Research shows that engaging with animals even for the short term can lead to a significant increase in positive emotions, such as joy, awe, and amusement. The same study also found a substantial decrease in emotion including anxiety, fear, and stress. So, if you’re a diehard animal lover, why not seek a holiday that will allow you to get up close and personal with your furry friends in some fascinating places? 

While you may be able to watch animals in the wild from the comfort of your home, going on animal-centric holidays will let you have a real-life experience with animals and take part in activities centred around the wild. If this sounds interesting to you, then check out these luxury destinations for animal lovers. 

  1. Scotland

Scotland offers an incredible array of attractions that will allow visitors to get up close to all kinds of animals. For instance, the Willows Animal Sanctuary in Fraserburgh has been the country’s leading rescue centres for horses and other domesticated creatures for many years. Here, you will have an opportunity to bond with more than a hundred different creatures under their care, from sheep, goats, cows to pigs, rabbits, and llamas.

The Alladale Wilderness Reserve is another place to visit if you want to witness animals in their natural habitat. To make the most of your visit, consider staying in one of the reserve’s accommodations. Depending on your budget, you can stay in a lavish Victorian manor or a simple bunkhouse. During the day, explore the 23,000-acre reserve while onboard a 4×4 truck.  Another attraction that you shouldn’t miss in Scotland is the Cairngorms National Park, where the UK’s only free-ranging herd of reindeer can be found.

  1. South Africa 

If you want to get close to your favourite creatures without disturbing their natural habitat, then you should go on a luxury safari in South Africa, one of the best ways to travel the country. For centuries, the country has worked so hard in protecting the native wildlife and has implemented strict rules to ensure the safety of some of the most endangered species on the planet. Nowadays, the country is home to several national parks and reserves where you can spot the famous “Big Seven”, which consist of elephants, rhinos, buffalos, leopards, lions, whales, and the great white sharks.

The Kruger National Park is one of the biggest game reserves in entire Africa, which makes it a popular destination for wildlife explorers. To ensure the safety of everyone, there is an extensive code of conduct that tourists must follow when going on a safari here. Aside from the Kruger National Park, another conservation area in South Africa where leopards, lions, and elephants can be seen roaming freely is the Madikwe Game Reserve.

A visit to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park in KwaZulu-Natal Province is also highly recommended. The area features a vast landscape of pristine beaches and verdant forests. But the most popular site at the park is the expansive Lake St. Lucia, where you can find a large gathering of hippos, crocs, flamingos and more.

  1. India

India may be famous for its historical monuments and landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal, but what many people didn’t know is that this vast country is also home to several nature reserves and parks where you can spot a wide range of wildlife, including elephants, tigers, langur monkeys, and the rare one-horned rhino. 

When going for a wildlife safari in India, the Ranthambore National Park is the best place to visit. The best time to explore this sprawling park is at sunrise, where you could catch a glimpse of tigers, Indian gazelles, and crocodiles hunting for prey on the lakes. If you want to spot the rare one-horned rhino, the Kaziranga National Park is the best place to go. Located in the northeast Indian state of Assam, the park is also home to tigers, elephants, and other wildlife.

In the state of Kerala, you will find the Periyar National Park, home to a healthy population of wild elephants. There are also few sightings of tigers in the park, as well as leopards, sambar deer, and the rare lion-tailed macaques. In the northern part of the park, you’ll find Periyar Lake, a great place for boating.

  1. The Galapagos 

The Galapagos Islands are home to a diverse and unique ecosystem of plants and animal species that you won’t found anywhere else in the world. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is, in fact, a dream destination for most animal lovers. 

The best way to explore the islands and discover their magnificent wildlife is to charter a luxury yacht around the Galapagos. During your cruise of the islands, you will have the amazing opportunity to watch sea lions up-close, encounter colonies of blue-footed boobies, mingle with frigate birds and flamingos, and witness the giant tortoises in their natural habitat! 

You’ll be visiting several islands during your yacht tour of the Galapagos. Hood Island is famous for its abundance of wildlife creatures. Here, you’ll see scores of Christmas lizards, red crabs, seagulls, and several other interesting wildlife creatures.

  1. Australia

When it comes to discovering impressive and wide-ranging wildlife, nothing beats Australia. There are so many amazing spots in the country where you can get up close and personal with a wide range of animals, that it can be difficult to decide where you should go on your holiday. 

If your time in Australia is limited, you should choose the Great Barrier Reef. This is, no doubt, the best place in the world to witness incredible marine life. Experienced divers will be treated to an amazing range of sea creatures from colourful tiny fishes to sharks and giant turtles. For the less experienced, a snorkel trip along the Reef is the way to go. 

If your main purpose of visiting Australia is to spot kangaroos, then you should head to South Australia’s Kangaroo Island. As you explore the island, expect to see a lot of wildlife. Aside from kangaroos, you could come across wallabies, koalas, snakes, echidnas, and more. For a full wildlife experience, stay overnight and sleep in a tent. There are several campgrounds in the area as well as facilities for caravans.

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