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Top 50 Destinations for Wildlife Photography

Top 50 Destinations for Wildlife Photography

Whether you’re an aspiring nature photographer, hungry for adventure, or experienced at capturing wildlife at its most candid – chances are there’s still places you want to explore. We’ve rounded up 50 of the best destinations for wildlife photography to help you plan your next adventure.

1. Svalbard Archipelago – for the King of the Arctic and other arctic wildlife

Polar Bear in Svalbard Florian Ledoux on a Svalbard photography tour

Here at Secret Atlas, we’ve been lucky enough to take photography expeditions to Svalbard for spectacular Arctic wildlife photography. The archipelago of nine islands north of Norway is one of the best places to see and photograph polar bears in the wild. There are plenty of incredible photo opportunities along Svalbard’s frozen shores. Its largest island, Spitsbergen is home to vast numbers of bird species, look up towards the bird cliffs and you might spot puffins, Arctic terns, kittiwakes and brunnich’s guillemots. The archipelago also has many Walrus haul out sites. And you might also encounter Arctic foxes, beluga whales, and the Svalbard reindeer- a subspecies that you won’t find anywhere else. Find out more here

2. Antarctic Peninsula – A Heaven for Penguins and Elephant Seals

For many of these incredible locations, you’ll probably experience such a sensory overload, you might want to put the camera down and pinch yourself. But then again, if you get the chance to take your camera on an epic and wild adventure to the Antarctic Peninsula – you’re going to want to pick it right back up again. It’s the easiest part of mainland Antarctica to reach.

Once you’re there, you’ll be surrounded by some of Antarctica’s most stunning scenery – with dramatic landscapes filled with jagged mountain peaks, majestic icebergs and an abundance of wildlife. It’s a major breeding ground for seabirds, elephant seals, and penguins which you’ll see plenty of on a micro expedition to explore places like the South Shetland Islands and Livingston Island, and Half Moon Bay. There will also be opportunities to photograph whales, most commonly humpback and minke whales.

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3. Falkland Islands – Witness the March of the Penguins

If you’ve dreamed of photographing penguins in the world, then the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) calls. They’re home to a large penguin settlement, with five species. The most common are rockhopper penguins with distinctive yellow feathers above their eyes. You’ll see them perching on the cliffs on Pebble Island and Sea Lion Island between October and April.

The Malvinas are also home to the largest population of the larger gentoo penguins in the world. And they are likely to waddle into the path of your lens all year round. Visit West Point to see the brown albatross in flight, and the islands are also home to rare bird species, like the steamer duck and the silver teal.

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4. South Georgia – The Kingdom of King Penguins

The mountainous island about 800 miles from the Islas Malvinas is a wildlife photographer’s paradise. It’s one of the more remote, and rarely visited destinations on Earth, with no permanent residents. Leaving you free to roam and get close to nature with your camera away from large tour groups.

South Georgia’s rugged landscapes and beautiful beaches are home to six species of penguins, with a total population of seven million. And there is a huge number of King Penguins roaming around, as well as 50% of the global elephant seal population. With wilderness that will make you wonder if you’re still on Earth, it’s also a great opportunity for landscape photography. So pack your camera kit, follow in Shackleton’s footsteps, and capture your wildlife adventure.

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5. Baffin Island – Get Close-Ups of Arctic Foxes and Polar Bears

Canada’s largest island is also the fifth-largest in the world. It’s also becoming better known for incredible Arctic expeditions, and yep, you guessed it. – stunning nature photography. The sparsely populated island is filled with dramatic landscapes including soaring mountains (over 2000 metres high) and two of Canada’s largest national parks including Auyuittuq, meaning “the land that never melts”.

The Canadian Arctic is home to around 60 percent of the world’s polar bear population, and the island is also home to the Arctic fox, as well as endemic species like the tundra grey wolf, and caribou. Baffin Island is also home to over 100 species of birds including falcons, ptarmigans and puffins. Take a snowmobile trip on the floe ice for a chance to see narwhals and beluga whales up close too.

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6. Somerset Island – Summer Light and Beluga Whales

This uninhabited Canadian island 500 miles north of the Arctic Circle is incredible for whale watching. There are large numbers of beluga whales on Somerset Island in the summer, and you might also get to kayak alongside white whales. Hiking around the island’s canyons, you’ll also find 8000-year old bowhead whale skeletons in the tundra. You might also get the chance to photograph polar bears, narwhals, and Arctic terns and snow geese.

