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Wildlife destination for January (not Asia, EAfrica, C.Am.)

Level Contributor
611 posts
19 reviews
9 helpful votes
Wildlife destination for January (not Asia, EAfrica, C.Am.)


we are expecting some changes in our life next year, which would prevent travel for a while, and are thinking of finishing with some kind of a grand trip at the start of the year. We could have up to 4 weeks.

Our main interest for travel is wildlife, we also enjoy culture, especially old architecture, and nature in general, but a wildlife heavy trip is always better :) .

The issue is, we spent larger part of the last year in south and southeast Asia, also visited Costa Rica and Australia, so we pretty much crossed out most of the winter destinations as per wildlife species. Going to east African savannah this year, not keen on Uganda's gorillas given the price. I have already been to Chile, I enjoyed it greatly, but I'd better see something else than repeat. I am not so tempted by Galapagos, plus they are are hard to combine with mainland in Jauary. I have already been to Colombia. I am not intrigued by NZ, plus we have destroyed its fauna already a long time ago, and furthermore there are no snakes ;) .

There are a few destinations I would like to visit, I sorted them approx. by priority, but all of them come with their issues, at least given the part of the year. We tend to travel more on a budget side of things, but do not save on travel experience, more on hotels and food.

- No. 1 Madagascar - rainy season, which I am worried about, even worse transfers, muddy...

- No. 2 Gabon - too expensive, plus my wife would not enjoy jungle only vacations

- Peru - rainy season, obscuring the mountain views and drowning the Amazon (but lamas are a priority for my wife :D )

- USA western national parks - too cold, risk of snow storms, difficult to camp = expensive

- British Colombia - even colder

- Ethiopia - war, most interesting stuff in the north, unpleasant people (?)

- Iran - too cold, risky safety-vise, police harassment, enemy territory (Russian side) etc.

Then, I have a few backup options, which are not really places I would prioritize, but they would be good in January:

1) Guatemala + Yucatan - wildlife would be similar to CR, where I went last year, but (probably) not nearly as good, on the other hand, we would enjoy ancient Mayan sites, volcanoes and we have never dived in the Atlantic, plus there is a bull shark season in January. I would like to mix in some xerofauna in the east, see some tarantulas etc., possibly even whalewatching in Baja California, but that is where the drug wars are, and (also :D ) we do not have that much time.

2) Repeat some SA Asia, do a diving heavy trip in the Phillipines and possibly mix in some southern Thailand.

3) Yunnan, but I have alrady been to southern China, if I visited the country again, I would like to see Beijing, the wall etc., and I am not too keen of funding their government given Xinjiang and other issues (and I wrote this here, so no visa for me :D ). Also, I expect Yunnan to be similar to southeast Asia.

Would you have any tips for me, in this purely first world problem?

Thank you :) .

3 replies to this topic
Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
779 posts
7 reviews
1. Re: Wildlife destination for January (not Asia, EAfrica, C.Am.)

Peru would be great...much as you said Uganda 🇺🇬🇺🇬 is not into your list... Right gorilla 🦍🦍🦍 in Uganda are cheap and Dua for security reasons and safety too..

Kampala, Uganda
Level Contributor
345 posts
2. Re: Wildlife destination for January (not Asia, EAfrica, C.Am.)

Where will you be going in Uganda this year? Considering the possibility of not doing travel again for some time in the near future, you can look at gorilla trekking as a gift to yourselves. While it costs $800 per gorilla tracking permit per person, you could look at budget accommodation. The savings would then add up to the gorilla trekking permits.

The alternative is to take the chimpanzee trekking at US$250 per permit per person.

For January, a safari in Uganda would give you a good deal on wildlife and cultural experiences. You could make an all-Uganda trip from the Nile River to Mt. Elgon (coffee experience); wildlife and culture in Kidepo and the greater Karamoja region; then on to the northern national parks, and to western Uganda before ending up again in Entebbe.

Depending on your budget, this may be doable in January. Work through it with your tour operator and see what options you get - I believe with good planning you may be able to get in that desirable gorilla trekking experience.

Vincent | Kwezi Outdoors

Level Contributor
611 posts
19 reviews
9 helpful votes
3. Re: Wildlife destination for January (not Asia, EAfrica, C.Am.)

For 800 I can spend 16 days diving in the phillipines. Or take a week long liveaboard from Hurgada. Or spend a month in Thailand.

More importantly, we are going to East Africa this year and would want to something else.

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