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Our little black book of enchanting places

Planet Earth II: see the real thing

Posted in DESTINATIONS By Maggie O' Sullivan

Red crab, Christmas Island©Gerald Zinnecker/thinkstock

Planet Earth II: we watched the series and bought the DVD. Now it's time to go and discover some of the spectacular wildlife featured for ourselves. Here are four trips that fit the bill perfectly.

Crabs on Christmas Island Each year at the beginning of the wet season (October-November), some 43 million red crabs begin a spectacular migration from the forest on this tiny Australian island to the coast to breed and release their eggs into the sea, with baby crabs returning around a month later. A 15-night Christmas and Cocos Island Diving Experience with Dive Worldwide, with five days on Christmas Island, costs from £4,095 per person, including international flights, transfers, 20 dives, tanks and weights.Snow leopard©abzerit/thinkstock

Snow leopards in Ladakh There are only around 3,500 snow leopards remaining in the wild and they are famously hard to spot. A good chance of doing so is to join wildlife photographer Nick Garbutt and local trackers from the Snow Leopard Conservancy in Ladakh's remote Ulley Valley on a quest to photograph snow leopards and other Himalayan wildlife. A 17-day Snow Leopard in Focus adventure departing 5 February 2017 with Wildlife Worldwide costs from £5,195 per person, including international and domestic flights, transfers, six nights’ hotel accommodation, seven nights at Ulley homestay, full board and photography tuition.Jaguar©The Travelling Naturalist

Jaguars in the Amazon River As part a small group, you can visit some of the best wildlife areas in South America, including the fabulous Pantanal wetlands in search of jaguar, harpy eagles and other wildlife. Four half-day boats trips on the Cuiabá River are devoted to exploring the area around Porto Jofre, looking for jaguars in isolated areas where sightings are frequent. A two-week Jaguars & Raptors of the Pantanal expert-led tour with The Travelling Naturalist, departing 5 October 2017 costs from £4,895 per person, including return flights, 11-nights’ full board, guiding and ground arrangements.Burchell's zebra©Moodboard/thinkstock

Zebra on the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans Makgadikgadi Salt Pans is the only area in Southern Africa to witness a migration of tens of thousands of Burchell’s zebra and blue wildebeest. You can see the real thing after the rains from mid-November, when the dry and empty salt pans transform into lakes, also attracting vast flocks of flamingos and migratory birds, and retaining most of their water right through into April or May. A nine-day Return of the Rivers itinerary with Wildlife Worldwide costs from £5,495 per person, including return flights, mostly full board, transfers, safaris, boat cruises and nature walks.  

BY MAGGIE O'SULLIVAN

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