This place is called Hondo Hondo in the village because of the many hornbills which fly around the camp. The ensuite tents have great stone floor bathrooms and comfortable double beds so it feels like you are at home until you look out of the window or up from the bathroom - they are open air! When I had a shower there were monkeys in the trees watching me I am sure. The food is good and their bar has a good view up into the forest where we went walking in the morning. The forest is good for walking but very hot so make sure to take lots of water. A good place, very comfortable, and hidden from the rest of Tanzania
+255 (0) 784 479 427
Iguazu waterfalls is absolutely beautiful. If you can I recommend doing both the Argentinian and Brazillian side of the falls. We were lucky enough to see sunset over the falls and took a boat ride in front of the falls on the Argentinian side.
My family and I spent a wonderful day hiking with an exceptionally knowledgeable naturalist/ guide from Canadian Wilderness Tours. Our guide, Rosemary, selected a trail for us with breathtaking views. She helped us identify the flowers, birds (including some unique alpine birds like ptarmigan and rosy finches). We had never really been able to understand geology but Rosemary showed us how the layers in the mountain were actually ancient sea floor deposits; she even managed to find some fossil coral for us. Rosemary also gave us a lot of background history and real insight into her piece of the wilderness. Her enthusiasm was very inspiring. After reviewing hiking safety with us, including hiking in bear country, she gave us a personalized list of other walks and hikes she thought we would enjoy. Our day with her was well worth the money, the information we received from her greatly enriched our two weeks in the magnificent Canadian Rockies
+1 403 678 3795
On a work trip to Umea in February we experienced firsthand how the locals embrace the short but sunny northern Swedish days outside. The highlight was a trip to the Algen Hus (Elk House) 45 mins inland. Owner Christer introduced us up close to these huge but gentle animals then he and his son took us on a snowmobile safari. Not a low carbon activity but great fun! As the sun went down we walked into the birch forest and wearing nothing but (optional) swimsuits, entered a traditional sauna, a world away from the hotel version. Once warm we jumped into the outdoor, log fired hot tubs where we sat drinking Swedish beer until it was dark in the beautiful forest. It may have been -15 but we didn't feel a thing. Get someone else to drive home!
Central Park in Manhattan and Prospect Park in Brooklyn both have small zoos, but the real NYC zoo in wayyy uptown in the Bronx. (And no, you won't get mugged if you visit.) The Bronx Zoo is the largest urban zoo in the U.S. with some 265 sprawling acres. Go on a sunny day when you can take in all the different indoor and outdoor exhibits. If you're up for it, you can ride a camel. There's also a monorail through the park if you're tired of walking. General admission is normally $16 for adults and $12 for children. But if you go on Wednesday, you can pay what you wish. The Bronx Zoo is open weekdays from 10-5 and until 5:30 on weekends. To get there, take the 2 or 5 trains to East Tremont Ave/West Farms Square. Rowr!
2300 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY, United States
+1 718 220 5103
Google map: bit.ly/ojJNMD
* Amanda is our Been there local for New York. You can check out her page here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/new-york-local-amanda-green.jsp and her own NYC blog here: www.noisiestpassenger.com/
Located on the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific coast in Costa Rica. I spent a whole month on these two beaches during a gap year before university. Both are very laid back in their own way and unspoiled. Curu as a wildlife reserve is untouched and really basic. I was there for a conservation project and slept in hammocks on the beach. Montezuma when I went ten years ago was a bit of a hippy resort with plenty of cheap accommodation a long sandy beach and the biggest waves I'd seen.
Another post here describes why visiting the Pantanal wetlands is so special. At Barra Mansa that experience is pretty much guaranteed. Sitting right by the Rio Negro, you get to explore with guides by foot, boat, canoe and on horseback. The accommodation is of a good standard, but not so luxurious that it feels inappropriate in a landscape where nature is always dominant. The daily charge for room, full board and guided activities is affordable, but getting there is expensive or at least time-consuming (something like £1400 by private plane from Campo Grande, for up to for people; £400 for the five-hour journey each way in a 4x4). But the sense of travelling to the middle of nowhere even adds to the sense of glorious isolation - and the privilege to immerse oneself in one of the world's greatest wildlife zones.
We spent six months in South America and one of the highlights was the amazing wildlife in Ecuador. You don’t have to spend a fortune going to the Galapagos. We saw humpback whales on a boat trip off the coast at Puerto Lopez, as well as turtles, frigate birds, blue and red footed boobies and tropical fish on Isla de la Plata. Our trip to the Cuyabeno Reserve in the Amazon jungle was fantastic – we stayed in a great lodge for a bargain price and saw monkeys, tree frogs, tarantulas, scorpions, pink dolphins, caimans, anacondas, sloths, toucans and much more.
Hartleys is not just a croc farm, it is also a zoo. The tour of the farm, explaining the hows and whys of croc farming is interesting, the animals in the zoo mostly "inmates", ie crocs gone bad. The signs explain who they are and what they did to become prisoners! The visit also includes a boat ride with plenty of crocs and Aussie humour, and the reptile and crocodile shows are informative and fun.
Both the gift shop and restaurant are not overly priced and offer good quality products.
What turned out to be one of the most enjoyable trips we have made to Africa, arranged by Chris and Lynne at Go2Tanzania. I took over 5,000 images, Manyara Ranch was the highlight. We had a wonderful time thanks to the skill patience and understanding of our guide Njano. Followed by bliss on the beach at Fumba.
