What time is best to go where…your questions now answered, give our wildlife calendar a look!
In the wild
Start out the New Year on a once-in-lifetime blue whale watching adventure off Sri Lanka’s southern coast! Only in Mirissia Bay near Weligama do whales swim this close to land don’t miss out on this rare opportunity. We recommend you combine this experience with a leopard spotting trip to Yala National Park.
Galapagos Islands are a wonderful year-round destination, but January is the best time to watch green sea turtles nesting here. This is the only species of turtle that nests on the Galapagos Islands, and this nesting site is the largest in the East Pacific!
In Africa, Botswana’s Okavango Delta comes alive and presents chances of spotting goliath herons, crested barbet chicks, and African scops owls amongst other bird species!Our suggestions
After enjoying rousing New Year’s Eve celebrations, travel to Rajasthan, India to catch the Bikaner Camel Fair. Over two days, camels are decorated in traditional attire and taken on a procession from Junagarh Fort. You can also taste camel milk sweets, and enjoy folk music and dance performances here. This is a less-crowded alternative to the more popular Pushkar Fair.
Also in January, experience elaborate Pongal celebrations in the southern state of Kerala, India. This four-day harvest festival celebrates giving thanks to Hindu Gods. Fragrant flowers, banana leaves, beautifully dressed women, and majestic elephants ofcourse come together, leaving you mesmerised.
In the wild
It’s still peak blue-whale watching season in Sri Lanka, so make sure to visit during the height of activity. A cruise from Mirissa Bay near Weligama will get you out into the waters to spot blue whales, sperm whales, and dolphins!
Also in Asia, it’s the best time to go snow leopard tracking across the Himalayas in Ladakh, India. Snow leopards are generally very elusive creatures, but a winter trek with our expert guides gives you one of the best possibilities of spotting this beautiful cat in its natural habitat. The trek can be quite rigorous, but the beautiful snow-capped Himalayas make it a rewarding experience.
In Kenya, millions of flamingos flock to Lake Nakuru National Park to create a pink spectacle worth seeing. Combine your Lake Nakuru visit along with a tour of Masai Mara National Park to spot the Big Fivefor the ultimate African safari experience.Our suggestions
Travel to Rio for the famous carnival that takes place at the end of January/ beginning of February every year. Enjoy dancing, eating, singing and watching the parade.
Music lovers flock to Mumbai for the Mahindra Blues Festival that takes place this month every year, and you should too. Previous performers have included Buddy Guy, Robert Randolph, John Lee Hooker Jr, Taj Mahal, and local acts like Blackstrat Blues, and Over drive Trio. Also in February in Mumbai, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival hosts music and dance performances, workshops, story telling sessions, and exhibitions. Combine this with a tiger-tracking trip to Central India, nearby!
In the wild
Summer is just starting to appear in India pushing the animals out to the watering holes. This is a good time to go tiger spotting in Central India. Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore, Corbett or Pench are good places to play out your safari adventures.
In Costa Rica, the dry season is just about to end, making this an ideal time to go birding. Costa Rica is home to over 800 species of birds, eight of which are endemic and 19 are listed as threatened.
If you’re looking for a challenge, travel to Uganda and go gorilla trekking in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Gorilla tracking permits are limited and are usually booked well in advance, so it’s best to plan your holiday well ahead of time.Our suggestions
The royal city of Jaipur in India hosts an enchanting Elephant Festival featuring only female elephants. These magnificent creatures are decorated with beautiful cloths and ornaments by their handlers, and paraded across the city. Dance performances and musical recitals enhance the already festive ambiance.
Also in India, Holi celebrations take place this month. Families and friends get together to splash each other with an array of colours and dance to foot thumping music. North India celebrates Holi with gusto, making it a superlative compliment to the Elephant Festival.
In the wild
It’s spring in Nepal, which means that the flowers are blooming, shades of green carpet the earth, and the animals are active. This month come to spot tigers, elephants, and one-horned rhinoceroses at ShuklaPhanta Wildlife Reserve and Bardia National Park. If you’re looking for more adventure, get your thrills by rafting across Karnali River located nearby!
Birding enthusiasts should visit Galapagos Islands this month, as it’s a prime time to spot many of the islands resident species including blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gullies, and frigate birds.
