So where’s everyone off to this year?
Just wondering what mammal watching trips people have got planned for this year? Myself, at present I have not had the greatest start to the year but hopefully the worst is behind me and I can start thinking about going somewhere later in the year. Does anyone know of any good value trips or looking for people to make up numbers? At the moment I am open to any suggestions, although I feel drawn to Finland given the strong pound and the opportunities for wolverines and wolves, I also have a yen to visit Ethiopia for wolves, and have also been considering Uganda – birds and gorillas plus general game. Also what are your favourite destinations that offer a good combination of birds and mammals and are great for self drivers? I know that South Africa, Yellowstone and Borneo are…
We are going to British Columbia in June-July and maybe down the W coast of Mexico in September. Not sure about August yet – we have to find out how our daughter tolerates travel (she’s 3.5 months old now).
I thought about organizing a little outing to Barrow in either June or October to try for ribbon seal and other stuff (it’s expected to be a lemming year), but apparently non-natives aren’t allowed to go out in boats at all from Barrow, which is a total bummer. The current airfare from Anchorage is just $300 round-trip. It might still be possible to see the seals and also bowhead whales and polar bears from the ice’s edge, but that’s unpredictable, and by the time the ice situation is more clear the airfare will certainly go up. If anybody’s interested, I can post updates as I learn more.
I’ve done some research into where and when to see Ribbon Seals, and they can be easy to see off of Gambell in late spring if there is a lot of sea ice around (where you are allowed to go on boats). Unfortunately, this is hard to predict more than a few days in advance. Check here for the forecast: http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/ice.php. I’m interested in doing this at some point in the future, but I’m busy this year (I’m going to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh in NE India).
I thought about Gambell. The difference is, it’s $300 from Anchorage to Barrow, but $1000+ to Gambell, and local costs are also much higher.
I am wait listed on a cruise from Ushuaia to Capetown via Tristan da Cunha, which is actually in 2016. The Atlantic Odyssey trips go north from Tristan, which doesn’t interest me so much.
There are some big cruise ships, like Holland, that go from Buenos Aries to Valparaiso for ~US$2500, some go to the Antarctic peninsula. There are 1400 people which kind of sucks but it’s $10,000 cheaper than the small boats, especially good if you are a single traveler.
Like Jon says, anywhere in north america is self drive, I’d be up for some trips to the western half of the country.
Vladimir, October in Barrow is good for Ross’ Gulls, let me know if you go.
I have 1 big mammal watching trip this year to Sumatra with a quick hop to Deramakot, with Jon and Jean-Michele.
I keep trying to find local wildlife here including my nemesis the caracal, striped hyena, arabian oryx, onager, marbled polecat, and I have yet to see the european otter too which is possible here.
I also have some none-wildlife trips planned this year with the family including greece which was delayed to July and iceland in mid-september, where I hope to see arctic fox at least, and we’re also going whale watching.
Jo – next year (a lot ways away) after I graduate I’m planning on spending some substantial time in Africa before I get a big boy job. I intend to visit, among other, Uganda and the Nouable-Ndoki/Sangha area, including Sangha Lodge. So if you can hold off till next year with Uganda perhaps we can combine forces 🙂
About CAR – I know this is considered an “unsafe” country, but is it true that if you enter from Congo it’s less “unsafe”? Entering the country and the park by river and only visiting the lodge?
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Hi Jo, Costa Rica and Chile are both good destinations for self-drive, though a little bit of Spanish helps. And of course the Yukon or Alaska can be good too, much of the USA beyond Yellowstone (eg California, Florida, Arizona (I love the Chiricahuas), Texas), as well as Australia, Namibia … For shorter trips (for you) then Spain, Finland or the Western Sahara (where I’ve yet to go) are all good. Or perhaps a short cruise around Spitzbergen (the 3 day cruise I took in 2006 was good value) http://mammalwatching.com/Palearctic/palearctnorway.html
I’m going to Guyana next week, then Sumatra & Borneo in late May and the Tibetan plateau in September. As well as a few shorter US trips… that’s the plan anyway!
Hope your year improves and you send some great reports through