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Three Journeys of a Lifetime

December 2015/January 2016

These three places The Nature Conservancy helps protect are some of your best bets for extraordinary encounters with animals.

Watching rare or unusual wildlife in their natural habitats is one of the most memorable travel experiences you can have. What’s on your nature bucket list? Go far off the beaten path for wildlife experiences you’ll never forget. These three places The Nature Conservancy helps protect are some of your best bets for extraordinary encounters with animals.

 


1. SAFARI IN SOLITUDE

Kafue National Park, Zambia

Why Go

 

 Kafue National Park, the oldest and largest national park in Zambia, is also one of Africa’s less-known protected areas, making for a safari experience blissfully free of crowds. Kafue National Park and the surrounding game management areas form a 16-million acre areas—the largest conservation area in Zambia. Lions, cheetahs and wild dogs stalk the woodlands and plains. Elephants, zebras, buffalo and ante­lope congregate at shallow “dambo” wetlands, and hippos and crocodiles wade in the Kafue River, a tributary of the mighty Zambezi. 

 

What to Do 

Lodges ranging from rustic mom-and-pop operations to luxurious encampments offer the chance to view abundant wildlife and a dazzling array of bird species, whether on four wheels or two feet, by boat or even from a hot-air balloon. For a preview, check out a photo slideshow of the amazing web of life that depends on the Kafue River and the mighty Zambezi. 

Insider Tips from Patricia Mupeta- Muyamwa, Community Conservation Program Manager for The Nature Conservancy in Zambia

  • Go after the rains: “The best time to visit is the dry season, which goes from May to August,” says Mupeta-Muyamwa. Immediately after the rains, in May and June, the vegetation is green and the weather is beautiful.”
  • Don’t miss the High Plains: One of Mupeta-Muyamwa’s favorite places is the Nanzhila Plains, in the south: “It’s very quiet, with a raw, natural landscape where you feel like you’re the only one around. At sunset you can get the most beautiful pictures.” 
  • Head to the River: “Most of the lodges are built along the Kafue River, so you can do game viewing by car or by boat,” says Mupeta-Muyamwa. “I’ve seen the best wildlife on the river. You get leopards, lions, civ­ets, hippos and lots of croco­diles—it’s like a crocodile fest.”

Start your journey at nature.org/kafue  


2. DIVE INTO AN UNDERWATER WONDER

 

Republic of Palau

 

Why Go

 

Seen from above the tropical islands of the Palau archipelago resemble a miniature version of Earth itself: irregular masses of lush green surrounded by turquoise and cobalt waters. But it’s the life beneath the blue that makes the reefs of this Western Pacific nation one of the seven wonders of the underwater world.

 

Watch a video about why you should visit this magical and irreplaceable place in a video. 

 

What to Do

 

A thriving aquatic ecosystem, protected by the Palauan people with help from the Conservancy, cradles countless species of marine life that delight scuba divers and snorkelers alike. Watch kaleidoscopic fish flit through coral reefs; swim with blacktip and grey reef sharks; go deep in search of giant clams, sea caves, blue holes and World War II wrecks; or head inland to Palau’s marine lakes to drift among stingless jellyfish. 

 

Start your journey at nature.org/palau


3. BUILD YOUR LIFE LIST

 

Brazil’s Pantanal Wetlands 

Why Go

 

Brazil’s Pantanal wetlands—20 times the size of the Everglades—host a pageant of avian plumage flamboyant enough to rival Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. The wetland also provides habitat for more than 650 bird species, including cormorants, egrets, herons, hyacinth macaws, ibis, jabiru storks and roseate spoonbills.

 

What to Do

 

The Conservancy is helping to protect this bird-watching hot spot, where sightings of tropical species such as the toco toucan, hyacinth macaw and jabiru stork are all but guaranteed during the dry season, from May to October.

 

Start your journey at nature.org/pantanal

  

For more travel resources, visit nature.org/travel