This last year has been a rollercoaster ride, full of emotions and stress. We spent way too much time cooped up in our homes and we strayed further away from nature. If we have learned anything from last year, it’s that humans can’t live without nature. We need to protect nature and take care of it. To connect with it. And what better way to connect with nature than to explore everything it has to offer.
Yellowstone National Park, USA
Famous for its geysers and colorful hot springs. It’s the first National Park in the USA. Yellowstone is the home of the most famous geyser Old Faithful. Concerning wildlife here you can encounter grey wolves, grizzly bears, moose and the world’s largest bison herd. You can even find herds of wild horses in the northeast of the park. Native Americans used to call this place home. It used to be their hunting grounds. If you are interested in Native American culture there are several reservations near Yellowstone. You can go camping, paddling or rafting. Yellowstone has many paleontological sites, a perfect place to look at some fossils.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
If you want a taste of Africa’s wildlife scenery this is the place to be. One of the most famous parks in Africa. It’s Tanzania's oldest park. Here you can witness the famous wildebeest migration that happens every year. If you wish to see the wildebeest migration try to visit during June or July. You can go wildlife spotting by classic safari or you can try getting a bird’s eye view riding a hot air balloon. The biological diversity is outstanding and it’s where four globally threatened or endangered species live: black rhinoceros, african elephant, wild dog and cheetah.
Tara National Park, Serbia
If you want to experience the beauty of nature and you’re on a budget I recommend you visit Tara. The park covers almost the entire mountain of Tara, hence the name. The mountain belongs to the inner circle of the Dinarides, Dinaric Alps. Out of over 1000 different plant species, 20 are endemic to this region. The most famous endemic species surely is the Pancic spruce - a relic that survived The Great Ice Age. When you enter the woods you have the feeling you went back in time. There are different hiking tours where you can visit Tara’s majestic viewpoints. You can go kayaking down the Drina river or you can visit Andricgrad. Andricgrad was built based on the novel “The Bridge on the Drina”, written by Nobel Prize winner Ivo Andric. There are cultural and historical monuments to visit as well. Such places include the medieval fortress Solotnik and the monastery Raca.
Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Along with Mosi-oa-Tunya National park, on Zambia’s side of the border, the parks protect the world’s largest waterfall. Locals call it Mosi-oa-Tunya meaning “smoke that thunders”, you can guess why when you hear the thundering of water hitting the ground. Victoria Falls is actually composed of five different waterfalls: Devil’s Cataract, Rainbow Falls, Main Falls, Horseshoe Falls and Eastern Cataract. It might be best to see this amazing view by helicopter or microlite, to truly appreciate its beauty. The falls should be seen from both sides of the border for a better viewing experience. While taking in the beauty of the waterfall you have a chance to spot elephants, buffalo, white rhinoceros, hippopotamus and antelope.
Daintree National Park, Australia
Named after the Daintree river that flows through the park, the Daintree is the oldest rainforest in the world. Estimated to be more than 110 million year old! This beautiful lush rainforest is brimming with life and species that exist nowhere else in the world. With more than 430 bird species, this is certainly paradise for bird watchers. The cassowary, a flightless bird, can usually be spotted here. Cruise the Daintree river, zipline across the rich canopy or go on a nighttime tour with an Aboriginal guide.
Ranthambore National Park, India
If you are a fan of tigers this is the place for you! Once a hunting ground for the Maharajas of Jaipur, now a major wildlife reserve and tourist attraction. Enjoy two types of safaris: jeep and canter. Whichever you choose you are guaranteed to be shown the best wildlife spotting experience. If you’re a bird lover, that might be another reason to visit this park. With around 320 species of birds, this is the ideal place for bird watching enthusiasts.
Abisko National Park, Sweden
Experience the Aurora Borealis! Abisko National Park is located in the taiga biome, better known as boreal forest biome. Because of low light pollution, during late autumn and winter it becomes the perfect place to view the Northern lights. During that time the park is also a popular ski destination. If you’re not a skier, you can try snowshoe walks, dogsled rides and snowmobile tours.
Iguazu National Park, Argentina
Another waterfall to add to your travel bucket list. Iguazu National Park is where 80% of the Iguazu Falls is located. The Iguazu Falls is a multi-drop tiered waterfall complex, the largest one in the world. It features spectacular wildlife that is rarely seen. It’s home to endangered species such as the giant otter and the giant anteater. Here you get a chance to spot a toucan. It’s also a great place to go butterfly watching. Each month during the full moon visitors are allowed at night, for a breathtaking view of the Devil’s Throat under the moonlight. Then it is possible to see moonbows that, much like rainbows, are created from mist and the light of the moon.
Göreme National Park, Turkey
Located in the volcanic zone of Hasan Mountain and Erciyes Mountain. The striking feature of the park are the unusual rock formations dubbed “fairy chimneys”. The Turkish culture and unearthed underground cities are the true highlight of this park. As you discover Goreme you will return to ancient times. The underground cities used to be settlements during the Byzantine period. THe cities were built underground for protection from frequent invasions. What better way to explore this beautiful landscape than a balloon tour? The balloon tour starts every day at sunrise, but the view and the pictures you’ll have are certainly worth it!
Chitwan National Park, Nepal
The home of one of the last populations of single-horned Asiatic rhinoceros. Located at the foot of the Himalayas, it’s one of the few wild vestiges of the Terai region. If you ever wanted to see a herd of elephants or free roaming rhino, it’s here. Go for a guided jungle walk, explore the depths of the forest via safari, ride a silent cone while spotting wildlife. Another great place for birdwatching, and if birds aren’t your thing you can go butterfly watching instead.
This year choose nature! Visit one of the parks mentioned above or visit one that’s closest to you. Every corner of the world is beautiful and every country has its own unique wildlife to see. Just remember to leave only footprints and take only memories. Cherish nature and it will cherish you.