African game reserves flooded, travelers stranded

Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and a UNESCO Biosphere location. This week, the park was closed as massive flooding of the once-in-one-hundred-years magnitude stranding American and Canadian tourists who had to be airlifted out yesterday.

After a swollen river burst its banks and washed-out a bridge. “There wasn’t any other way to get out of the park,” Canadian Linda Freeman, airlifted out of the area told Reuters.

Flooding in southeast Africa this week has killed at least five people, forced thousands to evacuate homes and led to an airlift of about 20 foreign tourists in the southern provinces of Maputo, Gaza and Inhambane, weather officials said.

All organized game drives have been suspended as more than 1,500 people have been forced to flee their homes with local weather stations reporting a 267mm rainfall (10.5 inches) in one 24 hour period earlier this week, over five times the classification for heavy rain.

Gadling’s Kraig Becker was on safari in Kruger National Park not long ago and tells us:

“In all, I spent six days in Kruger, and was given the chance to explore it both on foot and by vehicle. In those days, I found that it lived up to its billing as one of the top safari destinations in all of Africa. Not only is the wildlife all that you would expect, and more, but the landscapes are breathtaking as well. In my travels within the park boundaries, I saw beautiful rivers, emerald forests, and stunning canyons. The gorgeous scenery was an element I wasn’t expecting, and it helped to further separate Kruger from the Serengeti.” Read more here.

Flickr photo by Sito Wijngaarden

The Best Places to View Wildlife

Yesterday we posted an article with the top places to view penguins in the world. Here are five more amazing places to view wildlife from around the globe.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The wide open grasslands of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania have one of the most impressive displays of wildlife that you could ever hope to see. Each year, one of the greatest natural spectacles on the planet takes place when literally hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle, along with over a million wildebeest make the Great Migration across the great savannah in search of grasslands to graze upon. Following in their wake are lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and dozens of other species. The migration is unmatched for the size and scope of wildlife, and is awe inspiring to see.

The Amazon Rainforest, South America
The Amazon Jungle in South Africa is so vast that it it covers parts of eight countries. It is also the home to the highest concentration of birds and freshwater fish on the planet, and more than one third of the world’s animal species call the Amazon home. Highlights of these species include jaguars, anacondas, giant anteaters and a variety of monkeys. The Amazon River contains plenty of interesting creatures as well, such as electric eels, freshwater dolphins, pirarucu, which grow to more than 2 meters in length, and of course the piranha.Alaska, USA
America’s 50th, and largest state, is home to a wide variety of wildlife as well. The remote backcountry is a perfect habitat for migrating herds of caribou, moose, elk, and reindeer. Alaska also boasts polar, kodiak and black bear, large populations of bald eagles, and packs of wolves. Head out to the coastal regions, and you’ll find seals, sea lions, and walrus. But best of all, the waters that surround Alaksa offer some of the best opportunities for spotting whales that you’ll find anywhere anywhere on Earth, with beluga, blue, humpback, and even killer whales on display.

The Galapagos islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Islands may have made yesterday’s list for great places to view penguins too, but they have plenty more to offer as well. Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador, the small volcanic archipelago is home to a host of animals that are found no where else on Earth, such as marine iguanas the only lizard in the world that lives in the ocean. There are plenty of lizards that live on land as well, along with several breeds of turtles and sea tortoises, an array of distinct birds, and a large colony of sea lions and fur seals.

Kruger National Park, South Africa
When it comes to spotting wildlife in its natural habitat, few places on Earth can compare to Kruger National Park in South Africa. Kruger is the home to hundreds of species of animals, including more than 500 species of birds alone. But visitors to this park, the largest in South Africa, don’t really come for the birds. Instead, they come to see the hippos, zebras, giraffes and other exotic beasts. Kruger has a reputation, and deservedly so, for being the best place on the planet to spot the “Big Five”, which include lions, elephants, leopards, cape buffalo, and rhinos.

Any one of these places will give you the opportunity to see ome of the most impressive and amazing animals on the planet, and fortunately they are all accessable to travelers, offering unique and wondrous experiences.