Celebrating Mother’s Day Abroad
Our mothers have sacrificed so much to raise us. In order to show our appreciation, many countries around the world pay tribute to mothers by devoting a day to honor them. Most Mother’s Day celebrations take place annually in March or May. Countries like the U.K. and Ireland celebrate Mothering Sunday towards the end of March each year, while nearly a hundred countries celebrate Mother’s Day every second Sunday of May.
For some people, Mother’s Day can seem a bit stressful as they try to find that perfect gift that symbolizes just how much they care for their mom. Many of us will pick out a lovely card along with flowers, but a bouquet will of course wilt in a short period. This Mother’s Day, consider giving your mom the gift of unforgettable memories by organizing a trip abroad together. Holiday memories are a gift that will last the rest of her lifetime.
If you’re looking for a truly memorable holiday to take your mom on this year, we have rounded up some of the best nature and wildlife watching destinations in the world to give you inspiration. Let us go on a journey to every continent to bring you holidays where you can introduce your mom to some of the best experiences Mother Nature has to offer.
Let us start off in Africa, the Cradle of Humankind. South Africa in particular is blessed with biodiversity. While Tanzania and Kenya may be home to the Great Migration of wildebeest and zebra, South Africa offers up everything from whales to elephants.
South Africa is home to Kruger National Park, one of Africa’s largest game reserves where all of Africa’s Big Five animals can be spotted. The Big Five includes the Cape buffalo, leopard, lion, rhinoceros, and elephant. Hundreds of elephants can also be spotted in the Addo Elephant National Park.
KwaZulu-Natal offers up two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, one of which is the iSimangaliso Wetland Park which spans roughly 280 kilometers of South African coastline. The park offers up everything from whales and sea turtles to hippos and crocodiles. Johannesburg is home to a UNESCO site of its own, the Cradle of Humankind. It is here where some of Earth’s oldest hominin fossils were discovered. Cape Town is another wildlife hotspot, offering baboons, southern right whales, rock hyraxes, and the adorable penguins of Boulders Beach.
South Africa is also known for its stunning botanic gardens, most notably Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden which sits at the base of Table Mountain. Give your mom the gift of countless varieties of South African flowers by walking through the gardens or seek out some special orange-vermillion Nelson Mandela roses that were created to celebrate the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth. Alternatively, you can help your mom remember your Mother’s Day in South Africa, by getting her a one of a kind rose that will last forever. A natural rose preserved as a bud or slight bloom and gilded with gold makes a beautiful gift that will act as a daily reminder of how much you care for your mom.
The ancient territory of Kimberley in Australia’s North West is the place of Dreamtime legends. Its landscapes include imposing rust-red rock formations, deep gorges, rugged ranges, thundering waterfalls, and pristine beaches.
This is where you want to go for Mother’s Day if your mom has the spirit of an epic adventurer. The Kimberley Region’s expansive rugged wilderness is sparsely settled, the unsealed Gibb River Road providing access to this incredible natural destination. Here you can see Wandjina and Bradshaw rock paintings in caves, on cliffs and rock ledges. You can also observe a great deal of Western Australia’s wildlife including rock wallabies, frilled-neck lizards, bilbies, and crocodiles. In the mangroves and mudflats, abundant birdlife includes sea-eagles, storks, kingfishers, and kites. You can climb gorges and cool off in refreshing swimming holes, ending the day sleeping under the clearest of night skies.
Jasper National Park, Canada
While Canada is known for its large tracts of wilderness, travelling through it doesn’t necessarily mean roughing it. Within Canada’s untamed wilderness, you will sometimes encounter lavish eco-lodges that offer all the comforts of home along with additional touches of luxury. One of the most extravagant resorts is Fairmont Lodge in Jasper National Park, offering a 5-star stay with mountain and pine forest views.
Considered to be the Canadian Rockies’ largest national park, Jasper National Park is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks which collectively are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of waterfalls to explore as well as Columbia Icefield glaciers. Book a snow coach tour of the Athabasca Glacier or enjoy a hiking adventure in search of grizzly bears, wolves, lynx, coyotes, and golden eagles.
