There is something about a wildlife encounter that is truly engaging for travellers, whether its birding out in wetlands, watching bears from a hide, swimming with manatees, feeding baby Pandas, having breakfasts with orang-utans or spotting big game while on safari.
When talking about wildlife touring most people automatically think of Africa – and it is a reasonable jump – but there is all sorts of wildlife sightseeing out there available to the traveller looking to enhance their journey. As you can see from the above map there are locales all round the world that offer fantastic and unique wildlife encounters.
Lets just take a look at one region to start with .. the Middle East, one of the few places people think of travelling for Wildlife Sightseeing. From Persia through to Morocco there are some fantastic Wildlife sightseeing and visitations able to be done in this region and here are a few examples..
Egypt: Perhaps unexpectedly there is some unique wildlife sightseeing available in Egypt. While there are birding opportunities a plenty in Luxor and especially around the Cataracts in Aswan perhaps the most incredible location to see Birdlife and River Wildlife in Egypt is Fayoum and Lake Qaroun which is renown as a bird watchers haven. At Marsa Alam there are fantastic snorkelling opportunities to be had with people regularly finding themselves swimming amongst schools of Dugongs / Manatees as well as swimming side by side with Sea Turtles. The diving around Sharm El Sheik and Dahab is fantastic with an abudance of sealife to be discovered, and then from Sharm or Nieuweba one can always embark on a desert experience by Camel Back taking in the canyons, wildlife and historical sites of the Sinai.
Morocco: Is perhaps not always thought of as a wildlife destination but there is plenty to see and experience here. The Marine life is incredible but the Birdlife is renowned across the world with birdwatchers flocking to Souss-Massa National Park to see the birdlife including the endangered Bald Ibis. Desert Camel Treks are a fantastic way to encounter desert wildlife from Horned Vipersm to Golden Jackals, Jerboa and Gazelle. A visit to the Parc Zoologique National in Rabat will introduce you to the breeding programme for the Barbary Lion .. once popular in the Roman Arena but now hovering near extinction. A trekking tour to the Atlas mountains may give you chance to see the traditional range of the lions and the incredibly rare opportunity to see the Barbary Macaque .
Tunisia: Has a fantastic array of nature reserves where all sorts of wildlife sightseeing is possible. Chaambi National Park is known as a fantastic spot to see Barbary Sheep which were re-introduced to the wild in the 1980-s; as well as Cuvier’s Gazelle, and even possibly striped Hyenas. Bouhedma National Park is well known for the Scimitar Horned Oryx and Addax. Trips out into Jbil National Park is also the perfect place to encounter desert wildlife such as Jerboa, Gazelle and the elusive Fennec Fox. Finally for the lucky visitor occasional visits can be arranged to the El Haouria Bat Cave – though this is a rarity and never guaranteed.
Turkey: Is a popular destination for birdwatching with the Tarsus Mountains and Gosku Delta being a highlight with a variety of birdlife from lammergeier to flamingo can be found. Many of Turkeys Ancient sites such as Termessos are surrounded by parkland filled with animals such as wild pig, roe deer and more. Bear, Chamois, Wolf, Deer and Boar are still well populated in woods and forests in the north-east of Turkey though few tours run to these regions outside of hunting tours, though a few hardy travellers will from time to time hire experienced hunters in guiding them to see these animals in the wild.
UAE: The Falcon Rehabilitation Centre in Abu Dhabi, and the varying Falconry tours in the UAE have always been a popular way to see the interaction between the Birds of Prey and the locals in the UAE, but more recently, with the growth of human habitation in the area, the preservation of species such as the Caracal and Arabian Oryx have become alarmingly necessary and biological reserves such as the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve have become inimical to this preservation and are fast becoming highlights for those wishing to see desert wildlife in its natural habitat. For those unable to get to the UAE there are similar preserves in Bahrain and Qatar.
As you can see there is plenty of wildlife sightseeing options for The Middle East .. and more beyond that!