Cocos Islands, Pacific
These bizarre creatures swarm in this part of the Pacific Ocean in October, a spectacular sight for serious scuba divers; a live-aboard boat is probably the best way to get close.
Churchill, Hudson Bay, Northern Canada.
Excellent bleak scenery and cool animals – polar bears, caribou, wolves, whales and seabirds. Best March – November, especially October/November for polar bear migration. Avoid the rest of the year.
Wildlife on foot safaris
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
This huge and undeveloped country specialises in walking safaris that permit tourists to enjoy a wide range of animals safely without having to bump around in a 4×4. Best October, good July – September. and June for bird watching. Avoid November – April (rains).
Serengeti and Ngorongoro, Tanzania.
Monster safari parks with a huge diversity of animals. Best December-February, June-September with Serengetti wildbeeste and zebra migration around July/August. Worst time: March-May (rains).
Berenty Reserve, Madagascar.
This reserve allows tourists to get closer to those wacky little mammals, lemurs and May is when trees start dropping their leaves making lemurs are easier to spot. Best May-June, September-November. Avoid December-March.
The Pantanal, Brazil.
A vast wetland buzzing with more wild things than the Amazon, especially birds, snakes, crocodiles, iguanas, anteaters and more. Best July-October. Avoid December-May (rains).
Big for game, deserts, and dunes
Etosha National Park, Namibia.
Etosha hosts shuffling hordes of wildlife and permits easy viewing from three tourist camps at the centre of the action.
The Skeleton Coast offers the bleak, Cape Cross colony of 100, 000 seals. Best June-September, OK May, October.
Self-drive wildlife safari
Kruger Park, South Africa.
Kruger provides well-organised self-drive safari possibilities (no 4WD necessary) and many comfortable places to stay inside the wildlife zone, but book ahead.
Best June-September. OK May-October.
Orang utang Rehabilitation Centre
Kabili Sepilok Forest, Kalimantan, Malaysia.
Playing hide-and-seek with semi-wild orange critters through an ancient rainforest. Other animals range from monkeys to monitor lizards. Best July-October.
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Much of the Okavango Delta, with diverse habitats. Accommodation levels are high as are costs. Transport is frequently by boat and all the big five animals should be present as well as thousands of migratory birds. Best July-October or November – March for bird watching.