How to Plan A Sound Itinerary for Any Wildlife Holiday

A wildlife holiday is often found on every bucket list and for some can be a once in a lifetime adventure so you must get the planning right. You may know the animals and wildlife you wish to see on your holiday but you might not know how to go about booking your trip. Here is a guide to planning your itinerary for amazing wildlife holidays.

Decide what type of wildlife holiday you want

There are so many different types of wildlife holidays available to choose from with a variety of animals and birds to see during your trip. Perhaps you are planning to see the big 5 on a safari in Africa, or perhaps you are set on seeing Puffins in Iceland? The first thing you need to do when you are planning a wildlife holiday is the type of wildlife you want to see and if there I any specific animal or bird that you have your heart set on seeing during your trip.

This is one of the most essential things for your holiday so you must get this right before you move on to anything else. You may be travelling for a glimpse of just one creature such as the elusive leopard in the Amazon rainforest or maybe you want to see as many different animals as you can in one trip? Whether you are booking the trip yourself or going through a tour operator keep your ultimate goal in mind when you are booking.

How long is the duration of your trip?

So, how long you have to take your trip can make a difference to your overall experience. Decide how long you have and remember to include any travelling time in this too. You may have two weeks but if you are travelling from the UK to Australia for example then there will be a good few days taken out for flights and travel. But if you are planning to visit a local National Park then there is nothing more than a short drive before getting to you to your destination of choice.

Of course, there are many factors that will affect how long you have to take your trip. The amount of annual leave you have and also the amount of money you have to spend can make a difference to how much time you can afford to be away. But the duration can have an impact of what type of holiday you can take. If you want to go on safari it can be quite difficult to do this within one weekend.

Do you need a specialist guide or are you going self-guided?

Now you have decided what type of wildlife holiday you want to take and how long for, you need to decide whether you want a specialist tour guide or if you want to take your own. Now if you are after some specialist wildlife viewing, a guide will be the best option as they will know where to go for the best places to see the animals. They can also organise your tours so you visit at the right time to optimise your viewing options and make the absolute most of your trip.

However, if you are going to a destination where you can see the wildlife without any special arrangements, such as the coastal walks to see the basking seals or hiking butterfly trails then you might not need a guide. Remember though to get the best out of your trip you should have some knowledge about when and where to visit to see the wildlife you really want to see. Online research and guidebooks can help you if you want to choose a self-guided tour.

Tour operator or independent bookings?

This is another choice you need to consider when you are planning a wildlife holiday. If you want to travel around and enjoy a complicated itinerary then it may be a good idea to book with a tour operator who can do the hard work for you. They will have experience and knowledge in the local area and it can also be cost effective too and you will more often than not join an organised group tour. If you book with a reputable operator you know you will be getting a good service and what to expect for your trip.

For some people however, a group tour is not for them and you may want to book with a local independent operator or guide. That way you can tailor your itinerary to suit your own needs but with the help of an expert in that field. It can be more expensive to book private or independent tours but you get exactly what you want without having to compromise. The choice is yours and there are pros and cons for both choices.

Day to day itineraries

When you have sorted all of the above you can drill down to your daily itinerary of your wildlife holiday. This will often be already set out by your tour operator if you have booked this way, however if you have the freedom to plan your own itinerary this should be next on your list of things to do. Some top tips include, make sure you plan for rest and free time. It is tempting to pack everything into each day but if you are visiting a destination with extreme hot or cold weather then you will need time to recuperate between tours.

You should also plan your meal times around wildlife viewings. Tours to view certain creatures usually take place early morning or late evening in places like Africa and the rainforest when the animals are at their most active so you should take this into account when planning your day. If you are looking to go whale watching for instance you need to make sure you are visiting at the right time of the year and migration time.

What else should you consider?

Once you have sorted your itinerary you should think about what to pack for the most comfortable wildlife viewing experience. Don’t forget sun screens, and clothing to protect you from the sun and heat in warmer climates and in colder destinations make sure you bring layers and have gloves and hat to keep yourself warm. One item that is needed for all wildlife holidays is a good pair of walking boots or shoes. If you book with a tour operator or guide, they will often give you a kit list or suggested items that you will need for your break.

Where will you be going on your next wildlife holiday?

There are many different types of holidays to choose from depending on your needs and wants. Whether it is a backpacking holiday in the jungle to view creatures in their natural habitat or a luxury safari where the animals come to you. There is the type of holiday that is perfect for you. Now you know how to go about planning you can start to arrange your next break. Where will you be going in your next wildlife holiday?

This is a contribution from one of our contributing writers.


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