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7. Greenland – Still Landscapes and Humpback Whales

Journey to the largest island on Earth. Greenland is also one of the least inhabited places in the world, perfect for photography adventures in search of raw natural beauty, and Arctic wildlife. There are very few roads in Greenland, so you can make your way around to stunning places like Disko Bay on the west coast.

It’s home to soaring, sky-scraper high icebergs and is also a great place to spot humpback whales up close. Travel to Greenland during the summer to see its splendour under the light of the midnight sun, although it’s also a pretty amazing place to witness the Northern Lights. Greenland is also home to polar bears, Arctic foxes, reindeer and musk oxen.

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8. Patagonia – The Andean Home of the Puma

At the southern tip of South America, straddling both Argentina and Chile lies the wilderness of Patagonia. The region sits at the southern sections of the Andes, and as well as mountains, the Patagonian landscape is varied and vast. In the east you’ll find beautiful lakes, glaciers, and fjords and to the west is barren desert. People visit to go on wilderness hikes, and there are also plenty of opportunities to go whale watching and spot penguins.

The mountains are also home to the puma, although you’ll need to book a guided trip with experienced trackers – and the eastern part of the Torres del Paine national park offers the best chance of seeing them. The stunning national park is also home to herds of guanacos (llama’s little cousins) and the Patagonian fox. Look up the skies to capture a shot of the condor in flight.

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9. Galapagos Islands – A Paradise of Rare Wildlife

The archipelago of volcanic islands are part of Ecuador, and considered to be one of the best places in the world for wildlife photography. With such diverse wildlife including one of the highest numbers of endemic species in the world – it’s easy to see what inspired Charles Darwin so much. Taking a photo tour is one of the best ways to experience the Galapagos Islands’ rich flora and fauna. January to May are warmer, wetter months with blue skies that are great for photography.

This archipelago’s most famous creature is the galapagos tortoise (where the islands got their name) – and there are over 4000 on Isabela Island alone. Another of the islands’ endemic species is the marine iguana – which is also the only species of Iguana that isn’t land based. It can dive up to 30 feet underwater, but if underwater photography isn’t your bag – you’ll also find it roaming on the shores, marshes and mangrove beaches. They’re also found on all of the Galapagos Islands so you will be able to see them on any itinerary. And for colour – look out for distinctive red of the magnificent frigatebird, especially if you’re heading to North Seymour Island.

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10. Kodiak Island – Where the Brown Bear Is King

Kodiak Island in North America is a large island that is part of Alaska (separated by the Shelikof Strait) and the largest island in the Kodiak Archipelago. It’s also an amazing place to photograph bears in the wild. Two-thirds of Kodiak Island is part of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge which is home to around 3000 Kodiak bears – the largest grizzly bears in the world.

The river and lakes are filled with salmon which keeps them pretty happy. Kodiak Island was once covered in ice but is now filled with lush green mountains. The island is also home to Sitka black-tailed deer, mountain goats, elk and bald eagles. The best time to visit to see bears is between July and September.

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11. Franz Josef Land – Watch Walruses and Trace Arctic Expedition History

The remote rarely visited archipelago in the Russian High Arctic is uninhabited and amazing for dramatic and diverse wildlife photography. It’s also steeped in Arctic expedition history, and you can visit the site of Fridtjof Nansen’s camp at Cape Norway. You can only really go during the summer, and even then sea ice can make it tricky to explore. Although temperatures are fairly warm for this sort of environment – just above freezing! And 85 percent of the archipelago is made up of glaciers – which are stunning to behold.

When you’re not retracing the steps of famous explorers and trying to imagine the harsh conditions they lived in – you can also spend time wildlife watching. There is a decent chance you will see polar bears, walruses, Arctic foxes and large seabird colonies.

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12. Skervoy, Norway – For Orcas in the Winter

There is no shortage of amazing places to witness the Northern Lights and go whale watching in Norway. But while most people have heard of Tromso, fewer know about Skjervøy in the north. The remote island close to the mountains is perfect for a photography trip to capture amazing landscapes and see Orcas and Humpback whales up close, without big crowds.

