Adventure, Destination

10 Wild Bucketlist Encounters

Sea lion pup in Galapagos

I was told not to look them in the eyes. Be non-threatening. Turn off my camera’s flash. Stay at least 5 m away at all times. I was able to experience something so few people will ever experience in their life. I came face to face with a community of mountain gorillas in Uganda and I watched them in their natural habitat for over an an hour. Similarly, I sat down on a glacier in Antarctica and watched as thousands of penguins marched around me. I took a selfie with one of them and he inquisitively looked at me for more than a minute before continuing on his journey. This year’s bucketlist has included some of the most wild animal encounters of my life. I trekked wild gorillas and chimpanzees, swam with whale sharks and tons of other marine life, took selfies with penguins, watched hippos, lions, zebras and crocodiles in their natural environment, watched whales, dolphins and seals swim alongside my ship, fed giraffes from my hand, rode a camel and horses and searched for tree climbing lions. It’s been one wild ride, but my animal side is just getting piqued. Encounters with wild animals are the most adrenaline-filled adventures. Regardless of how in control you feel or how prepared you are, you can’t control a wild animal, especially when you are a guest in their home. Here are 10 wild bucketlist encounters to add to your list and fantastic places to give them a try.

10 Wild Bucketlist Encounters

10 Wild Bucket List Encounters

1. Swimming with Whale Sharks in Mexico
(Usually takes place between May-September)

Swimming-with-Whale-Sharks in Mexico

2. Diving with Great White Sharks in Mexico with Islander Charters

Great White Sharks - Islander Charters

3. Trekking Gorillas in Bwindi National Park, Uganda with Africa Adventure Safaris

Bwindi Mountain Gorilla, Uganda

4. Trekking Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda with Africa Adventure Safaris

Baby Chimp on Mom in Uganda

5. Searching for Polar Bears in Manitoba, Canada with Churchill Nature Tours

Polar Bear in Churchill, Manitoba

6. Taking Selfies with Penguins in Antarctica with Bark Europa

Penguin Selfie on Barrientos Island

7. Swimming with Manta Rays in Hawaii with Fair Wind Cruises

8. Swimming with Stingrays in Grand Cayman with Captain Marvins

Stingrays in Grand Cayman

9. Self-Driving on an African Safari in Namibia with ATI Holidays

Zebra in Etosha National Park, Namibia

10. Swimming with Pigs in Exumas, Bahamas

Swimming with Pigs in the Bahamas

What wild bucket ideas have you experienced? I’m always look for new inspiration and ideas.

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23 thoughts on “10 Wild Bucketlist Encounters

  1. Marc says:

    Done two of those but I am not yet ready to try the shark adventure. Don’t you think it’s dangerous?

    1. Lesley says:

      The shark dive is in a cage and they have never had an incident. I actually think it’s pretty safe. I’m not ready to get out of the cage just yet but maybe someday. Which two have you done?

  2. Marc says:

    Done two of those but I am not yet ready to try the shark adventure. Don’t you think it’s dangerous?

    1. Lesley says:

      The shark dive is in a cage and they have never had an incident. I actually think it’s pretty safe. I’m not ready to get out of the cage just yet but maybe someday. Which two have you done?

  3. sara says:

    These trips look amazing!! A girl can dream right? My husband was a scuba diver and #1 and 2 would be a great trip for him.

    1. Lesley says:

      I did #1 last month and I will do #2 next week. I bet #8 would be his favorite. 🙂

      Are any on your list?

      1. sara says:

        #9 looks like fun to me.

  4. Amber says:

    They all sound dreamy, but I think I’d like gorilla trekking the most. I didn’t think it was real. I had to follow the link and check for myself. I can’t believe that anyone can do it.

    Amber

    1. Lesley says:

      I had to do the exact same thing when I heard about people gorilla trekking. As soon as I knew it was real, I knew I had to do it. 🙂

  5. Amber says:

    They all sound dreamy, but I think I’d like gorilla trekking the most. I didn’t think it was real. I had to follow the link and check for myself. I can’t believe that anyone can do it.

    Amber

    1. Lesley says:

      I had to do the exact same thing when I heard about people gorilla trekking. As soon as I knew it was real, I knew I had to do it. 🙂

  6. Beth says:

    You are insane! Most of these are crazy. Don’t you worry about getting attacked or worse?

    1. Lesley says:

      Most of the situations were quite safe. The extra ones like cage diving with great whites includes a cage so I don’t feel like there is a major risk there and the gorillas and chimpanzees have undergone “habituation.” This refers to the process where through daily, peaceful contact with humans, gorillas have slowly lost their fear of humans and have learned to view them as neutral beings in their environment. Of course there are risks but ones I’m more than willing to take for the experience of a lifetime.

  7. Beth says:

    You are insane! Most of these are crazy. Don’t you worry about getting attacked or worse?

    1. Lesley says:

      Most of the situations were quite safe. The extra ones like cage diving with great whites includes a cage so I don’t feel like there is a major risk there and the gorillas and chimpanzees have undergone “habituation.” This refers to the process where through daily, peaceful contact with humans, gorillas have slowly lost their fear of humans and have learned to view them as neutral beings in their environment. Of course there are risks but ones I’m more than willing to take for the experience of a lifetime.

  8. Dia says:

    Great list! I’ve shark dived in the Bahamas, but they were nurse sharks so no real danger. Still pretty creepy, though.

    1. Lesley says:

      It still sounds like a fun experience. What is the name of the company you dove with? Have you tried any of the others? What are some that you’d like to try?

  9. Dia says:

    Great list! I’ve shark dived in the Bahamas, but they were nurse sharks so no real danger. Still pretty creepy, though.

    1. Lesley says:

      It still sounds like a fun experience. What is the name of the company you dove with? Have you tried any of the others? What are some that you’d like to try?

  10. Matilda says:

    We’ve trekked gorillas in Rwanda (recently got around to writing about it) and traveled to Antarctica but alas did not get a penguin selfie;) Great list- you’ve given us some good ideas!

  11. Matilda says:

    We’ve trekked gorillas in Rwanda (recently got around to writing about it) and traveled to Antarctica but alas did not get a penguin selfie;) Great list- you’ve given us some good ideas!

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