Photo Essay: Travel Bloggers Share Their Favorite Animal Encounter
Do you have a favorite animal encounter that took place while traveling? Something extraordinary that would never have happened at home? We proposed this question not only to ourselves, but to other travel bloggers, as well. The answers we received is the result of this photo essay on travel bloggers favorite animal encounters while traveling.
Kimmy & Drew of AfterGlobe
I kept telling Drew how much I wanted to swim with the honu, Hawaiian for sea turtle. He never seemed that interested. That was until we were snorkeling and a giant sea turtle swam up to us. We couldn’t resist swimming along with him. He glided through the water with such ease, without a care in the world, looking over at us from time to time. It was so peaceful and angelic. An unbelievable experience of an incredible bucket list item. When he was ready to move on, he pushed forward, swimming away faster than we could have even dreamed to keep up.
Debbie & Darcy of World Adventurists
Getting up close and interactive with animals was a big part of our decision to go to South Africa. We were thrilled to learn you could join the Cheetahs on their walk and interact with them. It is truly an intimate encounter; a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to look at life through the eyes of an endangered creature. It was amazing to hear its vocabulary of rumbling purrs and sharp bark-meow cries, and watch, as this amazing animal acts on its natural instincts. Knowing little about Cheetahs beforehand, it was great for an educational experience as well. The Cheetahs were quite big, with stunning eyes you don’t want to stare into (they interpret it as a challenge) and very gentle fur. It was an incredible, unforgettable animal encounter.
Jessica of Suitcases and Sippy Cups
Crystal River, located 10 miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico and fed by numerous freshwater springs large and small, is a unique habitat for wintering manatees. At a constant 72 degrees, the water temperature is the perfect spa for the tropic loving giants and an equally welcoming atmosphere for travelers who want a chance to get up close and personal with the cows of the sea. The commitment to protect the area and keep it a wild habitat for the endangered species makes the experience of swimming along the gentle giants even more special. Rather than a petting zoo or theme park feel, the experience allows visitors to transcend the human world for a few moments and be welcomed as a guest in the world of the manatee.
Jeff & Erin of A Week or a Weekend
This photo was taken on a game drive in Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park. We were traveling early in the morning and spent several minutes watching two elephants “playing with trees.” One elephant would use its head to move the tree trunk to shake leaves out of the tree, then hoover them up with its trunk. The elephant pictured, of which we had a bird’s-eye view due to its proximity to the road and our standing up in the Land Rover, was rubbing its tusks, ears, face and head on the branches of a second tree. The elephant was not at all fazed by our vehicle. It was an awesome experience being able to watch these giants in the wild.
Danielle of Trek Snappy
Having held Teddy the koala at a Wildlife Sanctuary in Australia, stood 10 feet away from a komodo dragon on Rincha Island, Indonesia, and fed and bathed elephants at a Rescue Centre in Thailand – it was a difficult choice deciding upon my favourite animal encounter.
All of the above were amazing ‘bucket list’ experiences – but my ultimate encounter with an animal would have to be with Isobel the dolphin, whilst on honeymoon in Mexico in 2006.
It was a paid for experience at the Dolphin Discovery Centre in Puerto Aventuras on the Riviera Maya, but one that was worth every penny. The whole experience from start to finish was amazing as myself & husband, Wayne, got to swim with her and feel her delicate soft skin, which did not feel rubbery at all! She even posed for the photograph! Dolphins are incredibly intelligent creatures and it was an epic experience to be up close and personal with one.
Shara of SKJtravel
I volunteered in South Africa taking census data in a Big 5 game park, which required walking through the park each day with an armed ranger for protection. We’d been told we must be in good enough physical condition to run and climb trees. In the end, I did not have to climb a tree (though other volunteers did), but I had several heart-thumping experiences at extremely close range. Coming eye to eye with rhinos was terrifying and exhilarating. I’ve done a lot of adrenaline-oriented activities in my life, and there is nothing comparable to the kind of adrenaline that courses through your veins when faced with an enormous wild animal that can decimate you in seconds. A unique thing about a rhino encounter is that if there’s no tree to climb, your best bet is to remain perfectly still (they have very poor eyesight) and pretend you ARE a tree, which goes against every fiber of your instinct to run. Probably the most will power I’ve ever exerted in my life was to obey my ranger silently mouthing to me, “Don’t move!”
Megan of Where in the World is Megan Claire?!
La Jolla Cove in San Diego is one of the most amazing settings in the world, and the location of my favorite animal encounter. The Cove has become home to California’s largest seal and sea lion population and I have never experienced a sea lion/seal colony anywhere like this in the world! Literally hundreds of these gorgeous creatures inhabit the beach and cliff faces of La Jolla, and as the cove is free and completely open to public access you can walk to within meters of the animals…you’ll smell and hear them first though!
Vanessa of Turnipseed Travel
I’m an ocean lover. I grew up on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and spent every summer on the beach, collecting seaglass, shells, driftwood, and sand dollars. I’ve walked the shores of Europe, Africa, and America, but I had never seen a starfish before. Why did they insist on eluding me?!?!
It was a trip back to Nova Scotia and a visit to MacDonald’s Cove, a small, community-run preservation site beach, that made a dream come true. This tiny beach – now my favourite in the world – was covered in starfish at low tide. I couldn’t believe my luck! We were careful not to touch them as we scooped them up with a hefty amount of sand to get a closer look. The oceans hold such beautiful, diverse animal life and a walk by the shore or a session of snorkeling helps to reveal a hidden world of amazing creatures.
What’s your favorite animal encounter that you’ve had while traveling?
All AfterGlobe photography by Kimmy Hayes and copyrighted under her name. All photos provided by contributors are property of their owners.