30 wonderful wildlife holidays for 2021

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Exodus (020 8772 3936; exodus.co.uk) is offering a photographic expedition on board the Ocean Adventurer – an ideal vessel for exploring Arctic waters – departing June 10. Led by award-winning Paul Goldstein, it has polar bears as the focus. Prices from £5,995pp, including flights from Oslo to Longyearbyen but excluding flights from UK to Oslo.

9. Whale shark

Capable of growing to more than 40ft long, these gentle giants with the polka-dot bodies are the biggest fish in the sea. Their mouths can be nearly 5ft wide – just as well they are totally harmless filter feeders. Swim with them at Australia’s North West Cape and the world-famous Ningaloo Reef, along with manta rays, reef fish and humpback whales.

Dive Worldwide (01962 302087; diveworldwide.com) offers 16 days in Western Australia from £3,795, based on two sharing and including flights. Departures between April and August, the best time for whale shark encounters.

10. Puma

Also known as the mountain lion – a perfect description for Chile’s apex predator when seen beneath the snaggle-toothed skyline of Torres del Paine National Park. This is by far the best place to see them, together with the guanacos that are their favourite prey and the condors that circle overhead.

Naturetrek (01962 733051; naturetrek.co.uk) is offering an 11-day Pumas and Penguins trip to Chile, departing Feb 5 2022. It includes four nights in Torres del Paine and a visit to the king penguin colonies of Tierra del Fuego. Prices from £4,995, including flights.

11. California grey whale

Once hunted to near extinction, grey whales have survived to become the focus of a million-dollar industry as tourists flock to Mexico’s San Ignacio Lagoon. Situated on the Pacific coast of Baja California, the pellucid waters resemble a giant aquarium in the Vizcaino Biosphere Reserve where these 40-ton animals come to breed every winter. “To have so many around your boat is probably the greatest whale-watching spectacle on earth,” says Chris Breen of Wildlife Worldwide.

Wildlife Worldwide (01962 302086; wildlifeworldwide.com) offers nine-day whale-watching trips to the Baja in February 2022, from £3,995pp sharing, excluding flights.

12. Ring tailed lemur

Imagine a tropical island bigger than France. That is Madagascar, renowned for its unique wildlife. Chameleons, frogs, endemic birds and more than 110 species of lemurs, ranging in size from the pygmy to the indri. Most familiar of them all is the adorable ring-tailed lemur, found in Isalo National Park and the Anja Community Park.

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