Let’s start with the obvious: the Galapagos Islands are fabulous. Everyone who goes there knows of the creatures’ famed fearlessness, but nobody’s prepared for how extraordinary the animal encounters really are. Sunbathe with sea lions then swim with penguins, sit by giant tortoises then beach-walk with iguanas – on land and underwater, nowhere does wildlife like it. Last time I was in South America I visited Peru’s very own version of the Galapagos – the Ballesttas Islands. I was bowled over. We saw the slick grey back of a killer whale moving through the water right next to our boat – a thrilling moment. And the islands’ cacophonous bird life is amazing, definitely a must for any nature-lover thinking of heading to that part of the world. For any wildlife enthusiast, Africa is of course an essential destination. From close encounters with Ugandan gorillas to spotting the big five in no time in Kruger, every country around East and Southern Africa seems to have boundless riches to explore, and each park I’ve visited has their own identity. Highlights for me have to be the Okavanga delta – a safari on water, drifting past big game and amongst exuberant birdlife – and Zimbabwe’s Antelope Park, where you can wander the plains with lion cubs. Very different in approach, both these experiences share a unique, and thrilling, approach to interacting with wildlife, and made me feel closer to the land and its inhabitants. I’d also definitely recommend a hot air balloon flight – a quiet flight over the Serengeti, watching basking prides of lions and a congregation of antelopes is an unforgettable experience. On the to-do list is the chimpanzee orphanage on Uganda’s Ngamba Island. It sounds like it might be as amazing as the silverback treks in the same country. But it’s not as easy as simply ticking off the animals I’ve seen – spotting wildlife in their natural habitat for me is about appreciating nature’s beauty and earth’s diversity. There’s no better confirmation that man is only a small part of the world than a plunge into the extraordinarily rich waters of Mozambique, or looking on to an Amazonian clay lick, or seeing a Botswana waterhole at sunset, the animals gathering for their evening sundowner, as they have done since time immemorial.