Some travel destinations can be a tough slog for animal lovers, and this is true even in some locations that are otherwise beautiful. In Greece and Cyprus, for instance, the attitude towards pets is decidedly different to the US, and you’ll see starving stray dogs and cats everywhere you go, not to mention countless puppies and kittens being abandoned by their owners.
In some countries, the locals are known to pelt stray dogs with rocks, seeing them as unclean and against everything they believe in. If you’re an animal lover it’s hard to witness and is a surefire way to ruin your holiday as you try desperately to help but realize there is little you can do.
However, there are some travel locations that are ideal for animal lovers, locations where you’ll be at home with likeminded people and can get up-close with beautiful tame animals that are neither rabid nor abused.
The United Kingdom
You will find stray dogs and cats no matter where you go in the world. If the locals have a habit of getting pets for themselves and their kids, then you’re always going to find those who don’t care enough to keep those pets and let them go when they can no longer afford them.
However, it’s a different story in the UK. Despite having one of the highest population of dogs and cats, there are very few strays. That’s because a lot of the strays end up being cared for by the country’s many animal charities and they are often adopted before long. They also really love their animals here, and treat them like members of the family.
This is even true of some zoos, most notable of which is Chester Zoo in the north-west. This is a conservation zoo, which means they are there to care for animals in need, and not just to put them behind bars for the benefit of spectators. They really do look after them and have some of the biggest and most open spaces in the world.
It’s a similar story with Longleat, a safari park in the south. It may seem a little odd having a safari park in the UK, but the weather around this area isn’t as bad as the rest of the country and they have invested millions into providing the best habitats for the animals that they care for. They even televised activity around the park for a long time, letting cameras get up-close-and-personal with the staff, animals and processes, and proving they had nothing to hide.
Obviously, no list of the best tourist destinations for animal lovers should mention Seaworld. It doesn’t have the best history when it comes to animal care. However, the same can’t be said for the state on the whole.
Florida is rich in wildlife, including all kinds of alligators, but the locals are so hardened after living alongside these beasts that they really go out of their way to care for them. You can get up close without getting your head snapped off, and if you prefer animals a little friendlier you can head off the coast and take a dolphin cruise.
The boats that take you out are captained by experienced skippers who know how to get close without disturbing or harming the dolphins. They want you to have a good time, but they also do their best to ensure the animals are safe.
This is one of the best places in the world to see polar bears and other Arctic animals in their natural habitat, without shipping off to some barren, icy landscape. It’s cold, of course, but it’s also located in a well-equipped town and is surprising accessible when you consider that you’ll be getting close to polar bears, reindeer, walruses, seals, puffins and Arctic foxes, while also seeing the Northern lights in all their glory.
It’s best to visit during the summer, when the sun shines nearly all of the day. Just don’t bother packing your t-shirts, shorts and swimwear!
It’s not a town located in Norway itself, but rather it’s an archipelago located between Norway and the North Pole. It is a Norwegian territory though and the locals are just as friendly as the Norwegians on the mainland, although there are nowhere near as many of them.
A lot of tourists looking to experience the best of Africa wildlife flock to South Africa and split their time between the bustling metropolises of Johannesburg and Cape Town, and the safari parks that litter the countryside.
But the best way to see African wildlife up-close, while still staying safe and avoiding the chaos of high-crime and civil war that has torn this continent apart in recent decades, is Tanzania. This country is one of the cradles of civilization, with many important fossils found here. It’s also home to a plethora of wild animals, and you can see these on organized safaris.
There are hippos, zebras, giraffes, rhino, elephants and, of course, lions. The Serengeti is one of the most diverse and beautiful geographical regions in Africa, and it’s located in northern Tanzania, which itself is located in East Africa.
India is a diverse, vast and beautiful country. Its history is of great importance to the human race and human civilization. Vast and powerful civilizations have existed here for many thousands of years and it even impressed Alexander the Great when he campaigned across the region, reaching a point that Greeks believed was the end of the world.
India is home to some of the fiercest and most beautiful animals in the world, including the Bengal Tiger, which is a sight that will make your knees weak if you’re in the wild and there isn’t an electrified fence in front of you.
There are national parks throughout the country where you can see these animals, including Ranthambore Nation Park, where you’ll also see big cats like leopards. India, for the most part, is also vegetarian and has a great deal of respect for the cow, which they deem to be sacred. It can be a bit weird seeing skinny cows wandering through busy streets, but they are not abused in any way and that’s a refreshing sight.