Thinking about where to go on your next holiday? Dominic shared some great destination tips with The Augusta Chronicle!
His biggest general travel tip: Get out of your comfort zone!
“For you to taste the fruit, you sometimes have to climb the mountain. … You really compromise what you’re seeing if you just walk into a zoo, because you’re seeing animals under duress. Yet, in the United States, you’re never too far from nature with the national parks. Just take your family and go out into nature. It’s not necessarily all elephants and big encounters like that; it could be just sunsets, insects and other native creatures.”
Here are his best destinations for wildlife viewing experiences.
FLORIDA: “The Everglades is a beautiful part of any country,” Monaghan said, “and it is filled with lots of creatures, from alligators and insects to some pretty spectacular birds. The wildlife is just incredible.”
Famously dubbed the “River of Grass,” the slow-flowing marsh is one of the world’s most unique and fragile ecosystems. It’s also the largest remaining natural subtropical wilderness in North America. Alligators, anhingas and even the elusive Florida panther make their home just 45 minutes west of downtown Miami. For an up-close look, visit the Everglades Outpost Wildlife Refuge or Alligator Farm near Homestead; try an airboat ride; or see the Seminole tribe’s Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, which tells the tribe’s story, and Billie Swamp Safari, which offers a nature trail and airboat rides.
COSTA RICA: Monaghan suggests Costa Rica because of the native birds, insects, and other wildlife. “The variety is incredible,” he said. “And the infrastructure has improved, making it easier to get around. There are lots of rainforests in Costa Rica, but, unfortunately, they are being cut down, so people should definitely get there to see the animals as soon as possible.”
There are about 220 species of reptiles in Costa Rica, including 70 species of lizards and 120 species of snakes. There also are monkeys, bats, jaguars and anteaters, among other animals. The birds, however, are the real attraction, as almost 900 species have been recorded, which is more than in all of the U.S. and Canada combined.
KENYA: This is the place to really start pushing yourself, Monaghan said. “The weather is hot, but food is good, the people are wonderful and the wildlife is everywhere.”
The east African country is home to wildebeests, elephants, giraffes, hippos, warthogs, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas and much more. Many safari companies in the country offer guided tours. Expect to book a tour as much as a year out, and time your trip based on migrations.
AUSTRALIA: “I believe nine of the world’s most venomous snakes live there, and eight of the world’s most venomous spiders live there, too,” Monaghan said. He said Australia doesn’t look big on maps, probably because most map-makers have never been there, but “there is just a lot to see; it’s a huge country.” More than 80 percent of Australia’s plants, mammals, reptiles and frogs are unique to the continent. Some of the best-known animals are the kangaroo, koala, echidna, dingo, platypus, wallaby and wombat.
MADAGASCAR: “The animals there are nowhere else on planet Earth,” Monaghan said. “There are some very bizarre creatures and some very pristine forests that afford incredible opportunities to see animals. It truly is a magical country.”
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the island developed its own distinct ecosystems and wildlife since splitting from the African continent an estimated 160 million years ago.
Approximately 95 percent of Madagascar’s reptiles, 89 percent of its plant life and 92 percent of its mammals exist nowhere else on Earth. Some of those animals include several species of lemur, in addition to flying foxes, narrow-striped mongooses, chameleons, geckos, tomato frogs and many insects. The coral reefs off the coast are home to a wide variety of sea life.
Still not convinced or you need some time to save up the money? Dom visits some of these awesome destinations in this new season of Wild Things, let him take you there! Don’t forget to watch Wild Things starting THIS WEEK (27th January 2016) on the Travel Channel in the US!