Photographing animals in their natural environment is a unique challenge, with risk of varying weather conditions, changing migration patterns, fellow tourists stumbling into shot. With this in mind, we’ve collected the best places to photograph wildlife around the world, whatever the weather, season, or species. *
The early morning dance of the egrets
1. Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India
Bharatpur is the closest city to the Keoladeo National Park (an artificial wetland). The park is home to thousands of birds and every thousands more migrate to spend the winter there. Today the park is a World Heritage Site that attracts amateur photographers and ornithologists alongside 100,000 tourists every year. As vehicles are not allowed inside the park most people choose to travel by bike or rickshaw.
When to visit: While the park is open all year round, October to March is when the migratory birds are in residence and visitors will have the best chance to photograph rarer species.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Iora Guest House
A baby orangutan finds a comfortable place to nap
2. Sepilok, Sabah, Malaysia
Stand by for heartbreak. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve) is the first rehabilitation project in the world for orphaned baby orangutans. The Centre provides photographers with a unique opportunity to photograph the babies being trained to survive in the wild and, if you’re not already an emotional wreck, nextdoor is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.
When to visit: Both centres are open year-round and feeding times (10am and 3pm) are your best chance to photograph the animals.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Sepilok B&B
Photographing butterflies at Tambopata National Reserve
3. Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Perú
Puerto Maldonado’s popularity with wildlife photographers is due to its proximity to two of Peru’s national parks: Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve. The former is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve which is so remote that it’s still inaccessible by road and is home to over 1000 species of birds. Tambopata National Reserve, meanwhile, has one of the world’s most diverse selections of flora and fauna, including 1300 species of butterfly.
When to visit: October/November to March/April is the wet season but it’s also when the forest is at it’s most bountiful and many animals migrate to the area around Puerto Maldonado to feed.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Passiflora Camp
A Boyd's Forest Dragon at The Daintree Ntional Park
4. Daintree, Queensland, Australia
The Daintree National Park is part of the Wet Tropics of Queensland and is home to hundreds of rare bird and mammal species. Greater Daintree Rainforest is one of the world’s oldest tropical forests and is the only place in the world where it’s possible to photograph magical- and mythical-sounding beasts like the Buff Breasted Paradise Kingfisher, the Ulysses Butterfly, the Double-eyed Fig Parrot and the Boyd’s Forest Dragon.
When to visit: The cooler months between May and September are the best time to visit Daintree, when expensive camera equipment should be safe from sudden showers.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Epiphyte B&B
The Red Ayes Frog, papped in Costa Rica
5. La Gamba, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
La Gamba is a popular base for both amateur and professional wildlife photographers. The village has great access to the nearby Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve (abundant biodiversity, including 120 reptilian and amphibian species), the Curi Cancha Reserve (birdwatchers paradise and home to over 200 bird species), and La Gamba’s most famous local landmark: Piedras Blancas National Park.
When to visit: The summer season in La Gamba stretches from January to April, when hotter temperatures and drier weather provide the best conditions for photography.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Ka’kau Jungle Cabinas
A hippopotamus in the midday sun
6. Naivasha, Nakuru, Kenya
Lake Naivasha attracts a breath-taking selection of wildlife including giraffes, monkeys, antelope, buffalo, warthogs and sunbirds. Hiring a bike tends to be the most effective mode of transport, especially as many sections of the surrounding parks only allow cycling or walking. Boat rides are also a popular way to get up close to the park’s protected hippos population. Photographers planning a longer stay can also check out the gloriously gothic-sounding Hell’s Gate National Park.
When to visit: Naivasha has two dry seasons: a long dry season from July to October and a shorter, hotter yet still dry season in January.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Buffalo Rest
Denmark's probably not the first place you'd think to look for jaguars, but...
7. Randers, Midtjylland, Denmark
For a change of pace – or if you fancy photographing some of the old European cities alongside giraffes and water buffalo – pay a visit to the Randers Tropical Zoo in Midtjylland. Composed of three biomes of Africa, Asia and South America, this Danish zoo is home to 275 animal species, a saltwater aquarium, and a recently installed jaguar collection. Next door is the Denmark Park which features farm animals and tourist facilities.
When to visit: The zoo is open year-round but longer hours of sunlight in the summer months will provide more opportunities for photography.
Want to stay nearby? Booking.com recommends: Skovvej Bed & Breakfast
*The data analysts at Booking.com looked at endorsements for ‘wildlife’ and ‘photography’ by Booking.com customers
More from Nature
There's more to discover
- Iora Guest House
- Puerto Maldonado
- Madre de Dios
- Sepilok B&B
- Passiflora Camp
- Epiphyte B & B
- Costa Rica
- Ka'kau Jungle Cabinas
- Buffalo's Rest
- Skovvej Bed & Breakfast House 1