For millions of American’s a safari is a bucket list dream however, for many, Africa is just a dream more than a reality. The excitement of being surrounded by some of the rarest, most powerful and majestic animals in the world, nothing can replace the sheer heart palpitating power of animals like rhinos, elephants and even bears. If a safari is on your bucket list but Africa is just not in the cards right now, check out three of America’s best safaris this summer.
Taking it up a notch is the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. Here in Glen Rose Texas, just an hour or so from Dallas/Fort Worth, visitors find themselves transported to a true wilderness safari area. Free roaming ostriches, white rhinos, cheetahs, gazelles, wildebeests, antelopes and close to 60 others species live their lives on an 1800 acre park. Actually a non-profit conservation center meant to preserve and breed endangered species from around the world, this park offers visitors a hands-on experience. Safari options here range from self guided tours where you drive yourself and your family through the enclosure to guided tours and special tours such as the Animal Keeper Tour and Dinner where you get the chance to visit animals such as the maned wolves and cheetahs in the Intensive Management Area.
Wild Level – Tame
San Diego Zoo Safari Park
An 1800 acre zoo in the San Pasqual Valley of San Diego, this zoo is unlike others in that aside from the typical “zoo” experiences, San Diego Zoo Safari Park is infamous for its free range enclosures whwer you can actually choose your own safari. Take a tour around the “African Plains” by cart or for the extreme adventurer in you, spend the night on a special camping adventure in tents overlooking the Afican Plains exhibit. A “safer” type of ultimate adventure, the park also offers a variety of types of this safari including adults only, family nights, all ages, girl scouts and school nights sleepovers. Depending on what you hope to get from your safari, tours range in price from $50 plus admission for the Cart Safari to $599 and up, plus admission for the VIP Ultimate Safari which offers visitors a personalized 5 to 8 hour tour with a personal guide of the parks most amazing creatures including cheetahs, zebras and off-exhibit areas.
Wild Level – Don’t get out of the jeep
Katmai National Park
For those looking for less of a “structured” safari, really get out in the wild and feel what a safari feels like when you journey to Katmai National Park. Named after the volcano located in the heart of the park, no cages can be found here. What happens here is life and in the truest sense of the world. Katmai National Park is a massive national park and preserve in Alaska which is most noted for its large brown bear and grizzly populations. Encompassing an area of roughly 3.9 million acres, the area is a backcountry wilderness ideal for those looking for an adventure. While there are some “structured” areas where you can see these and other animals including bear viewing platforms, there are plenty of areas where viewing is simply happenstance.
Not a destination for those afraid of the wilds, with less than 5 miles of maintained roads, safaris here are done on foot, by kayak or raft or even by air. Though ranger led hikes are free of charge (except park entry permit fees), many of the park tours are led by concessioner’s authorized by the NPS. In Katmai, one of the leading guides is Katmailand Inc. who offer lodge packages, overnight stays and even guided fishing tours.
Wild Level – Don’t forget your running shoes
Island Trader Vacations reviews tips and news to help you travel. What inspires you? Where do you want to travel? Don’t be restricted by what you think, get out and explore and be inspired in the U.S. and beyond.