The island was also the first port of call for Arctic explorer Fritjof Nansen’s Fram ship on his return from the North Pole in 1896. You can take your camera on a mini-expedition to explore the rugged coastline as well as taking boats out to get great shots of whales in the Norwegian waters. Visit between November and January for the best whale watching opportunities.

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13. Saint Helena – For a Chance to See Whale Sharks

One of the world’s most remote islands is St Helena. It’s a volcanic island in the South Atlantic, about 1200 miles west of Angola and 2500 east of Rio de Janeiro, and you can fly in via Cape Town and then take a boat. Only a few hundred people live here, known as Saints and it’s a British Overseas Territory, (one of 14 such territories that are remnants of the British Empire).

Although colonialism casts a murky shadow here (Napoleon was exiled here), and there’s plenty of history to check out – it’s nature that makes this worth putting on your photography holiday itinerary.

Saint Helena is home to rich bird and marine life as well as other creatures, including Jonathan the ancient giant tortoise who resides in Plantation House, and is the oldest living terrestrial animal on earth, apparently. You can also swim with placid but massive whale sharks (or just appreciate them with your camera from a boat!) in January to March, and later in the year from June to December is great for spotting humpback whales. Dolphins can be spotted year round, and it’s worth taking a hike up Diana’s Peak – at 823m, it’s the highest point of the island and perfect for capturing amazing landscapes.

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14. Churchill Canada – The Polar Bear Capital

Churchill, Manitoba is also known as the accessible arctic, as it sits on the relatively warm southwestern shore of Hudson Bay which you can get to by plane or even train from the mainland. The latter takes you through the forests and eventually the wild tundra. Unlike a lot of other Arctic destinations, the landscape isn’t barren, it’s filled with an abundance of wildflowers (over 500).

Churchill is the polar bear capital of the world, and people also come to see beluga whales. But there are plenty of other species to see up close too, including Arctic hares, Arctic foxes, moose and snowshoe hares. In the summer you can see polar bears by boat, but if you want to see them roaming in the tundra, visit in Autumn.

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15. Borneo – A Rainforest Adventure With Orangutans

The huge, rugged island in Asia straddles the equator and one of the more tropical destinations on our radar for wildlife photography is Borneo. The island is shared by three countries – Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei and its tropical rainforests are home to an incredibly diverse array of wildlife including orangutans, giant apes, pygmy elephants, and flying fox bats.

Borneo is one of only two places in the world where tigers, orangutans, and elephants live together – the other is Sumatra. Suffice to say, it’s a paradise for wildlife photography and rainforest adventure. One of the most untouched forests is Maliau Basin, so head there for dense jungle treks and crystal clear waterfalls. But for great shots of the Borneo orangutans – watch them swing into your shot at Tanjung Puting National Park.

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16. Yala National Park, Sri Lanka – For Spotting Leopards

Sri Lanka’s largest national park is home to the highest density of Leopards in the world, including the Sri Lankan leopard subspecies. To get around the park, you’ll need to take a jeep safari tour, following trails around to see lakes, jungle, and grasslands. You’ll need to do your research for tours that aren’t too crowded and high impact though. As well as Leopards, you might also erm, snap a photo of a crocodile, see roaming buffalos, wild pigs, elephants, and monkeys. Yala National Park is also home to over 200 species of birds, including green bee-eaters, painted storks, and the crested serpent eagle.

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17. Okavango Delta, Botswana – A Haven for Hippos

The Okavango Delta in Botswana is over 900 miles of wetland wilderness deep in the Kalahari Desert. People come to witness beautiful rivers, lush lagoons, and thriving African wildlife. You need to visit during the dry season to experience the wetlands in full flood – which occurs between July and September and is best for wildlife watching.

Make your way around the delta on walking trails or by boat. However you travel, you’ll get to photograph an abundance of wildlife including the ‘big five game animals – lions, leopards, African buffalos, and African bush elephants. Okavango Delta is also a haven for hippos, expect to see them stomping and honking through the waters.

