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. *
Bharatpur, Rajasthan, India
Capture the early morning dance of the egrets
Bharatpur is the closest city to the Keoladeo National Park (an artificial wetland). The park is home to thousands of birds and 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. While the park is open year-round, October to March is when the migratory birds are in residence and visitors will have the best chance to photograph rarer species. Stay at Iora Guest House.
Sepilok, Sabah, Malaysia
Take a picture of a baby orangutan finding a comfortable place to nap
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 nextdoor is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Both centres are open year-round and feeding times (10am and 3pm) are your best chance to photograph the animals. Relax at Sepilok B&B.
Daintree, Queensland, Australia
See a Boyd's Forest Dragon at The Daintree National Park
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. The cooler months between May and September are the best time to visit Daintree, when expensive camera equipment should be safe from sudden showers. Stay close by at Epiphyte B&B.
La Gamba, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
Zoom in on the Red Ayes Frog in 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. The summer season in La Gamba stretches from January to April, when hotter temperatures and drier weather provide the best conditions for photography. After a day of capturing great shots, head home to Ka’kau Jungle Cabinas.
Naivasha, Nakuru, Kenya
A hippopotamus in the midday sun
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. Head back to Buffalo Rest.
Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Perú
Photographing butterflies at Tambopata National Reserve
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. Meanwhile, Tambopata National Reserve has one of the world’s most diverse selections of flora and fauna, including 1300 species of butterfly. October to April is the wet season but it’s also when the forest is at its most bountiful and many animals migrate to the area around Puerto Maldonado to feed. Spend you evenings resting at Passiflora Camp.
*The data analysts at Booking.com looked at endorsements for ‘wildlife’ and ‘photography’ by Booking.com customers