Must-Visit Animal Sanctuaries

Animal lovers know there are plenty of destinations worthy of traveling to for resident wildlife alone. While best-case scenarios, seeing animals in their natural habitats is an incredible experience as you’re not always guaranteed they will show themselves. One way to increase your odds of seeing some beloved beasts, check out at a wildlife sanctuary on your next trip. You can feel good about your visit since the cost is typically a donation, giving back to the animals you love and the people who take care of them, and you know they are in good hands.

Stick to the responsible establishments providing the best lives for rescued wildlife, including this list of favorites, both far and wide.

Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary, Thailand

Already known to be one of best in Thailand, but definitely one of the top sanctuaries in the world, Boon Lott’s Elephant Sanctuary is a must visit. BLES not only introduces you to the resident elephants, but allows guests to even stay in the village and explore the sanctuary grounds. Learn about the elephants and the sanctuary’s efforts to provide the rescues with the best lives possible, including the many BLES cats and dogs on premises. Read more about BLES and other elephant sanctuaries here and how best to go about visiting them.

Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, New York

Over in Woodstock, New York, guests can visit the local rescues of the Woodstock Farm Sanctuary. Expect loving locals, including pigs, goats, cows, sheep, chickens and pretty much anything else you’d expect to see on a working farm. Have brunch with the animals, get to know them and spend the day enjoying the sweet rescues while hearing their stories.

Wildlife Sanctuary in Africa © Maximiliane Wagner |

Wildlife Sanctuary in Africa. Photo: Maximiliane Wagner |

SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary, South Africa

Possibly one of the most famous regions for wildlife, South Africa has plenty to go around. Visit the SanWild Wildlife Sanctuary while on safari in the Limpopo Province. Stay in the Sticky Tongue Luxury Private Bush tent and see the Big Five in style. The protected refuge houses all sorts of rescued and endangered wildlife, from giraffe and wildebeest to zebras and waterbucks.

The Donkey Sanctuary, United Kingdom

Devoted to the health and wellbeing of mules and donkeys, the Donkey Sanctuary in England’s West Bank is home to hundreds of rescues. Read all about the resident donkeys and plan your visit, or even host your wedding, here.

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Borneo

In North Borneo, in the Malaysian Sabah District, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Rehabilitation Centre hosts 60–80 rescued orangutans. Roaming freely on the reserve since it opened in 1963, rescued orangutans range from infant age all the way to adults and are protected, nursed and provided for with the intention to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild.