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The Ultimate Worldwide Wildlife Guide

From elusive pandas to captivating rhinos, the majestic polar bear to the adorable sloth, here's our guide to seeing the world's most incredible wil... Read more
The Ultimate Worldwide Wildlife Guide

From elusive pandas to captivating rhinos, the majestic polar bear to the adorable sloth, here's our guide to seeing the world's most incredible wildlife whilst on your ultimate adventure.




Where: Chengdu Panda Breeding Centre, China

What you’re looking for: The total world population of Pandas is less than 1000 and 80% of these are found within Sichuan Province. Located approximately 10km from downtown Chengdu, the Panda Breeding Research Centre is a well laid out park which is designed to resemble the pandas' natural habitat. Wide walkways through the park facilitate easy access to several panda viewing points. The pandas are separated from the public only by a dry moat and low fence so the experience is reasonably intimate. This is definitely not a zoo and the wellbeing of the pandas is the number one priority here – centres such as these help protect this rare bear, so we think it’s definitely worth a visit.

How to get there: Outside of Chengdu lies Minya Konka, the world’s highest peak that isn’t part of the Himalayan range. The trek to see it, situated on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, is magnificent and a true insight into Tibetan Culture. Finish this off with the chance to see the world famous panda breeding centre at Chengdu for an unforgettable adventure.



Where: Bhutan

What you’re looking for: A bright red crown atop the eponymous black neck of these stately four foot tall birds. These elegant creatures are a symbol of peace, revered by Tibetan Buddhists and migrate each year from the Tibetan Plateau to their Himalayan summer home, Bhutan’s Phobjikha Valley. They’re also extremely rare – experts estimate that fewer than 800 cranes still exist in the wild.

How to get there: Complete Bhutan’s Royal Orchid Trek – seeing the cranes in Phobjikha from late October to March each year will be a spectacular end to a beautiful journey. Specific departures will also allow you to attend the Black Necked Cranes Festival, where the locals throw a vibrant celebration of the arrival of the crane, with folk songs and masked dancers.



Where: The Himalayas

What you’re looking for: Also known as the Abominable Snowman, the yeti is a mysterious bipedal creature, steeped in legends which date back to the time of Alexander the Great and lives deep in the Himalayan Mountains. Some say to see one is a warning of impending danger – others that this is simply a furry beast who likes to keep itself to itself. Either way, keep your eyes peeled to be the first to spot one on a KE adventure...

How to get there: Any journey in the Nepal, Bhutan or Indian Himalaya will offer you the chance to see one but the more remote you are, the better your chances.





Where: Zambia and Tanzania

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What you’re looking for: Residing along the rivers and lakes of Africa, these majestic creatures are known as 'river horses,' deriving their name from the Greek language. Despite their inability to breathe underwater, they frequently seek refuge in water to escape the daytime heat. At night, they venture onto land to graze on grass and fruit. 
How to get there: Hippos are most commonly found in Zambia and Tanzania. Embark on our Great Southern African Lodge Safari which offers an unforgettable experience of canoeing in a mokoro through the Okavango Delta, where you can glide past majestic elephants and hippos.



Where: South Africa

What you’re looking for: In the safari world, the Big 5 are the lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. You’re unlikely to see them all together however you may spot a rhino in the morning, elephants in the afternoon and the others the following morning. Leopards are difficult to see as they blend into the bush and rhinos are increasingly few in numbers, endangered as they are. Seeing the Big 5 is however a small part of a bigger picture; encountering zebra, giraffe, skittish antelope such as kudu and springbok, warthogs and so much more make the full safari experience.

How to get there: Try a safari with a difference with our  Walking South Africa adventure, a unique chance to take in the world’s finest game reserves on foot with interspersed game drives to give you the best chance of spotting the full spectacle of South Africa’s wildlife. Our Wild Trans Kalahari Expedition visits 3 of Africa's most remote and wildlife-filled national parks giving you an excellent chance of spotting the Big 5. 



Where: Tanzania and Kenya

What you’re looking for: A clever twist on the famous safari icons, the little 5 help us appreciate the miniscule details of the natural world. You’ll be keeping a keen eye out for lion ant, leopard tortoise, elephant shrew, buffalo weaver bird and rhinoceros beetle.

How to get there: Our Tanzania wildlife safari will give you the chance to walk with local Maasai guides in the shadow of volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai. You’ll be much more likely to see these fascinating miniatures on foot than from a safari vehicle! On this adventure, you’ll also have a unique opportunity to visit the beautiful Lake Natron.



Where: Rwanda

What you’re looking for: Mountain gorillas are no easy subject to spot, which is why you’ll spend a day trekking through the forest, led by a specialist guide, tracking the group from where they were the day before. It might be a challenge to follow their tracks through the forest but the reward is an absolute privilege to behold – the special sight of these enormous creatures in their natural habitat. 

