Observing wildlife in its natural habitat is one of the most exhilarating experiences, especially if you’re on foot.
Grab your walking boots and a pair of binoculars and you could spot some of the world’s most majestic animals, from a rhino to a snow leopard.
If you want to experience the thrill, here are seven of the very best trips available.
Pumas in Chile
Chilean Patagonia is home to the llama-like guanaco (pictured above). You may also see the Andean puma
Wildlife wow: Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia is home to the llama-like guanaco and the Andean puma.
Close encounter: Sightings likely to be at a distance.
Fitness factor: High altitude across rough terrain.
Best time to go: March and April.
Book it: A ten-day trip, including flights, accommodation and meals, costs from £5,395; wildlifeworldwide.com
Brown bears in Slovakia
Endearing sight: A brown bear with one of her cubs. Bears should be observed from a safe distance
Wildlife wow: Slovakia’s Carpathian Mountains are home to almost half the European population of brown bears. Follow tracks with park rangers.
Close encounter: Bears should be observed from a safe distance but just a glimpse through binoculars is pulse-raising.
Fitness factor: Hikes are seven to nine hours a day, so a good level of fitness is required.
Best time to go: May, June and September.
Book it: An eight-day trip costs from £1,049, excluding flights; walksworldwide.com
Caribou in Arctic Canada
Wildlife wow: Deep in the Arctic tundra you’ll find the 350,000-strong herd of Qamanirjuaq caribou – and there’s also a chance to spot wolves, grizzly and black bears and golden eagles.
Close encounter: You can walk within feet of the herd.
Fitness factor: A mix of short walks and longer hikes.
Best time to go: September.
Book it: Seven-day trips costs from £5,250; naturalworldsafaris.com
Snow leopards in the Himalayas
Cool cat: A snow leopard on the slopes of the Himalayas – they are one of the planet’s most majestic creatures
Wildlife wow: Hidden in the frosty crags of the Himalayas, you’ll find one of the planet’s most majestic creatures – the snow leopard. Travel firm Pelorus works with guides who helped the BBC Natural History unit track and film these elusive predators for smash-hit show Planet Earth.
Close encounter: Sightings are normally through binoculars.
Fitness factor: Tough trekking in sub-zero conditions.
Best time to go: December to March.
Book it: An 11-day trip costs from £6,420, excluding flights; pelorusx.com
Gelada baboons in Ethiopia
Distinctive: A female gelada baboon with its baby on her back pictured in Ethiopia’s Simien National Park
Wildlife wow: This trek through Ethiopia’s Simien Mountains could offer sightings of Ethiopian wolves and ibex. But it’s the spectacular gelada baboons (otherwise known as bleeding-heart baboons because of their distinctive chest markings) that are the real draw.
Close encounter: You’ll get near enough to get a good look at their long fur and huge incisors.
Fitness factor: Daily distances up to 13 miles, often at high altitude.
Best time to go: Between October and February.
Book it: A 15-day trip costs from £2,649, excluding flights; responsibletravel.com
Rhinos in Nepal
A sunrise walk through Nepal’s Chitwan National Park will give you a good chance of seeing a rhino
Wildlife wow: Only 2,000 Indian rhinos remain in the wild. A sunrise walk through Nepal’s Chitwan National Park will give you a good chance of seeing one.
Close encounter: Most likely at a distance.
Fitness factor: A fair level of fitness is required.
Best time to go: October to May.
Book it: A three-day trip costs from £235, excluding international flights; rickshawtravel.com
Lemurs in Madagascar
Something special: Listen out for the ghostly wail of the indri lemur, pictured above, in the forests of Madagascar
Wildlife wow: The majority of wildlife experiences are on foot – bringing you into close contact with the island’s wildlife. Day and night walks through the forests allow you to follow long-limbed lemurs and listen out for the ghostly wail of the indri lemur.
Close encounter: You’re likely to get to within several feet.
Fitness factor: You set the pace – the wildlife is accessible.
Best time to go: Between April and November.
Book it: A 14-day trip costs from £5,795, including flights, meals and accommodation; rainbowtours.co.uk