Summary

  • Wildlife enthusiasts can fulfill their dreams of seeing magnificent creatures in their natural habitats by visiting the best countries for wildlife, such as Uganda, Madagascar, and Brazil.
  • These countries offer unique opportunities to see endangered species, colorful coral, lemurs, and other captivating wildlife.
  • From mountain gorillas in Uganda to penguins in Australia and tigers in India, these countries provide unforgettable experiences for nature and wildlife lovers.



Some travelers are obsessed with wildlife, but sometimes a visit to the best zoos just doesn’t cut it. These nature and wildlife lovers want to go out into the world to experience these magnificent creatures firsthand rather than from behind bars. This desire is often the only thing guiding one’s travel plans as animal enthusiasts scour the internet for places with the best wildlife.

Yet, with so many options, it can be daunting to find something for every taste, nature preserves open to the public, or destinations that guarantee up close and personal views of your favorite wild beasts. So to help you plan the safari of your dreams, here are the best countries for wildlife seeing in their natural habitats.

UPDATE: 2023/10/24 15:29 EST BY MARIA BOU INK


17 Best Countries To See Wildlife

Zoos do not match the experience provided by a safari or a visit to a national park in one of the best countries for wildlife watching. The top 10 countries with the most wildlife and top experiences are not enough. Therefore, this list was updated to include more countries with the best wildlife.


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17 Uganda

Kidepo National Park, Uganda
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Giraffes in Kidepo National Park, Uganda

Wildlife seekers can go through Uganda’s steamy and wet forest, climbing steep trails and wading through muddy ravines in the hopes of seeing the critically endangered mountain gorillas. As they fight their way through the appropriately titled Impenetrable Forest, tension rises. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the rangers show them a bunch of gorillas munching bamboo shoots and scaling trees—a surreal sight that will stay with them forever.

  • Best places to see wildlife in Uganda: Kidepo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Lake Mburo National Park


16 Madagascar

Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Natural Reserve at sunset
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Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Natural Reserve at sunset

Madagascar is one of the best countries to see wildlife. To get up close and personal with a variety of lemur species, the Lost Continent is the place to go. Lemurs are endearing creatures with large, piercing eyes and striped tails. The sound of their characteristic vocalizations reverberates throughout the rainforest. Travelers will explore Ranomafana National Park on foot to see the colorful coral and brilliant underwater displays of tropical fish, as well as the Madagascar boa constrictor, black parrot, chameleon, and cuckoo roller. They can also visit the immaculate golden-sand beaches of Anakaoon.

  • Best places to see wildlife in Madagascar: Indri, Lokobe Nature Special Reserve, Tsingy de Bemaraha Strict Natural Reserve…


15 Brazil

A Jaguar in the Pantanal, Pantanal, Poconé, State of Mato Grosso, Brazil
Photo by Sam Power on Unsplash

A Jaguar in the Pantanal, Pantanal, Poconé, State of Mato Grosso, Brazil

There are many creatures you can see during your Brazilian travels if you know where to look. You can witness jaguars, ocelots, foxes, anteaters, otters, and so much more. You can even watch turtle hatchlings at some of their beaches or spot Caiman alligators in the Amazon. It is a good idea to take a tour to ensure your safety from some of the more dangerous species, but the sights are unique and will give you a new appreciation for the wildlife and their homes.

  • Best places to see wildlife in Brazil: Jau National Park, Amanã Sustainable Development Reserve, Pantanal…


14 Australia

Kangaroo Island, Australia
Photo by Ondrej Machart on Unsplash

Kangaroo spotted on Kangaroo Island, Australia

A journey down under to Australia will leave you with plenty of wildlife memories. You could fill albums of selfies with a cute little quokka, or maybe you hope to see a family of kangaroos. No matter where you go, there will be something for you to see that will make your entire trip one you’ll never forget.

Visitors can venture into the Daintree Rainforest to catch a glimpse of some saltwater crocodiles or visit Phillip Island to see a few penguins. There is something for everyone and a trip based on finding these animals will be well worth the long flight.

  • Best places to see wildlife in Australia: Murray River Safari, The Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island…

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13 Wales

Atlantic Puffins on Skomer Island, Wales, UK
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Atlantic Puffins on Skomer Island, Wales, UK

Wales has a good mix of everything from birds and forest animals to underwater mammals. Most people recommend you head to Skomer Island to see some adorable puffins. A bonus while there, you can witness several nesting ospreys at the Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve.

