Wildlife-watching safaris don't always involve a trip to the Serengeti. Here are a few around the world, from trips to see big game in Africa, to expeditions in Australia, Canada and the Caribbean.
-A four-night "Outback National Parks Safari" in Australia with Fresh Tracks outfitters starts at $2,643, departing from Sydney, returning to Melbourne. You'll see Aboriginal art, White Cliffs Opal Field, the lunar-like landscape of Mungo National Park, and the waterbirds that live in the backwaters and drowned forests of Kinchega National Park. Details at http://www.freshtracksaustralia.com.
-In Jamaica, Chukka Caribbean Adventures Ocean Safari offers a $65-per-person trip in mini-boats from either Ocho Rios or Montego Bay. You'll explore mangroves, go snorkeling, and enjoy looking at seabirds and the island's coastline. Details at http://www.ChukkaCaribbean.com.
-Micato Safaris' trips in Eastern and Southern Africa include a 12-day "Heart of Kenya and Tanzania" with a visit to a Masai village and opportunities to view lions, elephants and other animals in the crater of an extinct volcano and in the Serengeti; per person, double occupancy rates for 2008 start at $8,140. Details at http://www.micato.com. Travel + Leisure magazine readers have named Micato as the "world's best tour operator and safari outfitter" for five years in a row. Micato travelers receive a hardcover book of gorgeous animal photos called "The Micato Safaris Guide to Predators."
-The December issue of Islands magazine lists the world's best "snorkel safaris" - where you can see underwater wildlife from coral and sea turtles to lion fish, dolphins, whale sharks and stingrays. Some excursions go for as little as $20, like one offered by Deep Blue Utila, http://www.deepblueutila.com in Utila, Bay Islands, Honduras. Other destinations on the list include Bonaire, in the Dutch Antilles; North Bimini, Bahamas; Dry Tortugas National Park, in Florida; Laughing Bird Caye, Belize; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands; Soufriere, Dominica; in Hawaii, Maui and the Big Island; Rurutu, French Polynesia; Les Medes Islands, Spain; Fernando de Noronha, Brazil; and Plaza Sur, in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador.
-Several thousand eagles return to the Squamish Valley in British Columbia, Canada, in winter to feed on spawning salmon. The Adara Hotel in Whistler offers an "Eagle Safari Package" with a night's stay, breakfast, and a river raft trip (lunch included) to see the birds; $479 through Dec. 19 and $719 Jan. 2-Feb. 17, per person, double occupancy. Details at http://www.adarahotel.com. Whistler, also famed for its skiing, is a two and a-half hour drive from Vancouver.
-Abercrombie & Kent offers safaris and tours ranging from a $3,995 10-day "Kenya Highlights" tour to an ultra-luxurious trip, Nov. 3-22, 2008, called "Africa: Cultures, Caravans & Safaris," with an $86,500 pricetag (per person, double occupancy). That tour, using a private jet, is limited to 52 guests and includes stops around the continent, with sightseeing in Morocco, Timbuktu, Addis Ababa, the Masai Mara game reserve, Victoria Falls and Cape Town. If you prefer traveling on your own, the company also offers ready-to-book itineraries with a driver and guide and reservations in hotels and lodges. Details at http://www.abercrombiekent.com.
Source: AP Features