Top Destinations for a Truly Wild Experience
By: Mike Jerrard
With our ever increasing population and urbanization of wild lands, it seems difficult to find destinations where you can find yourself in untouched wilderness. These are a some of today’s top destinations where you can still find a unique wild experience and are quite easily accessible.
Kangaroo Island, Australia
South Australia’s large magical island is a true escape into natural Australia. Nowhere is it easier to come across all of Australia’s weird and wonderful wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, platypus, cockatoos, and much more. The sheer number of animals that you will see in just a short visit will captivate you. Best of all it is very easy to visit with regular ferry service from the mainland and a good deal of accommodation options.
Tanzania is a place where you can truly feel as though you are in the pages of a National Geographic magazine. Whether your aim is to conquer Kilimanjaro or take an unforgettable safari, Tanzania is a must on any bucket list. You will think you are in a zoo but then quickly realize how real the situation is when dramatic natural wildlife moments play out before your eyes.
Iceland is by far one of the most beautifully landscaped countries you can find. I recommend renting a car and making a circuit around the country’s entirety. Once one leaves the main city of Reykjavik, you will find yourself one with nature. With its enormous waterfalls, geysers, glaciers, and incredible wildlife, what more could one want.
Big Cypress Swamp, Florida
With all the hype the Everglades gets, I have found the Big Cypress National Preserve in Southern Florida boasts much more wildlife which has proven more accessible to see. All of my Florida Panther sightings have occurred in the Big Cypress as well as Black bears, an abundance of alligators, rare birds, and many snakes. Although the Big Cypress is not set up as well for tourists, the area is definitely a must visit for those looking to get out in the real Florida wilderness away from the masses.
Florida is also a popular destination for fishing charters, and for this you should head south to Key West.
Pampas & Jungle, Bolivia
Of all the South American destinations I have visited thus far, Bolivia has been by far the best in terms of actually seeing the iconic wildlife of the jungle. Far less touristy than countries like Peru and Brazil, the jungles of Bolivia seem more untouched. Swimming with River dolphins, fishing for piranhas, searching for anacondas, glimpsing the elusive jaguar, and dodging squirrel monkeys are all possible with a jungle and pampas tour in Bolivia. Focus on the pampas region to witness more wildlife and the jungle region if it is the flora that excites you.
An island of rugged beauty that is unfortunately overshadowed by its controversial whale hunts. I cannot recommend this destination enough for its extremely authentic culture and unmatched beauty. Whether or not you agree or disagree with local traditions, a visit will no doubt open your eyes to magical landscapes and incredible bird life such as enormous colonies of puffins. The locals are some of the nicest people you will come across and before one judges their way of life they must realize that it was the actions of many nations including such countries as the U.S. that in the past abused and overused the resources of the seas to the point where it upset the balance. Whether cultures who have responsibly lived off the land should be punished for previous actions of others is the question that should be asked.
Follow in the steps of Darwin and see evolution before your very eyes. Never have I seen a place where its wildlife is so apathetic towards humans. Anyone with even just a basic camera will be able to come away with postcard worthy photos that will make their Facebook friends jealous. A cruise around the various islands is a good way to experience the wildlife and landscapes unique to each island whereas settling down on a single island will give you a more intimate experience with its inhabitants.
The wildlife is so dense here that even right in the heart of Panama City one can come across sloths, tamarins, toucans, and poison dart frogs. Panama contains so many destinations such as Soberania National Park, Gamboa Rainforest, Bocas del Toro Archipelago, and Pearl Islands just to name a few which will keep you occupied for a long extended trip or have you coming back for more in the future.
One of the last untouched wilderness regions of the world, Tasmania’s west may still conceal the believed to be extinct Thylacine. Even without the magical tiger there is an abundance of wildlife including the iconic Tasmanian devil, wombats, wallabies, seals, and penguins. From the moment you step off the plane you will be greeted to a freshness like none other and feel as though you have been transported back to a Gondwanaland period.
Tassie may be an island, but it’s bigger than many countries in Europe. So to navigate these wilds you’ll need to rent or buy a used car from a dealer or listings site like Gumtree. A used 4WD will get you anywhere on the island, and you can sell it back after you’re done to recoup costs.
Vancouver Island, Canada
Vancouver Island is like a mini Alaska and a good stepping stone for those working their way up to a true vast wilderness experience. Easily accessible via plane or ferry, a rented car will allow access to the more remote regions and hidden gems the island has to offer. Bears, cougars, wolves, and sea otters are just some of the wild encounters you have the chance to come across. All of this rugged beauty comes with modern day conveniences within reach for those that just want a wilderness experience for a day or two.
Alaska is truly rugged and vast wilderness at its finest. Immerse yourself in Alaska and you truly become one with nature. You become part of the food chain and all modern rules seem to vanish. Your natural instincts seem to kick in and survival becomes a part of the experience. Of course there are much more tamer options to select from and many small tours will allow you to witness incredible Alaskan wildlife such as Brown bears, walrus, and whales. Alaska can be whatever you choose to make it as far as how deep you want to connect with nature. Covering such a large area, it is a place one could never fully explore in a lifetime.