March through May is a great time to visit Jasper National Park due to fewer crowds, which works perfect for Mother’s Day. It’s a time of transition where the snow and ice will be melting and hiking can be done in the lower valley elevations. If you wish to do some snowshoeing or downhill skiing, book your Mother’s day trip a bit earlier in the year, or postpone your travel until late June when access to the area’s lakes and more hiking trails will become available.
Stretching across southern Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is a land of rugged and untamed wilderness. The world-famous Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most iconic and unspoilt places of Patagonia. This area is home to amazing wildlife including guanacos, flightless rheas, condors, and flamingos.
There are a number of iconic hikes within the Torres del Paine National Park including the famous 4-5 day W circuit. The trek doesn’t require extreme physical ability or technical skills and takes in the major highlights of the park including Valle Francés, Base of the Towers, and Glacier Grey. The trek can also be broken up into smaller day hikes which start from comfortable hotel bases.
Northern Patagonia is one of the least visited regions of Chile, covered with ancient forests, turquoise lakes, vast ice fields and glaciers, and grassy steppes. The rough unpaved Carretera Austral highway is probably the most challenging and rewarding self-drive experience in South America. At the southernmost end of Patagonia is the Chilean Tierra del Fuego, where you can take a boat trip through the Beagle Channel.
One generally doesn’t think of Turkey as being a wildlife holiday destination, but there’s more to this country than just Istanbul with its Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Grand Baazar. Many of Turkey’s unique natural landscapes and wildlife reserves often get overlooked.
A melting pot of diverse cultures, Turkey is also one of Earth’s natural biodiversity hotspots. The country’s diverse geographic and climatic regions are home to brown bears, striped hyenas, lynx, chamois, and numerous rare and threatened bird species. The number of bird species increases during the migration seasons of fall and spring.
The natural landscapes of Turkey include floodplain forests, crater lakes, mountains, canyons, rivers, and waterfalls. Witness the white travertine terraces of Pamukkale, the natural chimneys and other strange rock formations of Cappadocia, Düden Falls, or the summit of Mount Ararat, Turkey’s highest peak. Some of the best birding locations include the Manyas Bird Paradise National Park and Camili Efeler Forest. Sarıkamış Forest-Allahuekber Mountains National Park is where you’ll find most of the large mammals like bears and hyenas.
Rajasthan is home to a number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. This massive state is India’s largest and there are numerous safari opportunities that visitors can take advantage of. Mother’s Day falls within spring and this is one of the best seasons to observe wild Bengal tigers in Ranthambore National Park. The majority of Rajasthan’s wild tigers live within the park and booking a jeep safari is one of the best ways to possibly see some of them.
Desert National Park is home to blackbucks, white-footed foxes, laggar falcons, and Indian eagle-owls. The forests of Kaila Devi Sanctuary on the other hand are home to leopards, hyenas, jackals, and Indian wolves. Shorebirds and waterfowl congregate in large numbers every winter in Keoladeo Ghana National Park, while it’s possible to spot rare black leopards, nilgai, and sloth bears in Mukundara Hills National Park.
One of the most exceptional wildlife destinations, which was once only reserved for the most intrepid of explorers, is of course Antarctica. It is the only continent that has been able to avoid human colonization, but at the same time has become accessible to almost anyone with the means. Tens of thousands of people make the journey to the icy continent every year, most choosing to set sail from the southern tip of Ushuaia in South America. Such journey’s are only possible during the Austral summer which roughly runs from October to March, so you may need to arrange your Mother’s Day trip a bit in advance of the actual observance date.
You have the option of taking larger luxury cruise ships or more intimate ships that allow you to actually set foot on the continent. Set off across the mighty Drake Passage en route to the Antarctic Peninsula and its surrounding islands where you may observe leopard seals, elephant seals, gentoo penguins, chinstrap penguins, and king penguins. For many travelers, a trip to Antarctica is the most prized bucket list destination. It truly is a once in a lifetime experience your mom will most certainly never forget.
Antarctic cruises can last anywhere from a week to several weeks and may even take in fascinating islands like the Falkland Islands or South Georgia Island which are rich in both history and wildlife. Enjoy Zodiac cruises in search of wildlife and giant icebergs or possibly even do some overnight camping on the Antarctic snow. Find refuge back on the ship where you’ll often have a comfortable ship cabin with a killer views and access to a hot tub, delicious food, and onboard spa treatments.