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18. Kenai Fjords National Park, Alaska – Hang Out With Sea Otters

A couple of hours’ drive from Anchorage lies one of Alaska’s most untamed wildernesses. Kenai Fjords National Park was set up in 1980 to this sprawling, natural wonder, including the huge Harding Ice Field which has almost 40 glaciers flowing from it. The park’s chilly waters and lush forests are also home to vast species of wildlife. Among the many marine mammals, you can see are sea otters – a protected species that were once hunted to the brink of extinction in the 18th and 19th centuries.

There’s a very high chance of seeing them too, ninety percent of the world’s sea otters live on the Alaskan coast. Apart from these adorable creatures, by exploring Kenai Fjords National Park you might also be able to see orcas, fin whales, and harbour seals as well as mountain goats, black and brown bears, and wolverines. The best time to come is the summer, with plenty of long days and great light to take advantage of.

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19. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska – To See Seals

Another Alaskan wilderness that’s worth a trip with your camera is Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve. The remote natural area in the south east of Alaska was declared a national monument in 1925 and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1992. It’s a destination for exploring vast, icy, landscapes and still waters – over a fifth of the work is made up on marine waters, and glaciers cover 27 percent of the park.

Among the marine life that thrives in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve are harbour seals that you can see swimming and bobbing near glaciers or in Sitakaday Narrows. The park’s waters are also home to sea lions, porpoises, and sea otters. On land, you can look out for the blue glacier bear ( a rare type of black bear), as well as mountain goats, moose and wolves.

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20. Ningaloo Reef – A Paradise for Underwater Photographers

Barrier Reef isn’t the only spectacular marine destination in Australia. Western Australia is home to the Ningaloo Reef – a paradise for underwater photographers. It’s famous for whale shark and manta ray, and turtle sightings. Take a swim with the largest fish in the world – the whale shark, which you can do between March and July.

If shooting while diving isn’t your thing – there’s plenty of amazing marine life to be observed from a glass-bottomed boat including vast numbers of tropical fish and dolphins. There’s plenty of fantastic landscape photography opportunities in the region too. You can take a guided walk up Mandu Mandu gorge, or explore the red canyons of Cape Range National Park.

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21. Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica – A Tropical Paradise For Sea Turtles

The remote national park in the northeast of Costa Rica is named after its most famous aquatic inhabitants. The name translates as “region of the turtles” in English, and Tortuguero National Park is home to many sea turtles including the endangered green turtle, the Giant leatherback, the hawksbill and loggerhead turtles too. The national park is a network of canals, rivers, lagoons. beaches, and dense rainforests. The best time to see turtles nesting is between April and mid-December.

Tortuguero’s waterways and surroundings are also home to monkeys, sloths, parrots, and crocodiles. Getting there is something of a mission, as it’s a swampy area and one of the most inaccessible in the country. But, as Spanish and Portuguese speakers would say, “vale a pena” – it’s worth it. Domestic flights or tours by bus are probably your best bet.

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22. Ranthambore National Park, India – To Capture the Eye of the Tiger

The national park in Rajasthan, northern India is a vast animal sanctuary – and one of the best places to go for the chance to photograph Bengal tigers in the wild. It’s filled with forests and over 500 flowering plants too, as well as one of the largest Banyan trees in India. Banyan trees are a pretty incredible feat of nature – they send roots down from their branches so they can spread far out.

But, let’s get back to the wildlife you can find in Ranthambore National Park. As well as the mighty Bengal tiger, the park is also home to many other species including leopards, spotted deer, small Indian mongoose, jackals, striped hyenas, Indian wild boar, and macaques. You can also pay a visit to the imposing Ranthambore Fort, which dates back to the 10th century, overlooking the plain below.

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23. Kruger National Park in South Africa – To Photograph Amazing African Wildlife

Spanning across 19,633 km, South Africa’s Kruger National Park is one the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world For a sense of scale – it’s roughly the size of Belgium. So you’ll need a decent chunk of time for a visit. But it’s an incredible place for a wildlife photography trip. As well as being an excellent place to photography the ‘the big five’’ game animals (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and African buffalos) as well as zebras, cheetahs, wild dogs, jackals, wildebeests and many more creatures great and small.

To get there, take a road trip from Johannesburg, which is about 4.5-5 hrs where you can stop off to appreciate the Blyde River Canyon. Once there, you can make your way around the gigantic game reserve either by a self-drive or guided safari.

