Unforgettable safaris in Asia, Africa and the Arctic

From polar bear spotting to gorilla tracking

Mountain gorilla snacking on bamboo
Mountain gorilla snacking on bamboo | Image: Richard Denyer/Natural World Safaris

Gorilla trekking in Uganda Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is something of a ground zero for mountain-gorilla tracking. So it’s welcome news that Natural World Safaris has brokered this unique Ugandan experience: a full day (or more, for those willing and fit enough) spent with conservationists on habituation-research missions. This is not a cream-tea-and-sundowners iteration of safari (think trekking and more trekking, followed by prolonged crouching and silence), but the payoff – intimate, protracted proximity to one of nature’s great, and greatly endangered, animals – is an irreproducible wildlife encounter. Find out more about gorilla-tracking in Uganda here. MARIA SHOLLENBARGER

The view from a helicopter ride over the Okavango Delta flood plains, Botswana
The view from a helicopter ride over the Okavango Delta flood plains, Botswana | Image: Black Tomato
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Paddleboarding in Botswana The Okavango Delta is home to some of southern Africa’s most luxuriously appointed (and eye-wateringly pricey) camps and lodges. It’s refreshing, then, to see a back-to-basics take on the wilderness proposed by Black Tomato. After a swoop over the flood plains in a helicopter and sundowners on a deserted island, guests will embark on a three-day paddleboard safari, accompanied by guides from the flood plains in a helicopter and sundowners on a deserted island, guests will embark on a three-day paddleboard safari, accompanied by guides from the Bayei community and pitching up at fly camps along the way. It’s the ideal vantage point for appreciation of the delta’s smaller wildlife attractions, from fish shoals in the crystal-clear channel waters to purple-breasted rollers in the skies above. Read more about paddleboarding in BotswanaMARIA SHOLLENBARGER

Polar bears await guests at the Arctic Safari Camp in northern Canada
Polar bears await guests at the Arctic Safari Camp in northern Canada | Image: Arctic Kingdom
The Lebombo Lodge at Singita Lebombo, South Africa
The Lebombo Lodge at Singita Lebombo, South Africa | Image: Singita

Polar bear safari in the Arctic Natural World Safaris’ middle-of-nowhere tented Arctic Safari Camp in northern Canada is “African mobile camping on snow and ice”, says the tour operator’s founder Will Bolsover. The tents, available from May to the end of June, are constructed on the ice floe’s edge, and the eight-day fly-camping trip, led by Inuit guides who used to be hunters, affords plentiful opportunities to see polar bears and narwhals. To read our feature on fly-camping safaris, click hereSOPHY ROBERTS

Meghauli Serai wilderness lodge in Nepal offers opportunities to track leopards and rhinos
Meghauli Serai wilderness lodge in Nepal offers opportunities to track leopards and rhinos | Image: Meghauli Serai
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Uber-luxe lodges in South Africa When Singita Lebombo opened in South Africa’s Kruger National Park in 2003, safari as we know it was turned on its head; in place of tents were breathtaking glass-and-steel boxes, cantilevered thrillingly out over the N’wanetsi River. Singita has now debuted a top-to-toe reinvention of Lebombo, with several new one-bedroom suites, as well as a sprawling private family villa in which each suite boasts its own pool. The enduring appeal of this concession, however, will be as one of South Africa’s most remote and game-rich sites–a genuine drill-down wilderness experience. Read more about Singita Lebombo hereMARIA SHOLLENBARGER

Tracking tigers and rhinos in the Himalayas Situated in Chitwan, a World Heritage Site-designated park in Nepal’s lush Terai lowlands, is Meghauli Serai – Taj Hotels, Resorts and Palaces’s latest camp, and its sleekest to date. With the outer Himalayan Sivalik range as its stunning backdrop, it offers tiger safaris, as well as ample opportunities to track leopards and, less expectedly, rhinos, of which Chitwan has a thriving population. Click here to find out more about Meghauli SeraiMARIA SHOLLENBARGER

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