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my top 6 nature & wildlife holidays offering unparalleled access to the most remote regions on earth

Now family adventurers can push their physical boundaries even further … and encounter wild animals in wide open spaces. I’ve created a shortlist of  the best nature & wildlife holidays, from grizzly bears in Canada and wolves in Sweden, to gazelle in Mongolia and the king penguins of the Falklands.

I got an insider’s view from the people who put these inspiring tours together. Patrick Coyle, Sales Director for The Mighty Fine Company told me, “Lazing on a sun lounger or snoozing by a pool isn’t for everyone… combining the thrill of proximity to wildlife – real wild animals, in their own habitats – with some of the most spectacular scenery in the world has inspired us to create hearty wildlife holidays for those who have a passion for travel with a difference.” And from Edwin Blythe, Zegrahm‘s President, who told me, “as with all of our small-group land programs, we will bring travelers as close to the wildlife as possible…”

Bring it on …

wildlife holidays mongolia 1. A Wild Mongolia adventure explores the world’s largest intact prairie to search for herds of argali sheep, Siberian ibex, and Mongolian gazelle, as well as the corsac fox, Pallas’s cat, and cinereous vulture. Among the many highlights of this trip, adventurers will spend two nights on the banks of the Onon River in a private ger (yurt) camp with opportunities to river float, fly fish, ride horses, hike, and search for birds. Departures August 20 until Sept 8 2013.
2. Wildlife Watching in British Columbia promises to bring adventurers as close as possible to brown and grizzly bears in Canada. The expert guides – escorting small groups from Vancouver into the remote mountains – know best how to maximise every safe opportunity to spot bears, beavers, bald eagles and elks. This seven-night adventure includes four nights in Vancouver, allowing plenty of time for whale watching and for exploring the cosmopolitan city. With Departures from 20 May until 11 October 2013, including room only accommodation in Vancouver for four nights, floatplane transfers to Bones Bay Lodge for three nights with meals, and six to eight-hour guided wildlife tours each day in the mountains.

3. The Ultimate Namibia expedition will be led by Jonathan Rosssouw, a medical doctor turned wildlife guide. Having identified over 7,000 bird and 700 mammal species during his career, adventurers will be in good hands while seeking out zebras, wildebeest, Damara dik-dik, white and black rhinos, and over 340 species of birds. Also an accomplished photographer, Jonathan can give guidance on how to best capture Namibia’s captivating landscapes from Sossusvlei’s red dunes to Damaraland’s dramatic wilderness. Departures from September 17 until October 2 2013.

4. Tackling The Big Five in Norway is not for the faint hearted: some treks take up to ten hours… but the sense of achievement is worth the effort. Boasting some of northern Europe’s most spellbinding views across glacial valleys and mountain ranges, this seven-night hiking adventure takes you right to the edge – yes literally, the edge: the eight-hour hike to Troll’s Tongue, for example, provides unrivalled views from the 1,000 metre-high rock promontory.“The Big Five Hiking Holiday in Norway” highlights the Pulpit Rock, Kjerag Rock, Folgefonna Glacier, Troll’s Tongue and Langfoss Waterfall, all of which offer breathtaking views and postcard-perfect moments. Departures from 1 April until 28 September 2013, that take advantage of the lightest days of the Norwegian summer: in mid-June, the sun is visible for up to twenty four hours each day.

5. The Falkland Islands – named one of The New York Times’ Top 46 Places to Go in 2013 – is a birdwatcher’s dream. Thanks to the rich surrounding seas, the Falklands boast no less than six breeding species of penguins: king, gentoo, rockhopper, and on occasion macaroni, royal, and magellanic.  With such an array of flora and fauna in the Falklands, Quark Expedition‘s team of lecturers and specialists provide enriching discussions on the history and fascinating wildlife of this remote island. Quark Expeditions have six departures to the Falkland Islands during the 2013 -2014 Antarctic season. The voyages vary from 17- to 23-days and are available on three different Quark vessels, offering passengers a variety of cabin styles and prices.

wildlife holidays wolves sweden 6.  Howling with Wolves a three-night expedition in Sweden to discover some of Europe’s last remaining wild wolves in their own territory. With departures from London Stansted Airport from 27 June until 25 September 2013, this adventure takes advantage of the bright days and nights of the Swedish summer to maximise time spent outdoors, including an overnight camp, complete with campfire dinner. Marvel at nature up close without intrusion, including opportunities to encounter moose, beavers and other Scandinavian wildlife.

For more inspiration on booking wildlife holidays to destinations like these, go get lost recommends

Wildlife Travel: 500 Ways to See Animals in their Natural Habitat (Footprint – Activity Guides)

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