A country’s animal population can be every bit as fascinating as its human one.

With wildlife holidays becoming increasingly thrilling and accessible, here are Metro’s favourite five wildlife vacations.

1 SHARKS

Aliwal Shaol, South Africa

The sleepy coastal town of Umkomaas is where you’ll find this great diving spot. The rocky reef in the Indian Ocean boasts a stunning array of sealife but most notably, sharks. Guides take groups scuba diving within meters of this feared fish.

2 PENGUINS

Antarctica

At Ushuaia, jump on board the Kapitan Khlebnikov a Russian Soviet era ice-breaker which smashes a path through the frozen Weddell sea until it reaches Snow Hill Island — land of the Emperor Penguin. If the ice prevents arrival by boat, you’ll be dropped off by helicopter.

3 CAMELS

Sahara (Morocco)

Trek the Sahara desert in traditional Bedouin style, which is on the back of a camel. Climb over the high dunes of Erg Chebbi until sunset when you set up your Bedouin tent and enjoy the night sky. (cameltrekking.com)

4 ELEPHANTS

Corbett National Park, India

Weave your way through the thick mango grove that is Corbett National Park as you let your driver — an elephant — cross rivers, hills and rocks.

You’ll be taken past the foothills of the Himalayas and over to the bank of the Ramaganga River.

Bond with your animal and they will show you sights you never thought possible.
(corbetthideaway.com)

5 GIANT TORTOISE

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

The Galapagos Tortoise has become the emblem of these strange and incredibly important islands.

They can weigh up to 300kg and live for 150 years and are amazing to discover in herds at watering holes across the island.

They are still among the most threatened species in the world though breeding programmes have met with success. (discovergalapagos.com)