Where to see the animals… from Dynasties
David Attenborough’s latest wildlife documentary series, Dynasties, follows five of the world’s most endangered species on a dramatic journey of survival. Cox & Kings can organise exciting holidays to the homes of these astonishing animals so that you can see them in their natural habitat.
As the closest living relatives to humans on the planet, chimpanzees share 95-98% of our genetic DNA. Chimpanzees are extremely intelligent and are one of very few animals to make use of tools such as sticks to fish termites out of their holes. During a research experiment on animal language acquisition, a chimpanzee became the first non-human to learn how to communicate using American sign language. Attenborough tracks his primate protagonist David through Senegal in West Africa. Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit chimpanzees in this particular area. However, you can often spot them in Uganda’s Kibale National Park and Tanzania’s Mahale Mountains National Park. The forested mountains of Mahale are one of the best places in the world for up-close encounters with chimpanzees. Cox & Kings arranges escorted group tours and tailor-made private travel throughout Africa. Our Wonderful Western Tanzania private tour visits Mahale Mountains National Park. Alternatively, speak to one of our Africa experts about organising a tailor-made itinerary to Kibale National Park.
Chimpanzees sitting on a rock, Tanzania
Lionesses like Charm in Attenborough’s series spend their time fighting for the survival of their cubs in extremely harsh environments, while the male lions protect the pride’s territory. Unlike most big cats that spend their life in relative solitude, African lions are comparatively sociable. They travel in prides of up to 40, the average being 14. An African lion’s roar can reach 114 decibels and can be heard within a 5-mile radius. The Masai Mara is where Attenborough’s feline protagonists can be found. As one of Kenya’s oldest and most celebrated reserves, it has a fantastic conservation programme. The reserve offers night drives and safari walks, with the chance to get wonderfully close to these majestic creatures. Perhaps you’ll get near enough to guess the age of the lions. The age of a male lion can be gauged by the colour of his mane; the darker the mane, the older the lion. Follow in the footsteps of Charm and her cubs on a visit to Masai Mara National Reserve on our Timeless Kenya and Kenya in Style private tours. Alternatively, speak to our Africa experts to organise a tailor-made holiday to South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife Reserve and Madikwe Game Reserve.
Lion and lioness
Painted wolves, also known as African wild dogs
With only 6,600 painted wolves remaining in the wild, this speckle-furred hound is fighting for survival. Their large ears are incredibly sound sensitive, and they have specialised molars for shearing meat and grinding bone. They have powerful legs and four-toed feet, while other members of the dog family usually have five, and can run as fast as 44 mph. This episode traces the movement of Blacktip, a rebellious female pack leader in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. As a Unesco-listed world heritage site, Mana Pools is home to around 200 painted wolves. The park’s water pools also attract a variety of animals, including elephants and leopards throughout the year. Search for painted wolves in Mana Pools National Park on our Classic Zimbabwe tour. Alternatively, Cox & Kings can also arrange tailor-made private travel throughout Africa where you can spot the painted wolves at South Africa’s Madikwe Game Reserve and Kenya’s Laikipia Plateau.
Wild dogs hunting, South Africa
Tigers are the world’s largest wild cats and one of the few cats that likes water. No two tigers’ stripes are the same, and they run skin deep creating an effective camouflaged coat. However, these beautiful creatures are at risk. In the 20th century alone, three subspecies of tiger became extinct and the Bengal tiger is listed as endangered. You can follow the trail of Attenborough’s tigress protagonist, Raj, in the captivating natural surroundings of Bandhavgarh National Park in Madhya Pradesh. Alternately, visit Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan to observe tigers hunting, resting and playing in one of the most celebrated tiger reserves in India. Cox & Kings offers tiger excursions throughout India. To visit Bandhavgarh, book onto our The Jungle Book: Wildlife of India or Wildlife & Culture of the Central Plains private tours. Alternatively, visit Ranthambore on The Golden Triangle & Ranthambore tour.
Bengal tiger, Ranthambore
As the largest of all birds, emperor penguins are endemic to Antarctica. Braving temperatures as low as -60°C and wind speeds of up to 200 km/h, they are the only animal to inhabit the open ice of Antarctica during the winter. Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the emperor penguins due to ice conditions and distant locations. However, the emperor penguin’s closest relative – the king penguin – can be seen on the Falkland Islands in Latin America. The king penguin is the second largest species of penguin. It is characterised by its regal posture and vividly coloured yellow feathers on their throats and ears. Their distinctive adult coats emerge when they reach 10-12 months of age and shed their original fluffy brown down. You can see the smallest species of penguin – the fairy penguin – in southern Australia and New Zealand. Fairy penguins are on average about 33 cm tall and weigh approximately the same as a small bag of flour. King penguins are often spotted on Cox & Kings’ excursions to the Salisbury Plains in South Georgia or Pebble Island in the Falkland Islands. We can also arrange tailor-made private journeys to witness the fairy penguin parade at sunset on the Phillip Islands in Australia.
King penguins, Falkland Islands
Cox & Kings’ travel experts can organise a tailor-made holiday to any of these locations to suit your preferences.