Fancy letting your kids get up close and personal with animals, and cultivate a little love for the animal kingdom on your next family holiday? African safaris aren’t the only option on the list. From glamping (glamour camping) to wildlife lodges to luxury resorts with sea turtles off the coast, there are quite a few amazing experiences out there that are perfect for animal lovers and something extra special for family holidays. Check out these unique hotels in different corners of the world for a memorable and educational wildlife holiday — and possibly help to save an endangered species or two.

Wildlife Hotels with Immersive Animal Encounters

1

Mara River Safari Lodge – Bali, Indonesia

Enjoy a leisurely meal while getting to know your friendly neighbourhood rhinos and lions.

Located in the heart of Bali Safari and National Park, Mara River Safari Lodge is a good spot for a family getaway. Imagine lazing by the pool, while the kids get acquainted with Chapman’s zebras, oryxes, wildebeests, and white rhinos in near proximity.

Wildlife enthusiasts can sign up for the safari journey to get to know more about the animals from the guides. Other activities include the waterpark, dining at Tsavo Lion Fine Dining Restaurant next to the lions’ enclosure, and the night safari, which will be an awe-inspiring out-of-Africa savannah experience.

Families travelling with young children will be happy to know the lodge offers free babysitting or childcare, and cribs or infant beds upon request.

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2

Secret Paradise Resort & Turtle Sanctuary – Palawan, Philippines

The exclusive 77-hectare nature reserve is spread across four pristine beaches.

The resort is named after the droves of turtles that return year after year to lay eggs at the 28-hectare cove protected by the resort’s conservation program.

If your family holiday includes teenagers, this is one of the best spots to snorkel and introduce them to the underwater world of beautiful corals, fishes, and turtles. Out of the seven sea turtle species, the two most common are the endangered Hawksbill and Green turtles, which have been illegally fished to make tortoiseshell jewelry and turtle soup. Visitors can kayak and snorkel among the gentle creatures in the resort’s protected cove, take a hike up the scenic viewpoints overlooking Turtle Bay, or island hop to the nearby Albaguen Reef and Paradise island for more snorkeling.

You can also venture further to Sabang’s world famous Puerto Princesa Subterranean Underground River National Park, affectionately known by locals as one of the “new” 7 wonders of nature.

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3

Makanyane Safari Lodge, Madikwe Game Reserve – South Africa

The luxurious suites have an outside lounge area and private game-viewing sun deck.

Madikwe Game Reserve is home to lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and black and white rhino.

There’s no better place for wildlife than Africa. Madikwe Game Reserve has some of the most exotic species that feels like everything you’ve seen in National Geographic come to life. An amazing experience to have on a family holiday as the kids leave the city life far behind and see what it’s really like in the wild.

For a wildlife experience like no other, head out to this luxurious glamping location on a river at the home of the “Big 5”. Whether you choose to walk with the elephants on one day, trek with the gorillas residing in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest on another, or go on a breathtaking river cruise past villages and ancient monuments, it’s the kind of place that’s sure to make an impact on your life.

Not only is it popular with families who relish a memorable experience in the wild, couples with a slightly more adventurous streak have also chosen this popular wedding destination to tie the knot before their loved ones and curious giraffes.
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4

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort – Orlando, Florida

The grand lobby at Disney’s Animal Kingdom lodge is decorated with real African artifacts and carvings.

You probably wouldn’t have guessed that one of the most authentic African wildlife experience resides in Florida, USA. Home to over 30 species of African wildlife, including zebras, giraffes, gazelles, kudu and flamingos, it is two miles from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. If you’re sleepless in Florida, ask the reception for night vision goggles to continue your animal gazing well into the wee hours.

Parents planning a quiet dinner will be happy to know about the Simba’s Clubhouse for kids age 3-12, where the kids will be happily occupied by games, Disney movies, and making new friends over dinner and craft making.

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5

Hilton Waikoloa Village – Hawaii

Explore the azure waters of the four-acre saltwater lagoon at the Village.

Aloha! How about a family holiday in one of the most famous islands in the world? Hawaii is a classic holiday destination that is definitely family-friendly and has that magical laidback vibe that really puts you in a vacation mood.

Situated on the Kona Coast of Hawaii Island, Hilton Waikola Village is an oceanfront playground that brings the best of nature and Hawaiian culture to your doorstep. From volcano to wildlife excursions and helicopter tours, the only thing you’ll have to worry about is having time to enjoy the activities.

A highlight of the village is The Dolphin Quest Lagoon, which allows guests to interact with live dolphins for a fee. Over at a second saltwater lagoon, guests can spend an idyllic afternoon kayaking or snorkeling. Don’t forget to book a Luau on Hawaii Island – Legends of Hawaii, which brings to life the ancestral song (mele) and dance (hula) through the Big Island Story.

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Livingston Lodge, Port Lympne Reserve – Kent, UK

Visit more than 700 animals and 88 species on a safari ride through the sprawling grounds of Port Lympne Reserve.

A family holiday in the UK doesn’t have to be confined to the city of London. Harry Potter is exciting, but so are the creatures of real life! Wander out to the nature reserves to get the kids acquainted with the beautiful wildlife species in the UK.

Located near Port Lympne Wild Animal Park and Gardens, this rustic accommodation of Livingston Lodge makes you temporary companions with either tigers, rhinos, deer, or bears, depending on your preference. Rest assure you’re safe if you observe the rules and guidelines of the resort. From the safety of 30-mile views from your private balcony over the reserve, you can’t help but marvel at the wonder of traversing through the 600-acre reserve among these majestic beasts.

Check out more ideas for glamping in the UK here.

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Jamala Wildlife Lodge – Canberra, Australia

Nestled within Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium, it’s hard for anyone to get bored here when you get surprise visits from brown bears, lions, cheetahs, Malayan sun bears, Sumatran tigers and more. Animal lovers will be heartened to know that their stay at the lodge benefits the welfare of the animals – the lodge contributes funds to programs run by organisations that help endangered species and those that are held in captivity, such as volunteer organization N.Z.A.C.T and PACT (Positive Actions Conservation Team).

You can be safely inside with all the comforts of your room, and have the animals come right up to you! Check out these pictures of tigers and giraffes by the bedroom!

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The Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary – Queensland, Australia

Perched above the Ithaca River, the Canopy Rainforest Tree Houses offer a much needed bout of fresh air.

Staying at a luxury timbre and glass tree house may sound a tad hipster-ish, but the calming experience could well be worth it. If you prefer to trade your daily alarm for the more pleasant wake-up call of birdsong, consider this award-winning treetop eco lodge located high above the banks of the Ithaca River. Comprising a double spa, fully self-contained kitchen, and a balcony with a BBQ and hammock, it offers frazzled urbanites the perfect respite of serenity in nature and modern creature comforts.

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