If you have a love of animals, visiting a reserve is an ideal way to see magnificent creatures in their own habitat. Unfortunately, past human interaction has not been kind to many animals, but reserves are working tirelessly to better educate locals and tourists to make sure many species do not become extinct.
Reserves promote conservation and rehabilitation and a visit there can be a life changing experience.
Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa
Established in 1992, this eco-tourism game reserve incorporates preserving wildlife, as well as housing a rehabilitation centre for distraught animals. With over 5,000 head of game roaming freely, this reserve was responsible for re-introducing lions to the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Accommodation ranges from luxury safari tents to sleek lodge accommodation. A game ranger will take you on a three hour safari where you can take in all this magnificent reserve has to offer.
The National Bison Range, Moiese, Montana, USA
Established in 1908, this picture-perfect reserve is bursting with open grasslands, clear ponds and thick forests. This is an ideal place for photographers. With up to 500 bison roaming over 18,500 acres, this is an great location to view bighorn sheep, coyotes, black bears, antelope and elk in their natural environment.
Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Borneo
Set up in 1964 originally as a rehabilitation centre for baby orang utans, this lush forest reserve enables tourists and researchers to get up and close to these charming animals in their natural habitat. There is a viewing and feeding platform, which often attracts the noisy long-tailed macaques as well. If you are looking for adventure, take a trek through the mangrove forest. There are forest chalets available for overnight accommodation.
Encounter Mara, Kenya, Africa
If you have a yearning to see the Great Migration, where over a million herd animals such as wildebeest and zebra, make the treacherous journey across the Mara River on their way to the Masai Mara, this is the perfect spot to stay. You can make your base in the spectacular Mara Naboisho Conservancy where luxury safari tents overlook the stunning savannah. With strong ties to community based conservation, this reserve promotes low impact tourism and provides employment to locals. You can also enjoy cultural interaction, photography workshops, guided bush walks and 4 x 4 safaris.
Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala, South India
This reserve is home to tigers, as well as elephants. Conservation and surveillance of vulnerable areas of the reserve is diligently undertaken by the local communities. With magnificent mountains and plateaus towering above dense forests, this is nature at its rawest. You can stay awhile in the Bamboo Grove, Jungle Camp or Jungle Inn. There are many eco-tourism programmes on offer, such as tribal guided nature walks, trekking, bamboo rafting and taking part in the adventurous tiger trail, which uses ex-poachers as dedicated guides. Many former hunters have become protectors of this fragile part of South India.
If a visit to a reserve is top of your list, My Adventure Store can help plan the perfect trip for you. Their travel experts have been to all parts of the globe and can tailor make a visit to any amazing animal reserve. They can advise you of the best season to go and can help choose the right accommodation for you as well.
By Zoe Hilton