Close wildlife encounters

Get up close and personal with some of our planet's most unique animals with these unforgettable experiences.

Doing David Attenbourough-impersonations while seeing animals in their natural habitat can sure make for a memorable holiday experience.

Seeing animals in the wild without fences is so much more rewarding than heading to a zoo or aquarium.

Sure, some zoos have wonderful captive breeding programs, but nothing beats the satisfaction on finding and staying still with an animal that's just going about it's usual daily business. You'll also get the warm fuzzies on a wildlife safari knowing that the area that you're visiting will continue to provide a home for the animal you came to see, and the whole ecosystem that surrounds it.

But how can visitors be sure that the tourism that they're supporting will support the wildlife, and help it to thrive for generations to come? And how can you know that people in the local communities that live nearby are also able to benefit from your visit?

We've sussed out some of the best and most environmentally-aware wildlife tourism opportunities around the globe.

Be warned – these are some pretty impressive photographs that you won't be able to get out of your head until you've booked that flight...