December provides an abundance of gifts for those willing to look for them. Some will be the penguins hatching in the Antarctic, trekking snow leopards in the Himalayas, catching a glimpse of rare birds in Ecuador, or swimming in the warm waters of the Indian ocean with whale sharks. There really is a huge selection of wildlife to discover at this time of year.
Mafia Islands is a part of Tanzania. It has a tropical climate and is surrounded by unspoiled barrier reefs in the Indian Ocean. There is a large array of fish, including the mighty whale shark, turtles, rays, and dolphins.
December is the Antarctic summer and can be an excellent time to visit because many chicks begin hatching. Both parents feed the penguins as they hatch, which always provides some great photographic opportunities.
The elusive snow leopard prowls in the mountains of the Himalayas in December. They start to descend to warmer valleys in search of the bharal – their favourite prey. As you trek across magnificent landscapes in search of the bushy tailed leopard, you may also be lucky enough to see Tibetan wolf, or bearded vulture, too.
The cloud forests of Ecuador are home to some five hundred species of bird (35 types of hummingbird), making it one of the best places on Earth for spying many of these beautiful birds. The height of the rainy season is one of the best times to visit, as there is an abundance of food, so birds are at their most numerous, and many are starting to mate.
Best December destinations for wildlife watching
- Indian Ocean, the Mafia Islands whale shark
- Penguin chicks begin hatching in the Antarctic
- Snow leopards in Ladakh, India
- Birdwatching in the cloud forests of Ecuador
- Birdwatching, Senegal
- Rhinos in Kaziranga, India
- Flamingo in Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
- Albatross chicks in New Zealand
- Tigers in Chitwan National Park, Nepal
- Manatees in Florida, USA
- Galápagos (see what is happening month by month on the islands)
- Africa (see what is happening month by month on this continent)