Five Unique Adventures for Wildlife Enthusiasts

These conservation-centric expeditions promise unforgettable encounters with animals.

An orca in the icy waters of the Norwegian Arctic. (Photo: Nalu Photo/iStock)

Swim with Orcas

Come November, orcas congregate in the frigid waters off northern Norway to feed on seasonal shoals of herring. Those looking for an immersive experience with these remarkable creatures can join one of Natural World Safaris’ ship-based Swim with Killer Whales trips, which begin and end in Tromsø (350 kilometers above the Arctic Circle) with six nights at sea in between. Your base is the Kinfish, a former research vessel that now carries a maximum of 12 passengers to where orcas and even humpback whales are most likely to be encountered (departs Nov. 4, 11, and 18; naturalworldsafaris.com; from US$7,860 per person).

 

Gray wolves spotted at Churchill Wild’s Nanuk Polar Bear Lodge on the southern shores of Hudson Bay. (Photo: Jad Davenport/Courtesy of Churchill Wild)

Get Wild with Wolves

The remote Canadian town of Churchill, Manitoba, may be known as the polar bear capital of the world, but local outfitter Churchill Wild’s latest itinerary is focused on a more elusive predator. Ideal for the citizen scientist, the 10-day Cloud Wolves of the Kaska Coast safari brings guests to the company’s secluded lodge on the shores of Hudson Bay for daily excursions to observe and conduct field research on the resident packs of southern gray wolves. Other highlights include Northern Lights gazing and tips from National Geographic photographer Jad Davenport (available November and March; churchhillwild.com; from about US$15,900 per person).

 

Photo courtesy of andBeyond

Hit the Tiger Trail in India

A limited-edition itinerary that marks 50 years of tiger conservation in India, andBeyond’s A Project Tiger Expedition will see guests spend most of their 15- night trip in the national parks of Kanha, Ranthambhore, and Kaziranga, which are all part of the 51-strong network of reserves managed by the Indian government’s Project Tiger program. Groups are limited to eight people and will be guided by award-winning naturalist, wildlife photographer, and safari operator Aditya Panda, who has spent years tracking and observing the subcontinent’s great diversity of fauna (departs Dec. 1 and Jan. 16, 2023; andbeyond.com; from US$10,712 per person).

 

Photo courtesy of Natural Habitat Adventures

Bear All in Alaska

Partnered with the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Habitat Adventures’ mission of “conservation through exploration” is epitomized by its Alaska Bear Camp experience. The five-day, low-impact adventure begins with a private bush-plane flight from the Alaskan fishing town of Homer to NatHab’s tented camp in the wilderness of Lake Clark National Park. There, up to 14 guests will be able to observe brown bears—which can weigh in at more than 500 kilograms—foraging in the surrounding meadows or feasting on salmon, with treks deeper into the park led by seasoned bear naturalists (various departures June through August; nathab.com; from US$4,895 per person).

 

Photo: Claudio Vidal/Courtesy of Swoop Patagonia

Track Pumas in Patagonia

The Laguna Amarga region of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park is home to one of the largest populations of wild pumas in South America. Focused solely on spotting the big cats, Swoop Patagonia’s six-day Pumas of Torres del Paine excursion includes expert trackers, day and night searches, and the comforts of a local lodge for groups of between three and six people (various departures; swoop-patagonia.com; from US$4,298 per person).

 

This article originally appeared in the June/August 2022 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Where the Wild Things Are”).

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