Splashing about – photo © Families Worldwide

The encounter: Get close to working elephants and see wild ones in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, or do volunteer work in South African.

What’s involved: Family holidays take in a training camp in India and riding them and visiting an orphanage in Sri Lanka. Adults can go elephant trekking, bathe them and be a mahout in Thailand or help with research and elephant care at a sanctuary on South Africa’s Garden Route.

Do it: The Adventure Company’s 16-day Elephant Paradise holiday to Sri Lanka, from £1,699 for adults and £1,599 for children, includes elephant riding, seeing wild elephants on safari and visiting an orphanage. Families Worldwide’s Backwaters of Kerala tour, from £1,699/£1,484, visits an elephant training camp. Funway Holidays’ Elephant Hills Jungle Safari, in Khao Sok National Park, costs £342 for three days including elephant trekking and bathing with a two-day elephant driving course costing £289, while i-to-i’s Elephant encounter volunteering in South Africa costs from £799 for two weeks.

www.adventurecompany.co.uk, www.familiesworldwide.co.uk, www.funwayholidays.co.uk, www.i-to-i.com

and 10 of the rest

Here are 10 more wildlife encounters which didn’t quite make our final selection, but which we feel still merit a mention. Just click here.


Now see our 10 of the best UK wildlife encounters

There are plenty of wildlife encounters on the home front, if you know where and when to go. Here is our pick of 10 of the best UK experiences. Just click here.

Do you agree with our choices? Or do you have any suggestions for other wildlife encounters, either on the home front or further afield? If you have a picture of the experience in question, you can also send it to us. Click here.

You can also tell us if you know of other wildlife encounters on tlm’s Facebook page: