physical abilities and assign a guide for each group.
It’s important to dress appropriately for the trek, such as wearing long-sleeved shirts, gloves, and long trousers to protect your arms, hands, and legs from scratches as you hold on to the branches.
5. See the Emperor Penguins in Antarctica
Penguins are some of the cutest species on the planet, and seeing them up close, with the stunning backdrop of the icy landscapes of the Antarctic, is such an incredible experience. Visitors to the remote continent are often in awe upon seeing giant penguins, about four feet tall, weighing as much as a hundred pounds!
The safest and most eco-friendly way to see penguins in their natural habitat in Antarctica is to book a polar expedition with expert naturalists who follow strict guidelines on wildlife viewing. You will now find plenty of travel companies that can organize your visit to the continent, which includes taking a cruise.
The best time to see penguins in Antarctica is between October and March, coinciding with the southern hemisphere’s late spring and early fall seasons. From December to February, you can look forward to seeing penguin chicks hatching as the melting snow exposes the Antarctic’s rocky headlands.
The Best Wildlife Inspired Family Adventures
We share this planet with some amazing creatures, and there’s no better way to remind ourselves of that fact while creating special memories with our loved ones than by going on one of these wildlife inspired family adventures. Whether it’s spotting the Big 5 in South Africa, cruising the Galapagos Islands, seeing rare Bengal tigers in India, Gorilla trekking in Rwanda, or visiting penguins in Antarctica, a wildlife family adventure is sure to be an incredible time for everyone!