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Top wildlife experiences to mark World Wildlife Day 2019

Travel experiences

1st March, 2019

Sunday March 3, 2019 celebrates World Wildlife Day – an annual celebration dedicated to the survival of the world’s flora and fauna. This date marks the 1973 adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which seeks to protect species from the threat posed by international trade. On December 20, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly declared this adoption World Wildlife Day.

Under goal 14 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, this year’s theme is Life Below Water: For People and Planet – raising awareness of threat to marine wildlife as a result of pollution and over exploitation. Last year’s theme was Big Cats – focussing on the conversation of species like leopard, jaguar, lion and tiger.

To mark World Wildlife Day this year, we are looking at travel experiences with a wildlife focus. At Saga, we are passionate about conservation and sustainable travel and we have a host of holidays where you can see some incredible species in their natural habits and have the chance to support conservation projects.

Here are some of our top picks for wildlife experiences:

Orca cruise experience

A humpback whale breaking the water's surface

We have partnered with ORCA, an organisation dedicated to understanding and protecting sea life, to create a number of wildlife cruises across Scandinavia, Iceland and other areas of the Arctic Circle. On these special cruises, the ORCA team will be onboard to conduct talks and deck watches, where you will learn about and spot dolphins, whales and porpoises, as well as many types of seabirds.

Optional excursions are available to get you even closer to the wildlife. Some of the species you may encounter include humpback whales, basking sharks, bottlenose dolphins, orcas and ringed seals.

Find out more about our ORCA cruise experience.

Caribbean rainforest experience

Male frigatebirds put on a display

The Caribbean is renowned for being a tropical paradise, with kilometres of idyllic white sandy beaches. But its luscious green rainforests are often overlooked. The Caribbean was once completed covered in rainforest, but much of this was cleared following the arrival of Columbus in 1492 and continues to diminish to make way for plantations, although reforestation programmes are becoming more widespread.

On our month-long Tales of the Caribbean cruise voyage, you can explore islands such as Antigua, St Kitts and Grenada, taking a trip into the rainforests to spot species of exotic birds. You can even take a zip-line over the rainforest in St Maarten’s.

The big five safari experience

A lion cub cuddling with its mum

Think wildlife and an African safari definitely crops up as a bucket list travel experience. The big five of Africa includes lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo and some of these are certainly more elusive than others.

Your best chance at seeing one or more of the Big Five, is to embark on a safari tour, where you will have several game drives included, to known places where these animals frequent. These drives will often take place at sunrise or sunset.

Our Cape Winelands and Big five tour combines an adventure-fuelled safari in Pilanesberg National Park with relaxing vineyard tours in Franschhoek.

The orang-utans of Sepilok

A baby orang-utan

The rainforests of Borneo are truly stunning. They are a botanical lovers dream, home to exotic plants, birds and mammals. It’s said to be one of the most diverse habits in the world, yet it’s experiencing an alarmingly fast rate of deforestation as a result of the production of timber, palm oil, pulp, rubber and minerals. Many of its species are under serious treat, including the indigenous orang-utan.

On our Borneo Rainforest Adventure tour, you visit two wildlife conservation projects that rehabilitate animals with the goal of returning them to the wild. One is the Sun Bear Conservation Centre, the other is the Sepilok Orang-utan Centre.

Birdwatching in Spain

Spot heron in Huelva Donana National Park

Spain is a paradise for birdwatching. Due to its location, where Europe meets Africa, it’s the perfect place to view birds on their migratory paths, with parts of coastal Spain being ideal resting places. One of the key areas to spot birds is Huelva.

Discover some great birdwatching areas including the Doñana National Park and the Marismas del Odiel, where we include a number of excursions, led by a wildlife host. As well as migratory birds, you will look for birds of prey and waders of the wetlands.

Find out more on our Birdwatching in Huelva holiday.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.