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Diversifying your tailormade wildlife holiday

As the UK’s leading specialist wildlife tour operator, we pride ourselves on designing the very best private tailormade wildlife holidays. Many of our clients choose to dedicate their entire holiday to the pursuit of wildlife encounters; however, we appreciate that you might like to diversify your precious time abroad with some cultural locations and experiences. Here we suggest a number of possible locations from various countries that can be incorporated into a tailormade itinerary, to make the most of your holiday time. Some of these need little introduction – we send many people to the Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu, for example. But we’ve also included some off-the-beaten-track sites as well. We hope you enjoy our selection!

Tiger Mountain Lodge, Pokhara

Tiger Mountain Lodge, Pokhara

Nepal
Kathmandu & Pokhara
Nepal’s capital city of Kathmandu is packed full of ancient monuments and temples, and, with most itineraries passing through this fascinating city, it is no wonder that many of our tailormade clients choose to spend a few additional nights here. However, if you want to spend time relaxing towards the end of your tailormade Nepal wildlife adventure, we would recommend a few nights in a luxury lodge that overlooks the jaw-dropping Himalayan mountain range of Annapurna. The Tiger Mountain Pokhara lodge is enviably located with uninterrupted views of this stunning vista, and is also well placed for light birding and hiking excursions directly from the lodge itself. So, if you want to finish your Nepal holiday off on a high, the Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is the perfect setting!

India
Varanasi

We’ve all heard of the Taj Mahal, which for many visitors is a ‘must see’ cultural site – especially for a first time visit to India. However, should you want to get a little off the beaten track you might like to take in the city of Varanasi. Quite simply, Varanasi is like no other settlement in the world. It is situated on the banks of the River Ganges, and is, according the Hindu faithful, the most sacred of all Hindu settlements. It is here that pilgrims from across the world come to bathe in the holy waters to absolve their sins – a ritual that happens on the famous ‘ghats’ or steps that lead to the water’s edge. This is a spectacle in itself, and is best witnessed from a boat in the early morning light. However, Varanasi is also a place where people come to die, and day and night funeral pyres burn along the river front.

Rock-hewn Church, Lalibela

Rock-hewn Church, Lalibela

Ethiopia
Lalibela

This UNESCO World Heritage site is located in the north of Ethiopia and is a popular addition to a wildlife holiday to the country. It is comprised of a series of ‘rock hewn’ churches, which have to be seen to be believed. Each church has been created by chiselling out the bedrock, and then hollowing out each individual church. Several of the churches are interconnected, meaning you can walk through the man-made underground tunnels to reach your next church. If this sounds a little too much, don’t worry – the churches are stunning even when viewed from ground level. We suggest a two to 3-night stay in Lalibela and our recommended accommodation is the Hotel Maribela, which offers commanding views of a spectacular valley where various impressive raptors (including Lammergeier) can be seen soaring past at eye level.

South Africa
Rorke’s Drift

If you are interested in military history then a visit to the famous battle ground at Rorke’s Drift would be an excellent addition to your South Africa tailormade wildlife holiday. The Battle of Rorke’s Drift took place on the 22nd and 23rd January 1879, when 150 British and colonial troops successfully defended the small garrison against an intense assault by as many as 4,000 Zulu Warriors. These days the battle grounds make for an interesting two to 3-night stop, with excellent local guides offering insightful discourse on the fateful events that took place on the battlefield. The wonderful Fugatives’ Drift is our preferred lodge in the area – it offers a very comfortable stay and excellent guided excursions. Birdwatching can be enjoyed in the grounds of the lodge and beyond.

Iguazú Falls

Iguazú Falls

Argentina
Iguazú Falls
The scale of Iguazú Falls is something to behold – a series of cascades stretching several kilometres with a mean annual flow rate of 1,760 cubic metres per second. The Devil’s Throat is the single most impressive of Iguazú’s many waterfalls, but there are quite literally hundreds of smaller cascades that make it such a special location to visit. Combine this with some of Argentina’s best birdwatching in the surrounding Atlantic Rainforest, and you have a location that certainly rates as one of the most breathtaking natural wonders of the world. The Falls span the Argentinian and Brazilian borders. However, for wildlife enthusiasts it is best to stay on the Argentinian side, as the birdwatching is superb and can easily be combined with relaxed visits to all of the main Falls attractions over a 3-night visit. La Cantera Lodge offers a great base from which to explore, although if you want a little luxury at the end of your Brazilian wildlife adventure, a stay in the lovely Loi Suites would be recommended.

To discuss any of the above destinations in more detail, please call Robin Smith, our Tailormade Holidays Manager, on 01962 733051 or email robin@naturetrek.co.uk