Spectacular (and dangerous) wildlife adventures

Week of May 28-June 3, 1998
Exploring Italy's dazzling Dolomites
Fall honeymooning in the San Juan Islands
Spectacular (and dangerous) wildlife adventures
Canoeing in Minnesota's Boundary Waters
Spectacular (and dangerous) wildlife adventures
Question: As a big fan of wildlife and adventure, I'm interested in finding expeditions to some of the world's most spectacular/dangerous wildlife areas. Any suggestions?

Laura Humphreys
Bristol, United Kingdom

A very up-close view
of a Great White shark


Adventure Adviser: If you have a lot of guts and even more cash, there are plenty of trips that offer the possibility of a face-off with some pretty fierce creatures. Whether you prefer lions in Africa, tigers in India, sharks in South Africa, or polar bears in Greenland, there's a trip for you.

August is a great time to take Nature Expeditions International's walking safari in Tanzania and Kilimanjaro. For 16 or 23 days, you'll be trekking the bush in search of wildebeest, zebra, antelope, and — for the dangerous part — their predators, which include cheetah, lion, leopard, and hyena. This trip includes an optional five-day climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. The land cost is $3,990 to $4,990. Call 520-721-6712 for more details.

If you prefer an underwater encounter, the hottest place for white shark diving right now is off the coast of South Africa around tiny Dyers Island. For around $125 certified scuba divers can book a charter with a local operator who will allow you to ride in a submerged shark cage that is dragged behind a boat which also is dragging bait. How's that for adventure? Call San Diego Shark Diving Expeditions for more details at 619-299-8560. Or for hammerheads, there's always the 30-hour boat trip from Golfito, Costa Rica, to the Cocos Islands in the Pacific, where you can swim to your heart's content with hammerhead sharks. The trip costs approximately $3,800. Call See & Sea Travel at 415-434-3400 for details.

March is the best time to travel to India to spot the elusive tiger, as well as the deadly Asiatic lion of Gir Forest. Rare Earth Explorations offers a one-week south and west India safari as well as a one-week north India safari. For the dangerous stuff, I'd go north and west. The land-only portion of the trip costs approximately $4,000. Call 212-686-7411 for more details.

Finally, if you prefer something a bit less tropical, you can take Quark Expeditions' Ellesmere Island and Greenland cruise aboard the 434-foot Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov. The 11-day voyage and ensuing landings by Zodiac and helicopter will put you in close, personal touch with the fearsome polar bear. But please don't try to pet him. The trip costs approximately $5,000 to $9,000. Call 800-356-5699 for details.

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