When most people think of wildlife travel, they think of African safaris – but a new study puts the US at the top of the wildlife travel list, meaning that nature lovers may not have to go so far from home to get a glimpse of animals in their natural habitats.
Safaris and nature reserves have long given travelers a great way to experience a new place in a different way, spending time in the wild and (hopefully) getting a glimpse of some of the most magnificent creatures in the world.
Of course, to get to see these incredible animals, most people believe that it’s necessary to travel far from home… and that’s rarely cheap. However, wildlife travel doesn’t have to mean expensive African safaris. A new index puts the good old USA at the top of the list for global wildlife travel destinations, bringing amazing sightings (and photos) closer to home.
This Global Wildlife Travel Index was created by True Luxury Travel, based on a number of factors including biodiversity and conservation efforts. The USA nabs the top spot in this index, followed by Venezuela, Brazil, Thailand and Tanzania rounding out the top five. The Index also takes Natural History Museums and National Parks into consideration for its ranking, with these two factors playing a big part in the United States’ ranking as the best in the world.
Canada and Australia also managed to make the top ten, with some surprising high entries including European destinations Croatia, Italy and Sweden in the top twenty. Many traditional safari destinations such as South Africa, Kenya and Zambia also ranked highly, although not as high as some would expect, given the popularity of wildlife tourism there.
Of course, any ranking of travel destinations is going to be a matter of opinion, especially when it comes to wildlife travel.
Some of the elements considered in this index (like National Park Pioneers and Natural History Museums) may not be something that travelers want to consider if they are desperate to get some photos of giraffes in the wild. Even National Parks may not appeal to adventure travelers if they want more of a guarantee that they will spot wildlife, which traditional safaris are usually able to offer. However, it’s fantastic to see the beautiful National Parks and many conservation programs in the US being given full credit, and the country being praised as a travel destination for more than the big cities.
BY ROSE MOORE