Going Wild: These 10 Exotic Animal Reserves & Sanctuaries Will … – TheTravel

Experience the wonders of nature and come face to face with some rarest animals when you visit these exotic animal reserves and sanctuaries.
There's something special about being in the presence of some of nature's most beautiful and exotic creatures. Whether it's witnessing the unstoppable power of elephants, the awe-inspiring grace of big cats, or the captivating elegance of primates, getting close to these animals in their natural habitats can be a life-changing experience.
For travelers looking to go beyond the traditional zoo or safari, there's no shortage of exotic animal reserves and sanctuaries where visitors can get up close and personal with nature. Here are 10 of the best destinations in the world to see amazing wildlife in their natural habitats.
Located just outside Chiang Mai, Elephant Nature Park is a sanctuary for elephants rescued from cruel logging, circus, and tourist-riding operations. Here, visitors get to witness the amazing social behavior of the elephants in their natural habitat as they roam freely through vast valleys, lush forests, and open grasslands. The elephant park also provides opportunities for volunteering and educational programs that help support local conservation efforts.
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The Maasai Mara National Reserve is one of Africa's most iconic wildlife reserves. Here, visitors can witness an incredible variety of African wildlife, including big cats like lions and cheetahs and large herbivores like wildebeest, elephants, giraffes, and zebras. The reserve’s grassy plains and rolling acacia woodlands provide a stunning backdrop for abundant wildlife.
Located in the village of Padangtegal near the town of Ubud in Bali, the Ubud Monkey Forest is home to a population of about 600 monkeys (external), commonly known as long-tailed macaques. The forest is also home to an impressive collection of temples and lush vegetation that provides a beautiful backdrop for visitors hoping to get close to these amazing primates.
Jaguar Rescue Center is located in Limon on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast and is home to a variety of rescued animals, including jaguars, pumas, ocelots, howler monkeys, sloths, and parrots. The center offers daytime guided tours that give visitors an up-close look at the animals, as well as educational programs about wildlife conservation and habitat protection.
Sri Lanka’s largest national park is also one of its most popular wildlife reserves. Home to the highest concentration of leopards in the world, Yala National Park is a fantastic place to spot these elusive cats in their natural habitat. The park is also home to a variety of other wildlife, including elephants, sloth bears, spotted deer, and wild boar.
The UK is home to renowned haunted hotels, charming seaside towns, and many other fantasy-like places to visit. But there are plenty of places in the UK made for animal lovers too. Located in Cornwall, The Screech Owl Sanctuary is home to hundreds of birds of prey, including owls, hawks, and eagles. Visitors can enjoy the sanctuary’s estate and admire the diverse species of raptors on display.
Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary is Australia's first and largest koala sanctuary. Here, visitors will get a chance to meet Australia’s most iconic animal – the koala – up close. The sanctuary is also home to kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, Tasmanian devils, and other species of native animals. The sanctuary offers a variety of interactive experiences, from educational talks to hands-on opportunities like cuddling with koalas and feeding kangaroos.
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Tiritiri Matangi Open Sanctuary is a pristine wildlife haven located offshore from Auckland. It’s home to some of New Zealand’s rarest and most endangered bird species, including the North Island brown kiwi, takahe, red-crowned parakeets, and little spotted kiwis. Visitors can take guided walks through the sanctuary and view these birds in their natural habitats.
The Gorongosa National Park is a wildlife sanctuary located in the heart of Africa and home to some of the continent’s most iconic species. Here, visitors can witness large herds of elephants, hippos, lions, giraffes, zebras, and other animals as they roam freely through the park’s savannah and woodland ecosystems. The park also offers guided safari tours, night wildlife spotting expeditions, and a chance to stay in comfortable, luxurious lodges.
One of the largest bird sanctuaries in the world, Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is home to more than 3,000 birds from over 200 species. Spread across 20 acres of lush green land; the park features a variety of natural habitats for its feathered residents. Visitors can observe different species of birds in their natural habitats and learn about conservation through educational programs.
Joshua is an avid traveler who’s been to just about every corner of the globe. He’s an award-winning photojournalist with a knack for finding beauty in everything. He enjoys writing about new experiences and sharing photos when not on the road.