Travel to Madagascar to see playful lemurs and unique baobab trees this month as the dry season starts. The giant baobabs can reach mammoth heights of up to 100 feet and have trunks as large as 35 feet in diameter! If you’re looking to the local Malagasy culture, explore the cities of Antananarivo, Antsirabe, and Ambalavao. End your holiday here on a relaxing note by unwinding at the beach resort of Toliara.Our suggestions
The Sinhalese New Year is celebrated across Sri Lanka on 13th or 14th April when the sun moves from the house of Pieces into the house of Aeries. Known as “AluthAvurudu” in Sinhala, this day traditionally marks the end of the harvest season. Families perform rituals and pray together in celebration of this day. Setting off dazzling fireworks in the sky marks auspicious times during the day. Expats and visitors might like to celebrate with a trip to the cooler hills of NuwaraEliya.
Also between 13th and 15th April, the Khmer people of Cambodia celebrate their New Year as well! On the first day of revelry, people douse each other with water as a blessing, dress up in traditional clothes, and offer thanks to Buddha. On the second day, they make donations to those less fortunate than themselves. And on the final day, they cleanse Buddha statues with water, for good luck and prosperity.
In the wild
Wildebeest herds are moving across Serengeti in Tanzania this month. They start travelling northwest, so you’re most likely to spot them in the Western Corridor and near Grumeti River - don’t miss this amazing natural wonder.
In Zambia, the impressive Victoria Falls is gushing at full force, as water flow is highest this month. Take a trip to see this magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site, explore the surroundings for interesting wildlife and selectfrom such adventure activities as bungee jumping, white-water rafting and cruising!
In India, temperatures are high, but the Himalayas are still warm and pleasant, perfect for an extensive trek around Ladakh to explore the beautiful mountain landscapes.Our suggestions
The quaint hill station of Mount Abu in Rajasthan, India hosts a three - day art, music, and culture to beat the heat this month. Performers from across Gujarat and Rajasthan gather to put up a fun show against a beautiful hilly setting.
In North East India, Gangtok plays host to its own summer carnival. See gorgeous local flowers, and arts and crafts, cultural shows, and sample local cuisine amidst the backdrop of snow-capped mountains, playful rivers, and beautiful rhododendron bushes.
The holiest month of the Buddhist calendar, Waisak, usually falls on a full moon night in May and is celebrated spectacularly in Indonesia at Java’s Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. Waisak mark’s the day of Buddha’s birth, his enlightenment, and achievement of Nirvana. To celebrate, monks and pilgrims walk a 3km path from Mendut to Borobudur. Upon their arrival here, once the full moon rises, flowers are given as offerings to Buddha, and candles are lit, followed by prayer and chanting.
In the wild
It’s the month for whale watching! Spot humpback whales, from June to October, on their migration route near Machallila National Park in Ecuador. You can also explore the park’s forest on horseback, go scuba diving and snorkelling in the sparkling waters, and relax on pristine white-sand beaches. Also in Ecuador, see the softer side of Galapagos as giant tortoises start nesting and sea lions begin to breed.
You can also spot humpback whales in Mozambique this month. The luxurious Nuarro Lodge in Nampula acts as an exclusive basecamp for myriad water-based activities such as whale-watching expeditions, snorkelling, kayaking, fishing, and other activities.
The migrating wildebeest herds in Tanzania will be attempting to cross the Grumeti River this month. During wet years, this can prove to be quite a hurdle with many numbers lost to the river or the hunting predators.Our suggestions
June is the time to visit Cusco, Peru as the city is animated with nearly daily festivities culminating in the significant Inca festival of IntiRaymi on 24thJune. A theatrical rendition of the Festival of Sun, this colorful event is held at important ruins around the city and attracts masses of international tourists and Peruvians alike. The dry winter weather also makes it a fitting time to visit Machu Picchu by train or via the Inca trail.
Near Leh, India, by the River Sindhu, a three-day long festival to celebrate peaceful coexistence takes place. People from across the country bring water from their regional rivers and immerse them into the River Sindhu to signify the togetherness of India’s various cultures. Senior Lamas commence the festival by reciting Buddhist prayers, various artists perform song and dance, and there is a general air of gaiety around. We recommend you combine this with a rewarding community trek across Leh!
