There are many things to love about traveling, but my favorite thing about traveling is spotting wildlife. Now, don’t get me wrong, I said my favorite. For someone who dedicates their life to traveling and has a personal ambition of seeing every continent, that’s putting it at 1A versus 1B versus 1C, etc…
If you’ve ever been on one of my adventures, you know how excited I get to do a safari or hike through the wilderness looking for some animal in its natural habitat. I get such a rush from seeing a lion feeding on a gazelle or a gorilla cuddling its youngest family member or a pair of bear cubs wrestling while their mother is just a few meters away.
The thing about spotting wildlife is that it takes patience and persistence. Yeah, you could go to some of these resorts in Africa where they guarantee spotting the “Big 5”, but where’s the challenge in that??? Coming across one of these unique and beautiful animals is such a chance encounter. One moment their in plain sight and the next they have disappeared two steps into the bush.
***The first part of this some may think is hokey or ridiculous, but I started this back when I was an athlete and so many people speak of visualizing and verbalizing success. So, why shouldn’t it work here? If you come on one of my adventures we can discuss my personal philosophies more in depth.***
The first thing I ask of my fellow travelers, “What do you want to see most?” Putting that energy out in the air is integral to achieving their wish. Once it has been verbalized, myself and the others in the group visualize the reality too. Now, it’s not just your wish to see a mother and two cubs feeding, it’s the group’s.
WRITER’S NOTE: This can get out of hand and some people get a little extreme with their requests, like a German passenger who wanted to see a killer whale (fine there) chasing and catching a seal (still ok), then playing with it and throwing it in the air before it eats it!! (A little extreme for a day tour.)
Wandering through the wilderness during early morning light and just before sunset give you the best time to spot wildlife. The animals are most likely to feed during these times when the weather is cooler and their natural camouflage can allow them to sneak up on their prey.
Look for disruption in the pattern of the landscape. Take your time and scan to see irregularities in rock formations, vegetation or water surfaces. Look for shapes that are “out of place” in the texture of the environment. Most of the times the animals are moving slowly, grazing from place to place. Train your eyes on are area and look for slight movements.
Also, look for color variations and contrast. Many times animals move along the edges of varying habitats and that can mean their normal camouflage will actually make them more visible.