Appears in RESIDE Magazine.
Rare is the global traveler’s bucket list that doesn’t include a safari. And while many nature lovers associate world-class wildlife viewing with Africa, a growing number of international operators and destination resorts offer compelling alternatives. Here’s a look at notable options around the globe.
Australia’s Northern Territory lures adventurous types with untouched nature and close, respectful access to aboriginal culture. A pair of environmentally friendly safari operators provide a range of wildlife-viewing experiences in the northern, tropical Top End region.
Davidson’s Arnhemland Safaris focuses on Mount Borradaile, an aboriginal sacred site owned and managed by its custodians, the Amurdak people. Options include bird-watching expeditions and a wetlands cruise with crocodile spotting. Guests can also spend the night in an eco-lodge or cabin located in a natural bush setting.
Bamurru Plains is an eco-friendly, luxury safari lodge with exclusive access to 74,000 acres of floodplains and savanna woodland around the Mary River, on the edge of Kakadu National Park.Ten bungalows overlook the floodplains and feature mesh walls, providing close access to ever-present wildlife.
Taj Hotels—India’s most iconic luxury hotel brand—maintains four safari lodges, each offering twice-daily safaris and unique, culturally minded guest experiences. Each is dedicated to conservation and eco-friendly behavior.
Mahua Kothi offers a variety of nature-spotting experiences. Animal lovers hop into open 4×4 vehicles to cruise around looking for Bandhavgarh National Park’s famous Royal Bengal tigers, white tigers, and leopards.
Baghvan attracts travelers drawn to Pench National Park, which inspired Rudyard Kipling’s iconic The Jungle Book. Guests explore Pench’s teak-filled jungles in search of tigers and other elusive creatures.
Tucked into a rocky outcrop near Panna National Park, Pashan Garh offers views of the Vindhya Hills and 200 acres of private jungle. When not relaxing in the dozen well-appointed cottages, safari-goers enjoy sightings of tigers, crocodiles, and wildly colorful birds. Cultural-minded travelers take a break from nature to visit the Khajuraho group of Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain temples, one of India’s most fascinating Unesco World Heritage sites.
Banjaar Tola overlooks Kanha National Park and offers an opulent glamping experience in one of 18 tented suites. Kanha is one of the largest and best-maintained of India’s national parks, as well as one of the first Indian tiger reserves aimed at protecting the fierce felines and their ecosystems.
Intrepid Travel, the world’s largest adventure-travel company, offers a 12-day Sabah Adventure, which packs in the many natural wonders found in Sabah, a Malaysian state located on the northern portion of Borneo. Besides visiting some of the region’s hot springs and tribal villages, participants catch glimpses of rainforest wildlife, such as tigers, elephants, and orangutans. Also included is a visit to Turtle Island Marine Park, where sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs every night.
Intrepid’s Spitsbergen Explorer thrills adventurers who jump at the chance to visit arctic Spitsbergen, the largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. Beyond exploring windswept polar deserts, cliff-lined shores, and imposing fjords via hiking, snowshoeing, or kayaking, participants keep an eye out for polar bears hunting along the ice sheets, plus walruses, reindeer, Arctic foxes, and vast colonies of rare seabirds.
Towering above the Maasai Mara—arguably the most famous safari destination in Africa—Angama Mara contains two separate camps, each with 15 tented suites, on the edge of a scenic escarpment, where some of the most famous scenes from the 1985 film Out of Africa were shot. Suites feature 30-foot-wide, floor-to-ceiling windows, and guests can use binoculars to view elephants and water buffalo. And guests rest easy knowing that part of their payment goes toward conservation.