For animal lovers, Fiji may be the perfect holiday destination. The beautiful islands are teeming with a rich array of wildlife, and there are plenty of opportunities to experience some of the wonderful creatures up close.
Here are just three ways to have a close animal encounter while you’re holidaying in Fiji
1. SWIM WITH MANTA RAYS AND SHARKS
Snorkelling in any of the crystal clear waters surrounding Fiji’s islands is always a great experience, with stunning coral reefs and thousands of unique marine species to be found in the ocean. However, you can also get up close to Manta Rays between May and October around the Mantaray Island Resort, or as part of the four-night Yasawa Cruise at Drawaqa.
The rays are curious creatures and have been known to come up to swimmers, performing graceful acrobatic displays in the water. The waters surrounding Mantaray Island are a rich source of food for Pacific Manta Rays, and up to 13 can be seen at once. For the more adventurous, diving with sharks is a popular activity across multiple islands with qualified instructors to guide you.
2. HOLD ENDANGERED FIJIAN IGUANAS AND BABY SNAKES
Kula Eco Park is Fiji’s only wildlife park and the only endangered species breeding facility. Situated in an area of coastal forest, it’s home to a range of birds, reptiles, frogs and other animals – and like any good wildlife park, it will let you have a close encounter with some of its more famous inhabitants.
Make sure you bring your camera! Visitors can have their picture taken with an endangered Fijian Iguana or a baby snake, or you can help to hand-feed Hawksbill sea turtles at set times during the day.
3. SEE NEWLY HATCHED TURTLES UP CLOSE
Sea turtles are the animal most commonly associated with Fiji, and people across the globe know of their critically endangered status. After hatching out of eggs laid in the sand on a beach, baby sea turtles struggle to survive as they make their way towards the sea, then risk choking to death on discarded plastic in the water.
DISCOVER THESE ANIMALS IN REAL LIFE
The first stop on the four-night Yasawa cruise and day cruises visit Tivua Island, where turtles are known to nest. If you’re unlucky enough to miss a beach sighting, three resorts in the Mamanuca Islands keep baby turtles safe until they get to a particular size, before being re-released into the ocean. You can see them up close at Treasure Island, Vomo and Mana Island Resort.