In the wild
It’s summer in the Arctic and most of the land is free of snow-making flora and fauna easier to spot. This is a beautiful period when small colourful flowers and plants bloom, birds are active on nesting cliffs, and animals are easier to spot. See bird colonies of kittiwakes, Brünnich’s guillemots, puffins and Arctic skuas and spot animals like Arctic foxes, bearded seals and polar bears.
Travel to Kenya to be among the first to see the Great Migration this year! Millions of wildebeests, Thompson’s gazelles, and zebras try to get across the treacherous Mara River. Watch this amazing phenomenon on tours lead by specialized naturalist guides to make the most of your experience.
Endangered green and hawksbill turtles start nesting on the beautiful Caribbean beaches of Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica this month. While here you can also spot manatees, crocodiles, tropical gar, jaguars, sloths, and basilisks (the lizards, not the snake from the Harry Potter series) among many other species of wildlife.Our suggestions
Foodies should travel to South Africa for the Knysna Oyster Festival, taking place over two weekends in July. Sample oysters and other seafood cooked in innovative styles at local hotspots in Knysna. It is not all about food though, the culinary event is combined with many different activities like half marathons, cycle tours, geocaching competitions, and driving challenges.
Also in South Africa, Africa’s biggest annual celebration of arts and culture takes place in Grahams town this month. Witness drama, dance, opera, jazz, film, comedy, tours, and more in this festival that originally served as an important medium of protest against apartheid.
In the wild
Kenya is the place to be this month as the Great Migration is in full swing! Known as nature’s greatest show, the Great Migration is on every nature lovers’ bucket list and a very popular event, so make sure you’ve booked your travel in advance!
Birding enthusiasts will enjoy the dry whether in Brazil at this time as it offers excellent water-bird watching opportunities across the Pantanal and the Amazon.
It’s also dry season in Botswana, which means that water levels are low and wildlife is easier to spot. Go now to spot the Big Five!Our suggestions
Sri Lanka celebrates the Perahera Festival for 10 days to honour Buddha’s tooth relic that is claimed to be held atthe Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. Traditionally dressed locals take to the streets to join in on parades showcasing beautiful elephants, graceful dancers, and enthusiastic drummers. In nearby Kerala, India, monsoon season is in full swing playing host to many boat races!
The home of Tango, Buenos Aires, hosts the Tango Festival this month. Some of the best local and international dancers perform at various events across the city, over a 10-day period of celebration. There are also many free classes for beginners and advanced dancers during the festival.
In the wild
This is a good month to travel to Indonesia in general, and Borneo in particular. The weather is transitioning between wet and dry seasons, flora is abundant, and fauna is active. We recommend travelling to lesser-explored villages and release islands along Rungan River.
If you’re in the mood for a classic safari experience, travel to Botswana and explore the wilderness of Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. Apart from spotting the Big Five this season, you can also consider a trip to Victoria Falls as an extension to your safari.
It’s peak season for whale watching in Patagonia, Argentina between September and October. A cruise from Puerto Pirámides will sail pasta sea lion colony, cormorant colonies, dolphins, penguins (if you’re lucky), and gigantic southern whales!Our suggestions
India celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi (festival of Lord Ganesha) during the first or second week of September. Festivities are particularly lively in the state of Maharashtra with dancing, live music, colourful displays, and flowers everywhere. Big or small stalls (called “pandals” in Hindi) are set up at every corner with ornate idols of Lord Ganesh and speakers playing music every evening for a period of 10 days. On the 11th day (or sometimes earlier), the idols are paraded across the city, to a lot of fanfare, and brought to river and sea banks and submerged into the water.
In the city of Lima in Peru, local and international chefs cook up scrumptious Peruvian cuisine in restaurants across town for the nation’s largest annual food festival: Mistura. Visitors can nibble gourmet treats and buy local coffee, chocolates, and delicacies from a huge market. In addition to sampling food, visitors can enjoy cultural festivities such as live music, native dances, folk customs, and Peruvian fashion displays that span over the 10-day event.
In the wild
It’s peak calving season for southern right and humpback whales off the coast of South Africa! You can combine this trip with a tour of the famous Garden Route of the southeastern coast. Alternatively, travel to the state of KwaZulu-Natal for chances of whale watching and a more offbeat South African adventure. Other whale watching options this month include sightings at Machallila National Park in Ecuador and Patagonia in Argentina.
