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Wildlife spotting:
A month-by-month guide

From swimming with manta ray in the Maldives to spotting gorilla in Uganda, we go in search of some of the world’s most rare and exotic wildlife on our small group tours. Here's our guide to the best times of year to spot some of the most popular species.


January - Penguin Chicks, Antarctica

January is one of the best times to visit Antarctica. Not only will you benefit from long daylight hours, but this is prime penguin-hatching season. Look out for the fluffy grey feathers of Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo chicks taking their first steps out onto the vast ice floes and snow-covered beaches. Watch youngsters scurrying around after their parents, vying for food, or snuggling up on their feet for some much-needed warmth and shelter from the icy-cold winds. 
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February - Elephant, Sri Lanka

Get up close with elephant in Sri Lanka’s Udawalawe National Park. Home to large herds of these gentle giants, the park is not only one of the best places spot elephant in the wild, but it also has a care centre where orphaned elephant are nursed before being released back into the park. Watch from a viewing area as the young offspring are fed and learn about how they came to be here. 
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March - Resplendent Quetzal, Costa Rica

One of the best times to spot the rare resplendent quetzal is during its breeding months of March and April. Costa Rica is one of the last havens in Central America where the habitat of this iridescent bird has been well preserved, and sightings are fairly common during these months. Your expert tour leader will help you look out for its green-blue feather tail and red belly as it feeds on nuts and berries hidden within the trees of the lesser-known Savegre cloud forest.
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April - Manta Ray, Maldives

Join our relaxing dhoni cruise through the Maldives to uncover an exotic underwater world of vibrant coral, thriving reefs and an array of marine wildlife, including mighty manta ray. Large squadrons of these gentle ocean giants are attracted to feed on plankton. Dive in and swim alongside these majestic creatures as they glide gracefully just below the surface of the crystal clear aquamarine waters.
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May - Black and brown bear, Canada

Spring in Canada sees black and brown (also known as grizzly) bears coming out of hibernation and down from the mountains to eagerly fill their hungry bellies. The best place to spot bears is on the western side of Canada, particularly in British Columbia. Bears are frequently spotted by the roadside in May feasting on dandelions. Or take one of our trips that visits Vancouver Island and you'll have the option to go bear-watching by boat, to spot bears scavenging for seafood along the coastline of the forest-clad islands. 
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June - Leopard, Botswana

A trip to Botswana wouldn’t be complete without a couple of days exploring the Moremi Game Reserve. Home to a diverse landscape of fertile floodplains and rare wildlife, we’ll head out on a game drive in search of the Big Five, including the elusive leopard. The beady-eyed amongst you will recognise its unmistakable spots, expertly camouflaged within the golden grasses, or draped over the sun-blanched branches of a tall tree. 
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July - Puffins, Iceland

Make the most of long daylight hours with a circumnavigation of Iceland’s famous Ring Road in the summer. En-route, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the old trading village of Djupivogur set within the glacial-carved Eastern fjords and home to the much-loved puffin. Look out for vast colonies of these charming black and white birds with distinctive blood-orange feet and beaks as they tend to their nests precariously balanced on the jagged cliff edge. 
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August - Mountain Gorilla, Uganda

You’ll never forget the first time you come face to face with a mountain gorilla in its natural habitat. We set out on foot into the dense undergrowth of Uganda’s Bwindi National Park in search of these beautiful wide-eyed and endangered creatures. The dry season, from December to March, is the best time to spot gorilla in the wild, as they tend to visit the watering holes more often, increasing our chances of a sighting.
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September - Whale Watching, South Africa

For some of the world’s best shore-based whale watching, head to Hermanus, South Africa between July and November. Southern right, bryde and humpback are just some of the species of whale that are frequently spotted here. Wander up the coastal path for a good vantage point atop of the weather-beaten ocean cliffs, or book a boat trip for a closer view. Not sure where to look? Listen out for the town’s ‘whale crier’ whose bellowing horn indicates that a pod of whales are nearby.
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October - Bengal Tiger, India

India’s national wildlife parks will give you countless opportunities to seek out the regal stripes of a Bengal Tiger in the wild. Whether exploring by boat, four-wheel drive or on foot, tigers are top of our list of mammals to spot on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Following the monsoon rains, the landscape will be lush at this time of year, giving tigers more places to hide, but the climate will be more comfortable than during the sizzling heat of summer. 
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November - Olive Ridley Turtle, Nicaragua

Visit La Flor Beach on Nicaragua's Pacific coast and you're in for a special wildlife experience. Thousands of Olive Ridley turtles arrive during certain nights between August and January to lay eggs at this one specific beach, which is a protected wildlife reserve. Take our Land of Lakes and Volcanoes trip at this time and you'll hopefully get to witness the incredible sight. As a large number of adults will have already nested you may even get to see tiny baby turtles hatching and making their way to the sea.
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December - Bird-watching, Senegal

For a winter getaway with a difference, travel to the vast wetlands of Senegal’s Djoudj National Park. As a popular water stop for migratory birds flying over the Sahara desert, the park is widely regarded as one of the most important bird reserves in the world. Cruise along a labyrinth of thriving waterways leading from the Senegal River and look out for large flocks of pelican ducking and diving in perfect formation. We also hope to see heron, white-breasted cormorant, Egyptian geese and West African fish eagles. 
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