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24. Yellowstone National Park, USA – dramatic landscape and grizzly bears

Yellowstone is so vast it extends beyond Wyoming and into the neighbouring states of Montana and Idaho. It’s famous for geothermal features – especially the massive Old Faithful geyser and is an incredible place to visit for landscape and wildlife photography. The national park is filled with mountains, canyons, rivers and the dormant caldera volcano. Yellowstone’s wildlife is diverse and abundant with over 67 different mammals.

It’s home to almost 700 grizzly bears, as well as bison, moose, wolverines, lynx, bobcats, and mountain goats. While exploring, you might also get the chance to see rare species like pronghorns – the surviving species of a group of animals that have evolved in North America over the past 20 million years. Perfect for wildlife photography.

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25. Etosha National Park, Namibia – Look up to Giraffes

Etosha’s name roughly translates as “the great white area” in the Ovambo language. That’s because it’s home to a huge salt pan – the largest in Africa. Do you know what else it’s home to? Giraffes, a whole lot of them. Etosha is in a remote, northern corner of Namibia that offers incredible wildlife photography opportunities. Its wide-open spaces make it easy to spot the tall animals too.

There are no trees hiding them and they have to go to waterholes like Okaukuejo or Klein Namutoni regularly. If you’re hanging out at the waterholes, you might spot a rhino or two taking a drink. Making your way around Etosha, there’s also a chance you spot lions, elephants, impala, kudu, flamingos, owls and eagles.

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26. Son Tra Nature Reserve, Vietnam – Home of the Red-Shanked Douc Langur

Son Tra is the last remaining coastal rainforest in Vietnam. This ‘green lung’ is also a vital conservation area for the red-shanked douc langur – a subspecies of monkey that is under threat of extinction. There has been some controversy in recent years, with some daft humans feeding them or leaving behind rotten food. So don’t do that, obvs.

But, do take the chance to explore Son Tra’s vast rainforest trails in search of these magnificent creatures along with the other animals that reside there. And there is a lot to see, along with the red-shanked douc langurs, there are also deer, apes, and orangutans among the species to look out for.

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27. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya – Majestic home of the African elephant

Massai Mara is named in honour of the Massai people, the land’s ancestral inhabitants. It’s one of Africa’s most famous national reserves. And one of the most incredible wildlife destinations in the world. If you’re looking for a close-up of the African bush elephant – well, you’re in luck. The reserve is largely open grassland, as well as plains and swamps – most of the wildlife can be found on the western escarpment (long cliffs).

As well as a large population of African bush elephants, it’s also home to vast numbers of lions, African leopards, cheetahs, zebras, hippos, cape buffalo. You might also spot copper tailed monkeys, dwarf mongoose, and spotted hyenas on your adventures.

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28. The Amazon Basin, Peru – The Real Macaw

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest. The Amazon Basin in Peru is one its best-protected parts. Peru has more birds than any other country in the world. And it’s a great place to photograph the colourful Macaw in its natural habitat particularly in Collpa Chunco where they gather in their hundreds.

The stunning rainforest is also home to brown capuchin monkeys, caiman, toucans, jaguars, capybaras and a whole lot more. To get the most out of a wildlife photography trip to the Amazon Basin, visit during the dry season between July and October.

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29. Rainforests of the Atsinanana, Madagascar – For rare Lemurs

The Rainforests of the Atsinanana is a UNESCO world heritage site that is home to vast numbers of endemic species. So if rare wildlife photography is your bag, put the East African island of Madagascar on your wishlist. The rainforest is incredibly biodiverse and is also home to rich plant life too.

One of the protected species you might meet on your visit is the black and white ruffed lemur, also known as the black and white vari. You’ll see these fluffy primates hanging out in the trees. The rainforests comprise six national parks including Masola National Parks and the Zahamena National Park.

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30. Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica – Lush Rainforests and Tropical Frogs

Corcovado National Park is a remote paradise in the Osa Peninsula in the south-west of Costa Rica. Take your camera on a hike through lush tropical rainforests, and you’ll be rewarded with colour and biodiversity everywhere you go. It’s an important ecosystem to some rare and endangered species including scarlet macaws, harpy eagles, and red-backed squirrel monkeys.

Corcovado is also an important habitat for over 40 species of frogs, including the leaf-dwelling red-eyed tree frog and the green and black poison dart frog.