The Rock was the most fantastic experience we had in New Zealand as a family. It is an overnight boat trip which takes you out to the bay of islands where you can have a go at fishing, kayaking and looking at the night stars. We had a really nice meal and the kids were entertained by the young crew who were so friendly and attractive! We then drank in to the early hours and my husband played guitar with one of the crew.
The next day we could swim in the ocean and collect green lipped muscles which were cooked and eaten on board. Our daughter loved this and we saw her confidence grow as she swam in the water. We then moored up at one of the islands and went walking. As we kayaked back to The Rock we were joined by some dolphins which were very playful. We then headed back to shore. All in all one of the best things we have ever done and we met so many interesting people from all over the world.
El Lobo Wolf Park lies in the hills near the spectacular El Torcal National Park in the Malaga region of Andalucia. At the park you can do guided walking tours every day of the year (except Dec 25 and Jan 1) to see packs of four species of wolves who live in a very natural and spacious environment. Eye to eye contact with a wolf (they have marmalade eyes) is an unforgettable experience. In the summer you can reserve a place on a weekend Howl Night where you have a BBQ at sunset then join in howling with the wolves and Daniel, the German who founded the park and lives here. The best time, of course, on full moon nights. Wonderfully run, this is a great place for adult or child for only €9.50 or €6.50. Cafeteria, shop and petting zoo included (not wolves but Vietnamese pigs, hens, Bambi and foxes).
Ardmair Point isn’t just by the sea, it’s a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the crystal waters of Ardmair Bay, three miles north of Ullapool on Scotland’s west coast. The site is grassy and well-kept with all the usual facilities and a well-stocked shop; but it’s the location that makes it worth a visit.
The sheltered bay makes the perfect starting point for exploring the dramatic rocky coastline by kayak or boat. You can fish for mackerel, explore uninhabited islands, or just glide among the otters, porpoises and seabirds that live here in abundance. The campsite has a private pier and mooring for boats and you can launch kayaks from the beach. If you don’t paddle your own canoe, there are local boat trips to take you to see the wildlife or visit Isle Martin, a community-owned natural gem on the edge of the bay.
After a day on the sea or in the nearby Assynt hills, sit back by the tent and watch the sun turning the cliffs of Ben Mor Coigach gold until it sets late, late in the evening, over the Atlantic horizon.
Bacon and eggs with fresh Tanzanian coffee cannot get better than this. Kingfishers, herons, storks, sun birds, rollers, hippos, crocodiles. You will share your early morning with them all, enveloped by the astounding landscape of Ruaha National Park in Southern Tanzania. An AfrikaAfrika Safaris guide will spot each and every fascinating creature, revealing the scene in its full glory. This lesser known park offers an astounding array of wildlife as well as a range of bio zones that dazzle in their variety. Baobabs, those wise, ancient trees, punctuate the vista. Breathtaking
A great place to see as well as hear wonderful birds - nightjars. They look quirky, but it's their wing-flapping and especially their unusual call that's the great thing about them. They make a churring sound - churrrrrrr - that can go on for a long time! It can sound very spooky as they do this at night. The best time to see them is in May between 8 - 10 pm. Stay at Cliff House camping and caravan site and you'll be right on their doorstep!
Dunwich Heath, Dunwich, Suffolk
Google map: bit.ly/jHVFo7
An amazing place to view polar bears in the wild. It's on the frozen tundra outside Churchill, not a luxury hotel but a comfortable base for excursions out on the ice and across Hudson Bay to see these amazing creatures!
Colonsay is a beautiful small island off the west coast of Scotland. It has cliffs with seabird colonies, visiting sea eagles from Mull and abundant otters. Colonsay is one of the few places in the UK where choughs breed and corncrakes thrive due to careful land management. In summer basking sharks feed on the plankton in the coastal waters and whales and porpoise can also be spotted. With only a few hundred inhabitants you will usually have the place to yourself.
Despite the fact that I live in the middle of nowhere in the north of England I had my best view of a fox as I exited the London Underground at 10pm one summer's night. Reynard and me walked down the street together, me on the pavement and he in the middle of the road, completely nonchalant, as if he too were returning from a night at the theatre! Earlier that day I had visited the nearby Ecology Centre at Gillespie Park Nature Reserve where there are meadows, woods, ponds and hedgerows full of birds, apparently. The annual Gillespie Festival was in full swing so I didn't see much nature. How strange then to find it on the other side of the fence? We humans need our defined spaces for nature but wild things will not be contained!
191 Drayton Park, London, N5 1PH
+44(0)20 7527 4374
Google map: bit.ly/l4gc9l
In 2007 The Potting Shed just outside Aviemore was selected by RSPB members as “Favourite Bird Feeding Station in Scotland”. In the same year they were nominated as one of Britain’s Top 10 cake shops by the Guardian. This is, in actual fact, a plant nursery but a cake shop has been set up in what looks like the potting shed. Outside the shop is a feeding station which attracts an array of birds. This is the perfect kind of animal viewing: sitting with a large slice of peanut cake and a cup of tea while staring out of the window watching Red Squirrels, Chaffinches, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Robins, Crested Tits, Blue Tits and occasionally a Pine Marten.
You can walk up the see the Falls of Clyde where there is a manned area with telescopes by the Scottish Wildlife Trust. We saw the mother feeding her newly hatched chicks.
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