We Chased Bucket List Animal Encounters Around The World
On our travels around the world, we had some amazing bucket list animal encounters. It should not be surprising since we travelled to over 100 countries and have written almost 600 travel blog posts.
Animal encounters covered a great range of bucket list trips. We were delighted we saw so many big animals when we travelled in Africa. Even if we missed one of the Big Five. Camels in the Middle East were found in expected and unexpected spots. On our travels in South America we found a fascinating variety of animals. In China, the panda bears charmed us. While our Alaska visit added a different kind of bear encounter. Whale watching trips around the world were a tease until we were treated to the most amazing whale show.
Let us share some travel inspiration with our bucket list animal encounters around the world!
Chasing The Big Five In Africa
The Big Five animals are named for the 5 most dangerous animals – the African lion, African elephant, cape buffalo, rhinoceros and leopard. We saw 4 of the 5 Big Five on our game drives. But we were sad we missed leopards on our visits.
While the Big Five were exciting, we saw so many other animals on the game drives in Africa. Giraffes, zebras and hippos were all on our animal “to see” list. And we were not disappointed.
We were surprised we saw so many animals. Day trip game drives did not give us early or late day animal sightings. In the middle of the day, many animals hid from the sun. The game drives just whetted our appetite to try a real game safari. Of course, we are looking for that perfect glamping experience!
Camels In The Middle East
Our travels in the Middle East ticked off so many bucket list dreams. We started with iconic stops in Israel. Our experience floating in the Dead Sea was one we won’t soon forget. And the transit through the Suez Canal, took us to more treasures. We saw temples and tombs in Egypt and were awed by Petra.
Everywhere we went in the Middle East we found camels. At the awesome ruins at Petra in Jordon, we got our first up close view of camels. But who was watching who?
We saw camels again as we travelled in the UAE (United Arab Emirates). We even rode a camel at a desert adventure outside of Dubai. But that was a disappointing experience as we moved head to tail in a circle. One day we want to enjoy a more authentic experience overnight in the desert.
While we expected camels in the desert, we were quite amused when we found camels on the beach on our stay in Dubai for New Years. The camel rides went up and down the beach between the sprawled beachgoers.
Bucket list animal encounters with camels never gave us the experience we really wanted.
South America Added Many Bucket List Animal Encounters
We certainly expected animal encounters when we travelled around South America. As we cruised along the Amazon River, we even had some close animal encounters. In Manaus, we got in the water with the very unique pink dolphins. And in Boca Da Valeria a sloth drew everyone’s attention.
We visited Punta Del Este in Uruguay and the sea lions put on a show by the docks. Some of the sea lions waddled up on the deck. While others watched us warily. I am not sure I have ever found such a hairy sea lion!
Everyone seemed to have penguins on their list of animals to see when travelling. We travelled for many years and only saw them in aquariums or zoos. Our first encounter with “free” penguins came as we travelled along the cape in South Africa. There was a large colony of African penguins outside of Cape Town at Boulders Beach.
When we reached the Falkland Islands, we were not at all surprised when we found penguins at Bluff Cove Lagoon. We watched the playful Gentoo penguins as they shed and ran into the water. But the King Penguins really were the treat for us.
We had one final penguin encounter when we stopped in Punta Arenas Chile and visited Magdalena Island. The Magellanic penguins kept us entertained.
In San Antonia Chile we headed inland for wine tasting. But were delighted when we also got a great horse show that demonstrated the horse and riders skill. It reminded us of the Andalusian horse show we saw on our travels to Cordoba in Spain.
We sat and waited in the bay outside of Panama City after we were stranded by Covid in South America. But one day we got the most entertaining treat when dozens of golden rays put on a water show. Just one of our great memories of water animal encounters.
Our trip to South America was definitely a success with so many bucket list animal encounters. Our penguin adventures just whetted our appetite. We definitely need to work on scheduling our visit to Antarctica!
Panda Bears In Chengdu China
On our trip to China we were excited when we visited Chegdu. The Chengdu Research Base Of Giant Panda Breeding was a large park with many different panda areas. We saw baby panda bears as they nursed. Saw youngsters at play. And watched older panda bears as they worked through their daily supply of bamboo.
The panda bear visit may have been the cutest of the animal encounters we had travelling. They were definitely one of our bucket list animal encounters.
Bears And More On A Trip To Alaska
On our cruise to Alaska, we expected lots of animal sightings. But we were not always rewarded with great views. As we cruised along, we often saw whales at a distance. But we never got a close up sighting.
We booked an excursion on this trip in Prince Rupert British Columbia and were rewarded with awesome views of grizzly bears. Our small boat moved slowly along the shore and the grizzlies came out and played.
When we stopped in the channel on our way back, dozens of eagles descended around our small boat. We easily captured great action shots.
One day we will head back to Alaska and head inland for more bucket list animal encounters.
Whale Watching Around The World
We went whale watching around the world. On our whale watching trip in Monterey, we saw lots of tails. When we went whale watching from Steveston in British Columbia, we saw Orca whales as they bobbed in the distance. In the Azores Islands of Portugal, we chased the whales but only saw the whales at a distance.
We booked more whale watching trips and hoped for a much closer encounter. And on our whale watching trip in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, we were rewarded. We saw Orca whales at a distance. But the real treat was when two humpback whales crowded the boat and put on a show for hours.
Our last whale watching adventure truly was one of the best bucket list animal encounters. We may never have to go whale watching again!
Bucket List Animal Encounters Around The World
We had a wide range of bucket list animal encounters around the world. Many of our best memories of travelling reflected the animal experiences we had. Sometimes our encounters left us wanting more and our travel wish list got longer.
We saw animals in places we expected them. And had animal encounters in the strangest places. Many of our animal encounters happened under the water. And when we could not find live animals, we found so many fun and fascinating pieces of animal art.
There are still many more bucket list animal encounters on our travel wish list. Galapagos Islands remained on the list for encounters with several unusual animals. Who doesn’t want to see a Blue Footed Booby? Penguins were just one of the reasons that Antarctica stayed high on our list.
What places do you recommend for bucket list animal encounters around the world?
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