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31. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania – Home to 3000 Lions

The famous Tanzanian national park is also a neighbour of the Massai Mara and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The Serengeti is believed to be home to the largest population of Lions in Africa – partly because of the high number of prey species. As well as Lions and the other game animals in the ‘Big Five), wildlife photographers can visit this African plain to see cheetahs, herds of wildebeest, gazelles, baboons. Masai ostriches, and wild dogs. Visit between June and October for the dry season, and to witness the great migration.

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32. Katmai National Park, Alaska – For Brown Bear watching

For capturing moody landscapes and spotting brown bears, take an adventure to Katmai National Park. The region is also home to the excellently named Valley of 10,000 Smokes if you fancy some wilderness hiking. Katmai National Park is roughly 260 miles southwest of anchorage and pretty remote.

It’s also home to the largest population of protected grizzly bears in the world. They thrive thanks to a lot of salmon to feast on, and can often be spotted on the river bank at Hallo Bay and along the shoreline. The summertime is great for bear watching, and photography in small groups with an experienced guide. Other creatures that call Katmai their home include sea otters, gray wolves, and humpback whales.

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33. Sepilok, Sabah, Malaysia – Look Out for the Proboscis Monkey

Sepilok is a small village in the northeast of the Sabah province that is a gateway to Bornean wildlife exploration. Spending a few days there will give you the chance to visit a few different animal sanctuaries like the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. As you might have guessed, it’s the best place for seeing the long-nosed primates in the area.

Once you’re done monkeying around – take a trip to Sandakan Archipelago. While you’re there, visit Turtle Island National Park to see green turtles and hawksbill turtles hatching. You can also visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre – where orphaned and injured orangutans are cared for before being returned to the wild.

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34. Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil – Waterfalls, Big Cats and Toucans

Stretching across the border with Argentina, the famous Iguaçu Falls is also home to a beautiful national park filled with wildlife. It’s a tropical rainforest, and home to jaguars, ocelots, and an abundance of butterflies. There are also endangered species being protected in Iguaçu National Park including the giant otter, and the giant anteater.

There are more hikes on the Argentine side of the falls, but it’s worth exploring the raw beauty of the Brazilian side for wildlife photography opportunities. Iguaçu is also home to the Toucan – the biggest of which is the Toco Toucan. The beautiful bird with its brilliantly coloured, large bill is one of Brazil’s most beloved birds.

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35. The Great Barrier Reef: Australia – Meet the Pacific Green Turtle

The world’s largest coral reef system doesn’t need an introduction. The Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland is one of the seven wonders of the natural world. With its explosion of colour and abundant marine life – it’s a snorkelling and photography paradise too. There lots of different itineraries from tours to DIY options that include island hopping.

The Great Barrier Reef has over 1500 species of fish, 134 sharks and rays, as well as turtles, dolphins, whales and manatees. One of the many species people come to see is the pacific green turtle. You can see these magnificent creatures swimming in Raine Island which is an important nesting sight. Up to 60,000 females congregate on its beaches every year.

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36. Nairobi National Park, Kenya – Home To The Endangered Black Rhino

Hailed as “the world’s only wildlife capital”, Nairobi National Park is just a few miles outside of the capital city. It’s where open African plains and views of the city’s skyline meet. Most importantly, it’s home to diverse wildlife including lions, leopards, hyenas, buffalos, giraffe and over 400 bird species. With its proximity to the city, and three campsites – it’s a great place to pitch up, go hiking and take photos of magnificent wildlife.

The rarest among them is the endangered black rhino. Black rhinos are smaller and faster than white rhinos and there are only about 600 in Kenya, largely due to poaching. This is why they’re under the protection of animal sanctuaries and other conservation areas. But, despite their low numbers, Nairobi National Park is a good place to see them roaming.

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37. Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada – Kingdom of the Elk

Banff National Park in Alberta is Canada’s oldest national park, established back in 1885. It’s just under 70 miles from Calgary, nestled in the Rocky Mountains. So people come for stunning mountain views, beautiful lakes, and of course wildlife watching. Among the wild residents of the park that spans 4000 square miles is the elk.

