There's no feeling quite like getting up close to some of the world's most amazing animals in their natural habitats. From walking with elephants in Thailand to spotting gorillas in the Rwandan jungle, we've compiled a selection of experiences around the world that offer truly unforgettable and sustainable wildlife encounters.
Lapa Rios Lodge, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
Set on the Osa Peninsula, this immersive lodge is hidden within 1,000 acres of rainforest, where you can discover an array of wildlife in one of the most bio-diverse places on earth. Each open-air bungalow and villa has been uniquely designed for total harmony with the undisturbed natural environment and built with a commitment to sustainability that ensures minimal impact.
Led by world-class guides boasting almost 50 years of cumulative experience, wildlife tours give you chance to spot spider monkeys, sloths, bats, armadillos and perhaps even spot one of the more elusive big cats including pumas, ocelots and jaguars. There have also been over 300 bird species spotted at Lapas Rios, along with an array of reptiles, amphibians, lizards and colourful insects. Dolphins and turtles can also be spotted off the coast.
The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Leading the way in sustainable, barefoot luxury, The Brando is located on the postcard-perfect private island of Tetiaroa, surrounded by powdered white sand and the brilliant blue of a tranquil lagoon. The isle was once chosen as the personal retreat for Marlon Brando, explained by the actor as "beautiful beyond my capacity to describe".
Committed to both preserving and celebrating the natural beauty and wildlife of the atoll, naturalist guides host various excursions - including a bird discovery tour, a reef quest and an exploration of Motu Onetahi on a dedicated trail. Onsite research scientists are continuously working on new strategies for conservation, and they will be delighted to talk to you about their projects and the island's incredible wildlife - including colourful tropical fish, blacktip sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, a range of seabirds and 38 indigenous plants.
Arkaba Station, Flinders Ranges, Australia
Set in the glorious Flinders Ranges within a 60,000-acre wildlife conservancy, Arkaba Station is a 19th-century homestead where every stay revolves around a menu of complimentary safari-style activities - including guided bushwalks, safari drives, conservation excursions, bird watching and much more. From mobs of kangaroo and elusive emus to the yellow-footed rock wallaby, get set to spot some of southern Australia's most intriguing species. Wildlife viewing takes place during the early morning and late afternoon, when the light is at its most dramatic and the animals are abundant to see.
After a day of exploration, unwind next to the 10-metre pool, a welcome spot surrounded by the sound of birdsong. Inside the lodge, feel at home in the comfortable library, boasting deep armchairs - perfect for sinking into with a good book and a drink in hand.
Huvafen Fushi, North Malé Atoll, Maldives
Heavenly Huvafen Fushi is a long-loved tropical hideaway, combining contemporary luxury with an incredible location overlooking a private lagoon. As well as unforgettable guided snorkelling trips over the rainbow-hued house reef, keen divers can explore some of the finest underwater attractions in the Maldives on daily expeditions launched from the dive dhoni. Common sightings include manta rays, sharks, eagle rays, turtles and spellbinding shoals of colourful fish.
If you'd rather stay above the water, don't miss a luxury yacht cruise to spot pods of beautiful spinner dolphins. The expert crew will transport you to dolphin hotspots, where you can watch these incredible creatures jump and frolic in the wake of the boat. Prefer to stay on land? You can even soak up the spectacular marine life from the comfort of the world's very first and only underwater spa, where you can expect to receive a truly personalised service!
Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, Chiang Rai, Thailand
This incredible resort is set on a lush hillside amid the famous Golden Triangle - the name given to the area where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Along with fantastic food, a cookery school and renowned Anantara Spa, a stay here is all about the group of rescued elephants that call the camp home. Get set to enjoy remarkable encounters with these gentle giants, walking alongside them and watching them bathe in the Ruak River.
For the ultimate elephant viewing experience, book a stay in one of the resort's new Jungle Bubbles. These are unique transparent domes set right within the Golden Triangle jungle, where the elephants roam. You can stay from dusk to dawn just metres from these amazing animals, enjoying a gourmet picnic dinner before drifting off to the sights and sounds of the jungle.
Sonora Resort, Vancouver Island, Canada
Fancy a Canadian adventure? Set your sights on the beautiful and private Sonora Island, accessed only by air or sea, and home to an abundance of wildlife. Embark on a Grizzly Bear Tour and watch these elusive animals make a rare appearance as they descend on the Oxford River to feast on fresh salmon. An experienced Holmalco First Nation guide will lead you (by car) through stunning moss-covered rainforests to various bear-viewing towers on the riverbanks, sharing their endless knowledge as
Or hop aboard the open-air zodiac-style boat for the ultimate marine exploration. The exciting Eco-Adventure Tour invites you to spot sea lions basking in the sun, Pacific white-sided dolphins swimming, and many native sea birds swooping to catch their next meals. You might even glimpse orcas!
One&Only Nyungwe House
For serious bucket-list-ticking adventures in Rwanda, One&Only Nyungwe House blends seamlessly into the landscape of the Nyungwe Forest National Park. The surrounding landscape is home to a picturesque tea plantation and an ancient rainforest which boasts some of Rwanda's most incredible wildlife.
Chimpanzee trekking is one of the main reasons for many guests' visit, allowing them to join expert trackers deep into the forest, learning about these incredible animals and spotting them in their natural habitat. Colobus monkeys can also be spotted here (the only place in Africa!), while the local environment provides plenty of fun with tea picking, birdwatching, archery and imigongo painting.
Chimpanzee at One&Only Nyungwe House
Rooms at One&Only Nyungwe House
Dining Room at One&Only Nyungwe House
Wellness Pool at One&Only Nyungwe House
One&Only Gorilla's Nest
The perfect pairing with One&Only Nyungwe House, One&Only Gorilla's Nest invites you to discover the delights of Rwanda's famed Volcanoes National Park. This densely forested area is home to more than 1,000 majestic mountain gorillas - an elusive and endangered species with which humans share around 98% of their DNA! Head out with an expert local tracker in search of
a gorilla family on a truly a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experience. Back at the lodge, you can unwind in your luxury suite, dine on authentic local flavours or indulge in African-inspired treatments at the One&Only Spa.
One&Only Gorilla's Nest Lodge and Grounds