Certain wildlife and nature destinations are best visited during wintertime and provide a welcome escape from long winter nights here in the UK. Whether you’re looking for an icy break, an up-close wildlife encounter or a retreat to the sun, here are some ideas of where to head this winter in search of the ultimate natural Christmas.
Experience the magic of viewing a display of the Northern Lights in one of the best places to see them on the planet, the Yukon territory of Northwest Canada. The aurora occurs here year-round but is visible for over 200 nights a year, reliably during winter from late August to mid-April when the skies are darkest. At the Yukon Wildlife Preserve you can view local inhabitants like the elk, grizzly bears, moose, caribou, mountain goats, and porcupines. Indulge in warm waters at the organic Eclipse Nordic Hotsprings, designed for optimum relaxation and rejuvenation surrounded by breathtaking winter mountains.
Beneath starry skies, you can stay warm beside an open fire at tailor-made aurora viewing locations before husky sledding along glittering icy winter trails, admiring frozen, sparkling landscaped where the only noise is that of creaking snow under the sleigh runners.
Considered by many to be one of the most magnificent wildlife safaris in the world, a gorilla safari provides privileged and carefully managed access to some of the rarest inhabitants on earth and to one of the world’s most successful conservation stories. The dry winter season from mid-December to early February offers greats conditions for trekking in both Uganda and Rwanda. Their misty jungle habitats make for superb atmosphere hiking, so the whole trip feels like a real expedition. Visits must be planned well in advance as primate permits are very limited. You are only granted an hour’s sitting, often said to have a profound impact on those lucky enough to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience of viewing out closes, living cousins after chimpanzees and bonobos, with whom we share over 98 percent of our genetic code.
If you’re in search of sustainable luxury in harmony with unspoilt nature and wildlife, warm winter weather, and tropical vibes, then Bawah Island Reserve ticks all the boxes. The island is a year-round destination, but from January to February the lagoon is still and clear like glass, and sunsets are extraordinarily vibrant. Bawah is in sheltered seclusion just 160 nautical miles northeast of Singapore. The remote location- there are no other islands closer than 30 nautical miles- means that Bawah has an independent ecosystem, a pristine marine conservation area surrounded by turquoise lagoons and coral reefs. Guests can experience the beauty of this natural environment, whilst also being given the opportunity to learn about the environmental and social challenges that are present. Bawah is ecologically important due to the presence of rare an endangered species of flora an fauna, coral reefs that support a wide variety of marine life, and mangroves between the terrestrial and marine environments.
Some trees on the island are at least two thousand years old, highlighting the vital importance of protection and conservation here. Accommodation ranges from quirky treehouse lodges to stilted overwater bungalows, where sustainability has been placed first and foremost in the resort’s design, construction, and operation. The vision here is to protect and enhance the environmental value of the island’s and surrounding marine environment, empowering, and enabling the development of local communities on neighbouring islands.