PICS: 9 Exotic destinations where animals rule

2018-08-13 14:00
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(Photo: iStock)

Long has humankind dominated the spaces they frequent and inhabit - but that isn't the case in these exotic destinations where the animals run the show.

From pigs on the beach to a park filled with deer, here are some of the most far-out exotic destinations where animals rule. 

Where: Seal Island, South Africa

Animals: Cape Fur seals

Thousands of people that visit the Western Cape annually know about the hunk of rock in the waters of False Bay known as Seal Island.

Inhabited by over 60 000 Cape Fur seals, this granite shelf is dominated by these aquatic animals seeking a respite from relentless waters and an ocean filled with hungry great white sharks.

Make sure you check this out up close from the relative comfort and safety of a tour boat.

 (Photo: Cape Fur seals on Seal Island, iStock)

PICS: Rare Southern Elephant Seal sighting on Seal Island goes viral

Where: Big Major Cay, The Bahamas

Animals: Pigs

This Pig Beach is by no means overwhelmed or infested with swine. And even if it was, that would likely be okay as the island is uninhabited by human beings making this area the sole preserve of these swaggering porkers.

According to local legend, the pigs are on the island after swimming ashore after a shipwreck and have never left.

If you're trying to see the piggies, hop on a boat from one of the neighbouring isles and go exploring.

 (Photo: Swimming pigs in the Bahamas, iStock)

SEE: Bahamas famous swimming pigs found dead in ocean - only seven or eight left

Where: Assateague Island, USA

Animals: Horses

With its herds of feral horses, pristine beaches and more for visitors to enjoy, this near-mythical location is a great place to see wild horses roam freely in a unique setting.

A popular explanation for the presence of the horses has it that a shipwreck forced some of the original horses to swim to the shore where they still gallop around today unfettered by the constraints of domestication. 

 (Photo: Feral horses on the beach, iStock)

PICS: Wild horses fascinate tourists in SA mining village

Where: Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles

Animals: Aldabra giant tortoise

Make sure you move slowly and gently should you be so fortunate so as to visit this archipelago.

With over 152 000 slow-moving giant tortoises on this atoll, you're almost guaranteed to see one of the Aldabra giant tortoises here and not too many humans.

This habitat is fragile, protected and largely untouched by human activity so make sure you seek permission from the Seychelles Islands Foundation before you go exploring.

 (Photo: Aldabra giant tortoise in Aldabra Atoll, iStock)

SEE: Quick Guide to the Seychelles: Visa-free for South Africans

Where: Christmas Island, Australia

Animals: Red Crabs

Every year, around October, a marvellous natural occurrence unfolds on this isle 3385 kilometres off the coast of the Australian mainland.

Hundreds of millions of red crabs leave the relative safety of the forest canopy and head to the coast to breed.

Make sure to exercise caution as these guys do tend to cross many of the roads that are used by visitors driving around trying to find the scuttling critters.

 (Photo: Red Crabs cross the road on Christmas Island, iStock)

SEE: How to avoid being a digi-bandit: Man booted back home for offensive phone videos after landing in Australia

Where: Nara Park, Japan

Animals: Deer

Japan is most certainly home to some of the most unique experiences on offer and with Nara Park, the country certainly does not disappoint.

The park is home to hundreds of white-spotted Sika deer roaming freely, trotting with ease through this eight square kilometre park.

The deer have become a symbol of the city and they are clearly accustomed to human presence as these stubborn but friendly creatures walk around with an unnerving confidence. Buy some crackers from one of the local vendors and feed the deer or visit in late spring and you may be lucky enough to see newborn fawns.

 (Photo: Deers in Nara Park, iStock)

WATCH: Rare sighting of deer on hind legs in punching match

Where: Churchill, Canada

Animals: Polar bears

Often referred to as the polar bear capital of the world, Churchill in Canada is a land where human beings are fortunately not in control of the environment.

Driven by an instinct to head toward the sea, the bears often meander right through the centre of this town showing the silly humans who really owns this space. 

 (Photo: Polar bears in Churchhill, iStock)

SEE: South African travellers guide to visiting Canada

Where: Inagua, The Bahamas

Animals: West Indian flamingos

Inagua is home to over 80 000 flamingos, the national bird of The Bahamas.

This bird-watching haven is where visitors can marvel at a mass of bright pink flamingos standing in stark contrast to the muted tones of the wetlands on the island.

Their habitat, designated a national park, is also home to other amazing avian life with over 140 species of native and migratory birds making their way to this part of the world.

 (Photo: Flamingos in Inagua, iStock)

Where: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

Animals: An interesting variety

Located in the Pacific Ocean 1 000 kilometres from South America, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’.

Not many places have throughout history elicited such interest from wildlife enthusiasts as this volcanic archipelago.

With a variety of unique animals from Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas to cormorants - this is certainly a space where animals rule.

 (Photo: Marine iguanas on Galapagos, iStock)

SEE: Galapagos: One of the most beautiful places you may never visit

Where: Rabbit Island, Japan

Animals: Rabbits

Only Japan could have something as cute and fluffy as a colony of rabbits, hide a darker history.

The isle was once used as a location to test out poisonous gasses during the second world war.

Today, the island is a much happier place for the rabbits with the little guys roaming forests and fields, occasionally hopping to tourists hoping to get thrown a bite to eat.

Thanks to their high fertility rate, there are something like 1 000 rabbits bouncing about permanently on the isle so hop on down.

 (Photo: Rabbits on Rabbit Island, iStock)

WATCH: Why you should put enchanting, modern Japan on your bucket list

Where: Rottnest Island, Australia

Animals: Quokkas

Just look at that face. There are a number of reasons to head to this tiny island a short ferry ride off of Perth but none so enchanting as the opportunity to see the cute smiling faces of the quokkas that call this place home.

These little guys are rarely found anywhere else in the world and for this reason, visitors should make their way here and gently and respectfully get a photo of the quokkas.

 (Photo: Quokka, iStock)

WATCH: How selfies helped save the happiest animal in the world

Where: Runde, Norway

Animals: Puffins

Out in the midst of the ocean in Herøy Municipality lies the bird island of Runde in southern Norway.

Bright-beaked puffins nest here, with almost 100 00 mated pairs flocking here to nest in the relative safety of the cliffs on this island.

 (Photo: Puffins on Runde, iStock)

SEE: Chasing the Midnight Sun in Norway

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