Travelers can also head to the shore to look for dolphins and to catch a glimpse of Grey seals on Ramsey Island. This is the dream vacation of any birder, but it is also something everyone would enjoy as you immerse yourselves into the natural world around you.

  • Best places to see wildlife in Wales: Skomer Island, Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, Ramsey Island…


12 South Africa

Elephants at the Kruger National Park in South Africa
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Elephants at the Kruger National Park in South Africa

South Africa is full of wildlife preserves, as well as endangered species you won’t see anywhere else. The best animals to see are the African elephant, buffalo, lion, rhinoceros, and leopard, which explorers shouldn’t look for on their own. Instead, there are several highly recommended tours available for anyone who wants to see these animals in the wild safely.

Visitors can also visit one of their national parks or nature preserves, such as Addo Elephant Park or Pilanesberg National Park, which are known to house hundreds of animals to protect them from poachers. A picture doesn’t do them justice, as you have the opportunity to witness firsthand how they react in their natural habitats.


  • Best places to see wildlife in South Africa: Addo Elephant Park, Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Nature Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve…

Related: 10 Biggest Zoos In America, Ranked By Number Of Animals

11 United States

An alligator in the Florida Everglades
Photo by Richard Sagredo on Unsplash

An alligator in the Florida Everglades

The United States is yet another great destination for adventurers dreaming of diverse wildlife. Of course, your intended destination will determine what kinds of wildlife you can see. For instance, for visitors headed to Utah, herds of bison are the animal of choice to look for. Alternatively, if you’re traveling to Alaska, then a chance to watch grizzly bears meander through the forest is a must.

A short drive from most cities will immerse you in the natural landscape and give you the opportunity to see some pretty amazing things.


  • Best places to see wildlife in the United States: Katmai National Park & Preserve, Yellowstone National Park, and Everglades National Park…

10 Scotland

Harris Hawk flying in Blair Drummond
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Harris Hawk flying in Blair Drummond

It may surprise many wildlife lovers to know that Scotland is the best place to see wildlife list. But, with no natural predators, visitors can witness a wide array of magnificent creatures, from large birds of prey, like golden eagles and red kites, to ocean mammals, such as the minke whale.

There is also plenty to see and do in the countryside, as well as tours and nature preserves that will give you the lay of the landscape. One of the best places to spot some wildlife is Cairngorms National Park, where you can see these creatures on your own terms.


  • Best places to see wildlife in Scotland: Blair Drummond, Isle of Mull, St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve…

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9 China

Cub of Giant panda bear playing
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Cub of Giant panda bear playing on tree Chengdu, China

When you think of China, you think of the giant panda, which is precisely what you will see when you travel to the Conservation & Research Centre for the Giant Panda near Chengdu. Here visitors can learn all about their conservation efforts as well as witness some of these beasts in the wild.

But that’s not all; if mountains are your thing, you can take to the trails to try and spot the endangered Yunnan snub-nosed monkey near the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Visitors can also take a short trip to South China to see some tigers. But that is definitely one beast you will want to observe from a safe distance via a professional tourist organization.


  • Best places to see wildlife in China: Black Snub-Nosed Monkey National Park, Sanjiangyuan National Park, Laohegou Nature Reserve…

8 Costa Rica

Sloth in the rainforest of Costa Rica 
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Sloth in the rainforest of Costa Rica 

Costa Rica is a lush travel destination brimming with biodiversity and ecosystems, which means it’s definitely a wildlife lover’s paradise. Here, visitors can embark on breathtaking jungle journeys to see sloths, white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguars, bats, tapirs, and flashes of emerald-green resplendent quetzal birds. What’s more, if you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica in the summer or early fall, then make sure to get a glimpse of the sea turtles nesting on Tortuguero’s sandy shores, dolphins swimming, and eagle rays doing whatever it is that they do.


  • Best places to see wildlife in Costa Rica: Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio, Parque Nacional Marino Ballena, Osa Peninsula, Nicoya Peninsula…

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7 India

A tiger rests in Kanha National Park, India
Photo by Gaurav Sharma on Unsplash

A tiger rests in Kanha National Park near Kipling Camp, India 

India is home to the Kanha Tiger Reserve, where you can take a tour to see these magnificently striped predators at work in the wild. Tigers aren’t the only thing to see in this beautiful country, as variations of some of your favorite South African species can be found here. Visitors can see Asiatic lions, Indian elephants, Indian rhinoceros, Indian leopards, and so much more. Overall, a mini-Safari in India is almost a guaranteed fantastic experience that visitors can enjoy by simply taking a short drive into the beautiful and thriving countryside.