It’s one large animal you’re very likely to see, with over 300 living in the park. Other animals to look out for also include deer, grizzly bears, moose, and mountain sheep. If outdoor activities are also your bag, Banff is a great place for skiing, canoeing, cycling and climbing.

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38. Kalahari Desert, Botswana – Meet the Meerkats

We’ve already mentioned the spectacular Okavango Delta, but Botswana’s natural beauty is vast and if you’re planning a trip to the region – then visit the place that surrounds it. The Kalahari Desert is filled with rich ancient traditions, dramatic semi-arid landscapes, and national parks and reserves for its abundant wildlife from leaping springboks to giraffes, brown hyenas, warthogs, lions, and cheetahs

But the symbol of the African desert is the meerkat – who burrow in the sands of the Kalahari for protection against oppressive heat and predators. They’re understandably wary of humans too. But there’s a high chance of seeing mobs of meerkats in the vast Makgadikgadi Pans. Go in the dry season between April and October when you can see them in large numbers up to 40.

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39. Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia – Meet Ancient Primates

Situated within the deep valleys and jagged mountain peaks of northern Ethiopia, Simien Mountains Park is home to rare and endangered species. The park is an important area of conservation, and there are several endemic species including the Walia ibex (a type of mountain goat).

One of the most fascinating species you’ll meet on a trip there is the gelada baboon. Sometimes known as bleeding-heart monkeys, the gelada is the last surviving species of ancient grazing primates. There are plenty of trekking routes to take in the incredible landscapes too, with landmarks including Jinbar Waterfall.

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40. Skomer Island, Wales, Uk – For Puffin Watching

Although puffins might be more commonly associated with Nordic regions and chilly parts of North America – there are also a few places to spot them in the UK. One of the best areas for photographing the seabirds in the wild is Skomer island in Wales. It’s less than a mile off the Pembrokeshire coast with majestic cliff tops that are home to vast numbers of puffins. The welsh island is also home to other seabirds including gannets, fulmars and razorbills.

Look out onto the surrounding waters for a chance to spot dolphins and harbour porpoises, and Atlantic grey seals as well. The island is especially photogenic in the spring when it’s covered in blanket bluebells.

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41. Squamish and Vancouver, Canada – Witness the Bald Eagle in Flightg

You don’t have to travel to the remotest parts of Canada to encounter amazing wildlife. Squamish is about an hour’s drive north of Vancouver and every winter its skies are filled with the highest concentration of bald eagles in the world. One of the best places to spot them is alo the Squamish River in the massive Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park.

The symbol of North America is so celebrated in the region, that there is a month-long bald eagle festival in January. For marine life photo opportunities, visit the Johnstone Strait between Vancouver Island and British Columba which is a great place for whale watching including orcas, humpbacks, and minkes and it’s easily done as a day trip.

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42. British Columbia, Canada – Home of the Yellow-Bellied Marmot

British Columbia is rich in wildlife. From the salmon-filled waterways that provide a vital food source for whales and the bears that roam in its mossy rainforests to lush meadows where you might spot the solitary moose. One of the region’s most interesting animals is the yellow-bellied marmot which can be found throughout south central BC and throughout the rockies.

It’s also known as the rock-chuck, and gets its name from the distinctive yellow fur on its belly. Some of the best places for spotting them are the Okanagan region.

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43. Mykines, Faroe Islands – Witness a Vast Array of Birdlife

For remote, raw beauty and capturing photos of seabirds, venture to Mykines in the Faroe Islands. There are only about 10 year-long inhabitants in this westerly region, overlooked by a solitary lighthouse. Dubbed a “paradise of birds” because of its rich birdlife, particularly a huge colony of puffins. There are thousands of them, along with large numbers of guillemots, cormorants, and razorbills. You can expect to see a fair few sheep too. There is a fee to visit the island and you’ll need to show proof if you take the Mykines lighthouse hiking trail. The fee is to help protect the local wildlife and as of 2020 the price is 250DKK (£30 / €33).

Like any remote destination, forward planning is essential. Weather conditions will determine when you can take the ferry from Vagar, as dense fog and strong winds lead to frequent cancellations. And you can only venture there between 1 May and 31 August. But it’s a beautiful trip, sailing out of Sørvágsfjørður fjord and looking out onto rugged landscapes along the way.

