Compassionate Travel

A guide to animal-friendly holidays

Animals and wildlife are a feature of many trips and holidays, both at home and further afield. From the everyday — zoos and circuses — to the exotic and unusual — swimming with sharks and walking with lions — we are often presented with opportunities to get “up close and personal” with wild animals while on holiday.

But there’s growing unease among travellers with the use of animals in the tourism industry. What was the sequence of events that led to an individual animal being made available for our entertainment? What are the effects of captivity on wild animals’ health and wellbeing? What does the commercial demand for captive wildlife mean for their survival in the wild?

About this guide

Thankfully, very few of us wish to cause deliberate harm to wildlife. We’re usually driven by the purer motivations of curiosity, kindness and love. But even so, our personal decisions on holiday can have a direct and immediate impact on the welfare of individual animals, and their conservation more generally.

It’s not always easy to make the right choices, or even to know what they are. That’s why we created this guide which draws on authoritative sources to give you a look behind the scenes of the wildlife tourism industry and help you make informed decisions about how you interact with animals on your next holiday.

The purpose is not to tell you what to do (or what not to do), but simply to help you navigate the minefield of issues, show you what to look out for, and equip you to ask the right questions before you book your trip.

Ultimately, it is always down to personal decisions: whether to visit one place and not another; whether to take part in a particular activity or not; whether to agree to have your photograph taken with an animal or decline; where to spend your hard-earned money; what values you support and what values you reject.

We all have choices. That is part and parcel of being a human being. And the cumulative impact of thousands of individual decisions can have a dramatic effect.

What you decide can make a world of difference.

Authors Will Travers OBE, Chris Draper, Kellie Heckman, Tricia Holford, Kartick Satyanarayan, Naomi Rose
Editors Matthew Barker
Format PDF
No. of Pages 65

Why Horizon Guides?

Expert travel guide

Expert travel guides

Our guides are written by the leading experts in their destinations. We never take payment for positive coverage so you can count on us for reliable and impartial travel advice.

Authentic experiences

Authentic experiences

We curate exceptional trips in underrated places, organised by the very best tour operators who live and breathe their destinations and are passionate about authentic, responsible tourism.

Give back to mother nature

Give back to mother nature

We'll plant 50 trees for every trip booked via the Horizon Guides site in partnership with the International Tree Foundation, who carry out sustainable community forestry projects in Africa.