  • Best places to see wildlife in India: Kanha Tiger Reserve, Gir National Park, Ranthambore National Park…

6 Botswana

Lions enjoying a drink after a heavy meal, Moremi Game Resere, Botswana
Photo credit: Lavanya Sunkara 

Lions enjoying a drink after a heavy meal, Moremi Game Resere, Botswana 

Just north of South Africa, Botswana is another excellent option for wildlife lovers. Chobe National Park is filled with elephants that will open your eyes to a new and more wonderful world. Here visitors have a good chance of seeing some cape buffalo and even spotting some endangered species, including the African Wild Dog or a rhinoceros. That said, Botswana isn’t predator-free, so make sure you keep an eye out for tree-climbing leopards or black-maned lions because no one wants to, you know, get eaten on vacation.


  • Best places to see wildlife in Botswana: Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, Central Kalahari Game Reserve…

5 Sri Lanka

Elephants in Yala National Park in Sri Lanka
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Elephants in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Of course, no one would miss the opportunity to see some elephants. So if you were looking for a sign to add Sri Lanka to your bucket list, here it is. Sri Lanka is by far the best place to visit if you want to see these massive mammals in their natural habitat. Wildlife enthusiasts can witness these magnificent creatures roaming about grassy plains, red roads, or at the local elephant rehabilitation center. While visiting, a stop at Wilpattu National Park is also a must if you want to spot the elusive leopard—another popular animal in Sri Lanka.


  • Best places to see wildlife in Sri Lanka: Yala National Park, Wilpattu National Park, Udawalawa…

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4 Borneo

Baby Monkey In Borneo
Aaron Spray

Baby Monkey In Borneo

Animal fans can also add Borneo to their list of wildlife-watching hotspots. Even if this is your first time hearing about this haven for wildlife, trust us when we say one trip here, and you will likely be hooked. Here, along the lower Kinabatangan River, visitors will find a diverse ecosystem filled with a variety of primates and several species of birds. Borneo is also home to a plethora of nocturnal creatures and other interesting animals like the adorable pygmy elephants, endangered flat-headed cats, and Western tarsiers.


  • Best places to see wildlife in Borneo: Deramakot Forest Reserve, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley Conservation Area…

3 Thailand

Elephants at Khao Yai National Park
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Elephants at Khao Yai National Park

Lastly, Thailand is overflowing with beautiful creatures as its unique climate allows for several different species to call this country home. Visitors can expect to see some standard beasts like bears and tigers, but they have some more interesting characters like the binturong and pangolin. Much of the wildlife here, you won’t find anywhere else on the planet—making this place a highly valued spot for environmentalists. Plus, there are plenty of tours to show you what you want to see, which is why no place is better for wildlife than this country.


  • Best places to see wildlife in Thailand: Khao Yai National Park, Kui Buri National Park, Huai Kha Khaeng, Thung Yai…

2 Namibia

Two zebras with backs to camera
Photo by Geranimo on Unsplash

Zebras in Namibia before a storm 

Namibia is not only one of the best countries in the world to see wild animals, but it is also one of the best countries to go on a self-driven tour and safari all around the massive (but sparsely populated) desert African country. Anyone visiting Namibia should stay at the Omaruru Game Lodge where people can wine and dine while watching giraffes, zebras, and all manner of African animals. The largest and most popular national park in Namibia is Etosha National Park (and it is a trip of a lifetime).


  • Best places to see wildlife in Namibia: Etosha National Park, Okonjima Nature Reserve, NamibRand Nature Reserve…

1 New Zealand

landscape of Zealandia, the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary
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Landscape of Zealandia, the world’s first fully-fenced urban ecosanctuary

New Zealand is an odd country to make the list – after all, the only native species of mammals in New Zealand are three species of bats. But New Zealand has other wildlife to see. New Zealand has some of the most unusual birds in the world (including alpine parrots and the iconic kiwi bird). Where New Zealand is particularly special is that people can see three species of penguins, a rare example of a mainland albatross nesting colony, and one of the best places in the world to go sperm while whale watching (at the seaside resort town of Kaikoura). Adventurous tourists can also go cage shark diving in New Zealand.


  • Best places to see wildlife in New Zealand: Bay of Islands, Tiritiri Matangi Island, Zealandia…

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