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44. The Otago Peninsula, New Zealand – See the Yellow-Eyed Penguin

One of New Zealand’s endemic species is the yellow-eyed penguin, also known as hoiho or tarakaka. It’s also endangered with only 225 pairs left in the country – and is believed to be the rarest penguin on Earth The Otago Peninsula on the South Island is one of the best places to spot this small, solitary bird with a high-pitched scream. You can get close (ish) to this winner of New Zealand’s Bird of the Year 2019 by taking a short bus ride from Dunedin which takes about an hour.

Tourism helps to fund Penguin Place, which is dedicated to the care of around 36 pairs of yellow-eyed penguins. Then wander to Taiaroa Head for incredible views to visit the Royal Albatross Centre which is also home to small penguins, fur seals, and another chance to get a close up of the yellow-eyed penguin.

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45. Ulgii, Mongolia – Meet the Kazakh Eagle Hunters

The Kazakhs are the largest ethnic group in Mongolia who mostly live in the western part of the country. They use eagles to help hunt for foxes and rabbits for fur which is a tradition called berkutchi Hunting with birds of prey is an ancient practice going back as far as the Bronze Age. Visiting Mongolia is a very different kind of wildlife photography trip, it’s a chance to get to know an indigous culture too. In the winter you can visit The Kazakh Eagle Hunters to live among them for a short while, and observe the bond they have with their eagles.

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46. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda – Journey to the Valley of the Apes

Uganda’s Queen Elizabeth National Park is one of the most popular reserves in the country. It’s incredibly biodiverse with landscapes made up of bushland, wetlands, forests and savannah. The park is also home to over 96 species of mammals including hippos, tree-climbing lions, elephants, chimps and hyenas.

The eastern corner of the park is home to the stunning Kyambora Gorge, frequently referred to as Valley of the Apes. So if you’ve come to photography primates, you’re in luck. The gorge is a great place to track chimpanzees, and hike through the lush forests to see other primates including olive baboons, black and white colobus monkeys and red-tailed monkeys.

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47. St Kilda, Scotland, Uk – A Remote Haven for Seabirds

The isolated archipelago of volcanic islands off the coast of the Hebrides in Scotland, with the highest sea cliffs in Britain. St Kilda’s dramatic coasts are an incredible sight to behold. Getting there isn’t easy, and weather conditions are tough. No one has lived there since 1936 – forced out by increasingly hard conditions due to an increased reliance on the mainland.

St Kilda is a dual UNESCO world heritage site (for cultural as well as natural significance) and now cared for by the National Trust. St Kilda is home to nearly 1 million seabirds, including the UK’s largest colony of Atlantic puffins as well as large numbers of northern gannets. It’s often described a place “at the edge of the world”, but you can visit by taking a boat from the Isle of Skye (weather permitting) to the main island of Hirta witness a multitude of seabirds, and learn about the vanished culture of people that once thrives on these remote islands.

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48. Bukit Lawang, Sumatra – Meet Thomas Langur

The UNESCO World Site Bukit Lawang on the Indonesian island of Sumatra is a popular place to see Orangutans in the wild. But there are other primates to meet and photograph if you’re lucky enough to visit. The less well known Thomas’ langur (also known as Thomas’ leaf money) is endemic to Sumatra and has a multi-chambered stomach that helps it to digest leaves and other plant matter.

It’s covered in spiky fur and has a furry beard under its chin. Thomas’ langurs are most active during the day, but they also love to take naps (for up to 60 percent of the day) – so you might snap them in action foraging or dozing up a tree.

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49. Peninsula Valdes, Argentina – For Southern Sea Lions

Situated on Argentina’s wilde Patagonian coast, Peninsula Valdes is a protected nature reserve and UNESCO World Heritage Site. Domestic and international tourists visit for wildlife watching – including pecans, elephant seals, guanacos, penguins and the southern sea lion. Southern sea lions are also known as South American sea lions or Patagonian sea lions, and can be found in Argentina, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, The Malvinas (Falklands), and Brazil.

Sea lions can be spotted all year round, and kayaking along the coast is a great way to see them in their natural habitat, The peninsula is also a fantastic area for birdlife, it’s home to more than 180 species including migratory birds like the Atlantic pigeon as well as royal cormorants, flamingos, and burrowing owls.

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