If your two great loves are animals and travelling, why not combine the two? There is a plethora of opportunities to encounter the animals of the world in some spectacular settings. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Take part in an African Safari adventure
Take to the plains and see big cats, wildebeests, zebras and gazelles. The Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of the greatest wildlife reserves in all of Africa, with one of the highest lion densities in the world and where more than two million Thomsons Gazelle and other animals migrate every year.
Located in the South-West of Kenya, a safari tour here will place you in the heart of Africa's most diverse and breathtaking ecosystems. The Maasai people are known for their distinctive customs and dress that are notable for the layers of vibrant red cloth.
You should give yourself a week to truly enjoy this attraction. Witness the wildebeest migration, classified as one of the seven new wonders of the world, with your own eyes between July and October.
Experience the wonder of whale watching
Off the coast of the beautiful and humble town of Kaikoura in New Zealand's South Island you can spot sperm whales. This is one of the only places in the world where you can see this enormous and peaceful-looking mammal.
These whales are the largest of the toothed whales – their brain is the largest of all of the animals on Earth! They grow to a huge 15 metres long, and dive deep into the ocean for meals of about one tonne of fish and squid every day.
Sperm whales can be seen in this area all year around along with many species of dolphins. Orcas appear between December and March and humpback whales pop in for a visit during June and July.
Make friends with little penguins
Phillip Island in Australia has been a popular place to see penguins since the 1920s. This attraction is particularly special because it's here you'll see the smallest penguin species in the world, found only in Australia and New Zealand. Known as little blue or fairy penguins, they are only 30cm tall and weigh just over a kilogram each.
In recent years, efforts have been made to protect the birds with habitat restoration and research. Now you can see them happily swimming and feeding from elevated boardwalks and viewing platforms. The ranger guided tours will take you to a secluded beach where you can walk amongst these adorable birds and snap some cute photos along the way.
Visit some of the best zoos in the world
Without a doubt, the London Zoo makes it to the list of the best zoos in the world. It's spectacular in size, variety of animals and rich in history. The zoo opened on April 27 1828 for a scientific study and eventually, in 1847, the doors were opened to the public.
It wasn't only the first scientific zoo, but also had the first reptile house, unveiling this attraction in 1849, public aquarium in 1853, insect house in 1881 and opened the first children's zoo a bit later on in 1938.
Today, it has 755 species and more than 16,000 individual animals, all spread out over 36 acres of lush land.
Volunteer at a wildlife park
Why not make your time away mutually beneficial? Volunteering at a wildlife park is a fantastic way to give back while also having the opportunity to work closely with animals and see what goes on behind the scenes of these great attractions.
GoEco is a volunteer organisation established in 2005 that will help you find wildlife parks around the world that have volunteer projects. With this company you can travel to exotic locations such as Costa Rica, Israel, Nambia and Bolivia, and help to conserve endangered species from great white sharks to gibbons around the world.
When planning your next holiday, pick an exotic location and discover the glorious wildlife of the area, whether on a safari tour or with volunteering.