For trekkers, it’s a good time to conquer the higher Himalayan Mountains of Bhutan before winter officially sets in. Consider trekking from Paro to Thimpu, across Jigme Dorji National Park. En route, you can spot takins (Himalayan black bears), snow leopards, and red pandas.
In Africa, lemurs are active and playful on the island of Madagascar. The rains are usually nowhere to be seen, making the dry season a good time to visit.Our suggestions
India celebrates Diwali, the festival of lights, between October and November each year. Homes and cities are beautifully lit up for the occasion, everyone dresses their best, and there is a spirit of generosity (similar to Christmas) all around. It is, in essence, a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Diwali is one of the most important festivals for Hindus and is marked by religious rituals, family gatherings, and plenty of fireworks. Along with all the merriment at home; shops, hotels and restaurants are decked out for the occasion and offer festive sales and discounts.
The state of Rajasthan in India hosts the Rajasthan International Folk Festival in the royal city of Jaipur. Based in and around Mehrangarh Fort, the festival brings together over 250 performing artists from across Rajasthan and the world to showcase world music and culture.
In the wild
National Parks across India are open, and winter is approaching rendering mild climates across the nation. Tiger-spotting season is in full swing and parks such as Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Ranthambore, Corbett, or Pench are good places to begin your explorations.
This November, head to the bottom of the world to observe a natural spectacle in the Falkland Islands (classified under the Antarctic zone). Here you can watch five species of penguins breed: king, rockhopper, gentoo, magallanic, and macaroni penguins.
Now is the time to catch the spectacular Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) in Norway on the other end of the world. The awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis is created by eruptions on the sun and can only be seen when it is dark. Due to the fairly long periods of darkness in November and December, this is an ideal time to travel to Lofoten in Norway to admire this enchanting phenomenon.
At Kasanka National Park in Zambia, watch in amazement as millions of straw-coloured fruit bats gather against the setting sun! The bats visit Kasanka to feed for six weeks (starting in October) to take advantage of the abundant fruit here in season. You can combine a trip to see this migration along with a tour of South Luangwa National Park where you can see the endemic Thornicroft giraffe amongst other game.Our suggestions
The Pushkar Festival is held at Pushkar, Rajasthan, India this month. The highlight of the festival is said to be the camel fair where men parade colourfully dressed camels and engage in trade. You can gain an insight into local culture through musical and dance performances by local artists here.
Motorsport enthusiasts can catch the East African Safari Classic Rally that kicks off from Mombasa in Kenya. Since 2003, crews have fought for the rally title against some of the toughest possible terrain and weather conditions. Combine this with a different classic safari experience in the Masai Mara spotting the Big Five.
In the wild
Antarctica beckons this month as it comes alive with frenzied activity. It’s an exciting time to watch penguins laying eggs in huge numbers on the island coasts. Also spot seals, sea lions, whales, and numerous seabirds on this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Migratory birds wanting to enjoy the cool climates flock to Northern India this month. Keoladeo National Park in Rajasthan is particularly lively, playing host to more than 250 species of birds, including the endangered Siberian crane. The winter is also a fitting climate for a tiger-spotting safari in the national parks.
Nearby, in southern Sri Lanka, chances are higher of spotting gigantic blue whales. Nowhere else in the world do these whales come so close to land as they do near the southern coast of Sri Lanka. It’s also whale-watching season in South Africa.
In Botswana, zebra migration starts this month and goes on till March. Witness up to 25,000 zebras as they make their way across the grasslands of Makgadikgadi and Nxai Pan national parks. Predators and scavengers will also be in attendance to make this show more dramatic.Our suggestions
In Mysore, India, the first leg of the Hot Air Ballooning Festival kicks off this year. Take the chance to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful city of Mysore and its surroundings on a hot air balloon ride here. While you’re in town, make sure you visit the ornate Mysore Palace and consider exploring wildlife parks nearby.
If you’re looking for New Year’s revelry, travel to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil for a massive party on Copacabana beach. From 8pm onwards, the best bands play on various stages across the beach to get the party started. The stroke of mid-night is marked by a magnificent 20-minute fireworks display, and the most determined revellers continue the party till the first rays of dawn.
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