Category Archives: Africa & Egypt

Whale Watching

You catch the bubbles out of the corner of your eye. As you turn, you see the churning sea water smooth out for a quarter of second before the behemoth surges upwards, higher than its bulk should allow, arcing into the air with its white throat pleats glistening in the sun. As it lands with a roaring splash, a massive, forked tail flips up, hovers momentarily as if waving, and then slides back into the deep waters with a whispered gurgle.

Whether your name’s Ishmael or not, watching a whale surface is an unforgettable experience. Luckily it’s an experience you can enjoy in nearly 120 countries, yet these are our favorite spots.

Alaska – Like humans, whales love to sail through the cold, glacier-fed waters of the Last Frontier. While more than 20,000 Gray whales will swing by on the way to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi seas of Northern Alaska, Humpbacks are the real draw here. You’ll see quite a show when groups team together and form large circles to trap vast shoals of herring, and then propel themselves upwards with mouths wide open.

Australia – Whales, apparently, can’t get enough of Australia’s stunning coastlines and tropical waters. Nearly 60 percent of the world’s whales can be found here, more than 45 species, including Southern Rights, Minke whales, Blues and Orcas. Unlike Alaska, they come down under to breed and raise their young in the shallow, sheltered waters of the Whitsundays and Hervey Bay, where you can spot the grand creatures from viewing platforms placed along the coastal roads.

Dominican Republic – Christopher Columbus noticed whales in the DR’s Samaná Bay and Silver Bank areas back in 1493, and visitors have been returning ever since. In the clear, Caribbean waters, you can watch the gentle giants swimming peacefully among the corals, or, if you’re feeling brave, you can snorkel besides the 40-ton Humpbacks and peer into their dark, dinner-plate sized eyes.

South Africa – Watching Humpbacks and Southern Rights line up for an endless buffet of krill and sardines on the nation’s southern coach is, to some, even more rewarding that seeing African elephants and Cape buffalos on a game drive. You can often spot whales easily at outdoor cafes in the delightful company of a glass of Pinotage from Stellenbosch. For closer observation, head to Hermanus, the self-proclaimed whale-watching capital of the world, where your clothes may get soaked by whales breaching just a few meters from the seaside footpaths.

This excerpt is taken from our Travel Tips Quarterly. Check out our website and sign up for these informative newsletters along with alerts on specific sales to your favorite destinations. Or, give us a call at 618-687-2100 to find your dream vacation.

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Filed under Action/Adventure Travel, Activities, Africa & Egypt, Alaska, Asia & South Pacific, Caribbean

Visit the World’s Greatest Wildlife Destinations

Nothing compares to the once-in-a-lifetime moments you get to experience on a safari, wildlife cruise or National Park Hike. These moments, like watching a leopard stalk prey in Botswana or photographing a gaggle of penguins swimming in Antarctica, used to be nearly impossible (and expensive), since the areas were widely uncharted and remote. However, now, with more cruises and tours exploring these hidden wonders worldwide, there’s more chances than ever to watch wildlife dwell in their natural habitats. For the best viewing, visit one of these breathtaking destinations. These are from our Travel Tips Quarterly newsletter.

  • Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
    Located on the rugged shores of Hudson Bay in Northern Manitoba, Churchill is one of the few human settlements in the world that is also home to polar bears. Since they spend most of their summer hunting for food, the best time to view them is during the fall. The optimal way to experience the beauty of these bears is with a custom tundra buggy, which offers once in a lifetime chances to get up close and personal, while still remaining safe.
  • Chobe National Park, Botswana, Africa
    Chobe National Park in Botswana offers truly unspoiled views of Africa’s famed wildlife. On a game drive here, you won’t be met with other jeeps, but instead with views of warthogs, bush bucks, monkeys, lions, leopards and hyenas. A cruise along the breathtaking Chobe river offers a chance to see the marine mammals, like hippos and crocodiles.
  • Antarctica Peninsula
    Although it may be void of any human life, Antarctica is home to one of the largest populations of penguins, with over 40 million spread across the continent. Once uncharted, Antarctica is growing in popularity, and more cruise lines are adding the snow-capped glacial peaks and emperor penguin colonies to their itineraries.
  • Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
    This tiny archipelago off the coast of Ecuador has been an iconic destination for wildlife viewing for over 200 years. Thanks to more cruise lines charting the South American Coast, it’s much easier for anyone to view its many inhabitants, like the island iguanas, Blue-footed Boobies, giant green sea turtles, sea lions and more.
  • Great Barrier Reef, Australia
    Stretching over 1,616 miles off the coast of Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, comprised of 3,000 individual reefs, 900 islands and thousands of species of marine creatures, is one of the world’s greatest wonders. See the sharks, turtles, fishes and vibrant coral up close with a snorkel or dive.
  • Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, United States
    Aside from spewing geysers, gradient canyons and rushing waterfalls, Wyoming’s crowned jewel is also home to some of the country’s most spectacular wildlife. From black bears to bald eagles to bison and coyotes, this area is rich with a vast array of animals.

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Filed under Action/Adventure Travel, Activities, Africa & Egypt, Asia & South Pacific, USA