Combine your love of travel with your passion for all things four-legged with our travel guide for animal lovers…
Words Helen Brown
SWIMMING PIGS ON PIG BEACH, THE EXUMA CAYS
Pig Island; home to a happy little family of porkies in the Bahamas. It was happened upon a few years ago by photographer and ocean guide, Jim Abernethy, and has since become a global phenomenon. Eating, sleeping and swimming, these pigs have adapted to beach life and relish welcoming tourists to their island. No one seems to know how they made their way here to Big Major Cay. Local lore suggests they were the sole survivors of a pirate shipwreck.
FLAMINGOS IN CAGLIARI, ITALY
Head south of the Sardinian town of Cagliari for a spot of flamingo searching. Attracted by the mild Sardinian winter, flamingos are concentrated in the ponds around Cagliari. You’ll find a particularly large flock of pink in Molentargius and Santa Gilla.
QUOKKAS ON ROTTNEST ISLAND, AUSTRALIA
A quick Google search will show you why the quokka has a reputation as the “world’s happiest animal”. These nocturnal marsupials are the size of a cat and reside on Australia’s Rottnest Island. Part of the kangaroo and wallaby family, the quokka has become something of a tourist attraction. Visitors flock to the island for selfies with the happy chappies.
THE GREAT APES OF EAST AFRICA
Join expert primatologists on National Geographic’s Great Apes of East Africa Expedition. Here you’ll see mountain gorillas, colubus monkeys, beachcomber olive baboons and more in their natural habitat. The 13 day expedition will take you around Dian Fossey’s research station at Parc National des Volcans and teach you about the secret lifestyles of apes. The best part? Your educational tour is combined with more-than-comfortable accommodations along the way.
POLAR BEARS IN SPITSBERGEN, NORWAY
Jump aboard the research ship, Polar Pioneer for a cruise along the ice pack of Norway. You’ll see local seabirds, seals and most importantly — the polar bears who eat them. It’s not all about roughing it though. The European chefs on board the Polar Pioneer cook up some memorable meals. It’s a ten-day cruise that launches from Longyearbyen in Spitsbergen via TravelWild Expeditions.
GIANT TORTOISE ON THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
If polar temperatures aren’t your bag, a wildlife tour of the Galapagos Islands will certainly float your boat. Home of the fur seals and giant tortoise, it really is a once-in-a-lifetime trip. Stay in luxury resorts along the way and cruise in comfort on a ship once owned by Princess Grace of Monaco. International Wildlife Tours are the people to get you there.
BUNNY RABBIT IN ŌKUNOSHIMA, JAPAN
Hoppity-hop to Rabbit Island for a holiday that oozes cuteness. The Japanese island – it’s real name is Okun – is home to 300 wild rabbits, descended domesticated rabbits left here 40 years ago. You won’t have trouble spotting these furry friends. From the moment you step off the ferry expect a mass bunny swarm. Rabbit food is available from the visitor centre, but many people bring their own.