How to get there: The Ultimate Uganda and Rwanda Gorilla Safari which packs in as many unique primate experiences as possible, from mountain gorillas to chimpanzees in Kibale.



Where: Namibia

What you’re looking for: One of the rarest breeds of elephant, the desert elephant is smaller in size than standard and have wider feet, an evolutionary distinction developed from living in the sandy desert. They’re often seen with broken or worn tusks as they use these to dig through hard ground in search of water.

How to get there: Look out for these elusive gentle giants on The Great Southern African Lodge Safari – after a day spent in Namibia’s iconic petrified forest, you’ll spend the night in a tented lodge next to the dry Ugab River, where the desert elephant is usually seen. If you don’t have three weeks to spare, try our shorter Namibia Desert, Etosha and Caprivi Lodge Safari, a two week exploration of Namibia and Zambia.


Where: As you might have guessed – Madagascar

What you’re looking for: A cheeky ringed tail flying through the forest canopy. These wide-eyed, charismatic creatures are equally at home up a tree or on the forest floor, so you’ll have plenty of chance to catch some families on camera on a two-week journey through the Madagascar’s magical landscapes. There are 88 different species of lemur, only found on this one island, most likely due to the fact no other wild primates live there.

How to get there: The best way to explore is to Trek Madagascar. Your guide will help you spot different species and there’ll even be the chance to take a look at the Indri lemur, the largest and loudest type also known as the singing lemur – you’ll likely hear it before you see it!



South America


Where: Costa Rica 

What you’re looking for: Keep an ear out in the early morning and late evenings as you'll most likely hear the loud distinctive high pitch call of a Toucan, then look to the tree tops for this spectacularly distinctive colourful bird.

How to get there: You’ll be able to look for Toucans on any of our Costa Rica adventures, whether it’s Costa Rica’s Walks and WildlifeCosta Rica Pura Vida Cycling or the Costa Rica Family Adventure.



Where: Costa Rica & Panama

What you’re looking for: A subtle movement out the corner of your eye will direct your attention to a furry creature embedded in a jungle canopy – and you’ve found your sloth. You don’t have to worry about blinking and missing these bafflingly cute mammals who are too busy digesting their most recent meal to be swinging from tree to tree. An animal after our own hearts, their famously lazy mannerisms actually help hide them from predators! As does the symbiotic ecosystem which inhabits their fur and tinges it camo-green.

How to get there: You’ll be able to look for sloths by exploring Costa Rica’s Walks and Wildlife or journeying further along the isthmus into Panama as well.


Where: The Amazon, Peru

What you’re looking for: The largest river dolphin in the world, you’ll likely see a bright pink nose flaring out from the water as these playful creatures swim alongside your craft. They can be anything from mostly grey with a few pink spots to flamingo pink. Rather adorably, they actually have the same ability as humans to blush, becoming pinker when they get excited or happy.

How to get there: Journey down the Amazon in Peru on a riverboat adventure for your best chance of seeing these incredible water mammals. A trip up Choroyacu Creek will allow you the opportunity for a dip in the waters – meaning you might even have the rare chance to swim with them too.



Polar Regions


Where: The Arctic, Svalbard and Norway

What you’re looking for: One of the world’s most magnificent creatures, in one of the world’s most beautiful places. Known as the King of the Arctic and if you are lucky enough to spot one, you will see why. Whilst it can be tricky to spot a white bear on a snow-white landscape, our expert guides know the best areas and will help you experience this incredible natural wonder.

How to get there: Take a journey into the realm of the polar bear on our 10 day expedition cruise. Each day is an incredible wildlife experience, with the possibility to see arctic foxes, seals and walruses too. Our specialist staff will adapt the itinerary as they hear about sightings to give you the best chance of spotting your polar bear too.


Where: Antarctica

What you’re looking for: An abundance of different penguin species! Look for the iconic Gentoo penguin, the tiny but feisty Adélie, the elegant Chinstrap (named for the line beneath its bill) and the giant of the species, the King penguin, which grows to a mighty three feet tall.

How to get there: Depart from ‘el fin del mundo’, Ushuaia at the tip of Argentina, to embark on any of our incredible Antarctic polar cruises. Our 22 day epic journey in the footsteps of Shackleton is an unforgettable experience where you’ll also be able to spot whales, seals and seabirds.





Where: The Alps

What you’re looking for: Whilst you’re likely to spot other incredible creatures in the Alps such as the ibex, chamois or even red deer, the one that’s likely to pull at your heartstrings is this undeniably cute ball of fluff. Marmots are family creatures, living together in deep burrows and are most likely to be found chirping away on the side of the trails, spurring you on your way up the mountain.

How to get there: Any of our Alpine adventures, but we recommend the Tour du Mont Blanc, whether it’s our classic guided version with a group or going self-guided.


To find out more about our other incredible wildlife adventures, call us on +017687 29680 or USA/Canada toll-free 1888 630 4415

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