From trekking in Uganda to see the world's last remaining mountain gorillas to heading out into the tiger parks of India, no bucket list would be complete without including top animal encounters.
Our varied planet plays host to a staggering range of unique creatures and each country has its own iconic animal worth visiting for, whether it's Africa's Big Five or China and its pandas.
As well as individual species, animals are also responsible for some of the most awe-inspiring spectacles on earth, chief among them the incredible Great Wildebeest Migration in East Africa when thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle make a perilous journey in search of greener pastures.
Gorilla Trekking in Uganda
Uganda, the ‘Pearl of Africa’, is full of adventure with wild Bwindi National Park, spectacular Lake Bunyonyi and half of the world’s gorilla population, the lush forests holding approximately 400 mountain gorillas.
The Big Five across Africa
Spotting the Big Five on safari is the ultimate African wildlife experience, attracting animal fans to the plains of Africa time and time again. Elephant, leopard, rhino, buffalo and lion - no two sightings are the same.
The Big 15 of the Galapagos Islands
The Galapagos Islands is an unrivalled wildlife haven, a collection of strange and bizarre species spread out across the volcanic archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Darwin formulated his theory of evolution when confronted with the unique creatures of the other-worldly landscapes.
Pandas of China
China’s national animal of the giant panda resides in the bamboo forests high in the west of the country and spend half of their day eating up to 12.5kgs of bamboo, climbing as high as 13,000 feet to snack on the woody grass. These cuddly creatures, with their rotund figures and sleepy black-ringed eyes, are talented tree-climbers and efficient swimmers. A peaceful docile animal, giant pandas are unfortunately critically endangered with only about 1000 left in the wild. Visit the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, also known as Panda Base, to learn about work on panda conservation and development. Opened in 1987 they have successfully created a natural habitat across 200 hectares of land of wild bamboo forests, rugged caves and picturesque rivers for the pandas to enjoy and thrive in.
What is your dream animal encounter?