If you could plan the perfect family holiday, what would it be? Would you and your kids want adventure, unique experiences, and the chance to encounter wildlife in its own habitat? If this sounds like just the thing for your family, a wildlife holiday could be what you’re looking for.
Here are some of the best family wildlife holidays around, all of them great adventures.
1). Araucaria Australian Wildlife Tour, Araucaria Ecotours, Southeast Queensland, Australia
Photo credit: Araucaria Ecotours, Australian Wildlife Overview Tour
This 3 day tour with Araucaria Ecotours takes in a huge variety of Australia’s unique habitats and wildlife. Children will have plenty to keep them occupied as they keep a look out for well- known favourites such as eastern great kangaroos, whiptail wallabies, koalas, platypus and kookaburras. There are few countries which have such diverse ecosystems and you will visit rainforest, beaches, eucalypt forest, wetlands and beaches, all of which adds up to the greatest of family wildlife holidays. The tour also includes a visit to a wildlife park where you are more likely to see endangered species such as bilbies and nail-tail wallabies. The focus of this tour is not to tick your sightings off on a list, but to understand the ecology and behaviour of the wildlife. If your family enjoys learning together or you want to light a spark of interest in the natural world, this is a good place to start.
2). Bushies Feathers, Fur & Forests, Pepper Bush Adventures, Northeast Tasmania Wildlife Holiday
Photo credit: Janine Williams, Pepper Bush Adventures, Wombat
Tasmania’s rich natural habitats make it a perfect environment for wildlife holidays with children. This 4 day tour with Pepper Bush Adventures takes in a spectacular landscape of mountains and lakes along with the fascinating wildlife that makes its home there. You’ll see species such as Bennett’s wallabies, eastern grey kangaroos and wombats. The tour will take you to a wildlife park where you can get up close with a wombat and even see a Tasmanian devil being fed. Kids will be particularly charmed by the camp fire dining offered on this tour; even the meals will be an adventure.
3). Tambopata Birding & Nature Tour, Green Tours, Tambopata National Reserve, Peru
Photo credit: Green Tours, Tombopata Birding & Nature Tour
The Amazonian rainforest is one of the most exciting places in the world to experience a wildlife holiday, and this 9 day Tamboptata Birding & Nature Tour with Green Tours in Peru certainly packs a lot in. With the multitudes of different species found there, the lakes, rivers and forests of the Amazon are full of interest for both kids and adults. You’ll see lots of butterflies, birds and monkeys and you might be lucky enough to spot giant river otters, caimans, anacondas, tapirs or even a rare harpy eagle. The tour includes a visit to Peru’s largest macaw clay lick, a truly spectacular sight that will not be forgotten. For your very own family jungle adventure holiday, this tour ticks all the boxes. Read More: Birds of Peru: a gift to the world
4). Borneo Orangutan and Turtle Tour, Borneo Eco Tours, Sabah, Malaysia
Photo credit: Robert Christian, Borneo Eco Tours, Orangutan
This 2 day Orangutan and Turtle Tour is not only a unique opportunity to see some of the world’s most endangered species, but it’s also an eco-friendly trip. There is so much for children to learn on this tour, as well as carrying away memories that will last a lifetime. The highlight of the trip is the chance to watch sea turtles laying their eggs by night, the transfer to a hatchery and then the joy of releasing the babies back into the wild – a fantastic opportunity to see conservation in action. The conservation theme continues with visits to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Borneon Sun Bear Centre, where you can watch these rare and beautiful creatures and see what is being done to support their species. Read More: The Best Wildlife Holidays: A Month-by-month Guide
The Effects of Palm Oil
Wide-ranging deforestation for palm oil plantations has considerably reduced the habitat of orangutans and is now listed as endangered. So ensuring that responsible tourism contributes to their protection is more important than ever. This 2 day Orangutan and Turtle Tour in Sabah includes a visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, which provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans, and then releases back into the wild when possible.
Part of Borneo Eco Tours profit goes to BEST Society (Borneo Ecotourism Solutions and Technologies Society), a community, social and environmental non-profit division. BEST Society actively implements community projects such as tree planting, medical camps, capacity building and community-based ecotourism, thanks to guests who contribute directly for these efforts.
5). Cape Peninsula to Kruger Wildlife Safari Tour, Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris, South Africa
Photo credit: Leon Marais, Lawson’s Birding, Wildlife and Custom Safaris
Penguins, whales and big game, all in the same tour? It may sound unlikely, but this set departure 11 day tour of two starkly different regions of South Africa provides great diversity for your family to enjoy. The Cape, hemmed in by mountains on one side and ocean on the other, is a unique habitat which supports an abundance of birds and flowers as well as penguin colonies, southern right whales and great white sharks. Moving on to the Greater Kruger National Park, you’ll also have the chance to see iconic African big game animals such as zebras, giraffes, hippos and elephants roaming freely by day and the option of an exciting night drive to see nocturnal species. This is a once in a lifetime chance to see some of the world’s larger animals in their natural habitat. Enjoy encounters with some of Africa’s big cat species and watch out for the ostrich – the world’s largest bird. Read More: The joys of a family experience in the wild
6). Swimming with Dolphins, Dolphin Encounter, Kaikoura, New Zealand
Photo credit: Dennis Buurman, Dolphin Encounter
Swimming with dolphins is a magical experience and one that can inspire every member of the family. In the beautiful setting of the Kaikoura coast, you can actually leave the boat and swim with these amazing creatures. If some members of the family prefer to watch from onboard, that’s fine too – you’ll still get a good view of the dolphins as the boats are designed with this in mind and you can share in the experience. Dusky dolphins, Hectors’ dolphins and common dolphins all swim in the coastal waters. You might even be lucky enough to see an orca whale. This is an unforgettable experience for the family to treasure.
Why family wildlife holidays are a great idea
There are so many reasons why family wildlife holidays are a great idea. Taking the kids away from the world of screens and technology may be a jolt at first, but they’ll soon be caught up in the thrill of seeing animals in their natural surroundings. A wildlife holiday will fire their imaginations as few other activities can. You’ll find that they take in much more information than you thought possible from listening to and interacting with your guide. Well chosen lodges and camps make the whole experience enjoyable and family friendly, so you can relax and savour unique animal encounters together. Could the wildlife experience be what your holidays with children have been missing?