They could crush or asphyxiate you, bite you in half or inject you with venom, but you want to see them anyway. Here are 8 trips that bring you face-to-face with some of the world’s most dangerous animals in their natural environments.
Cage Dive in South Africa

Submerse yourself underwater and see what it feels like to watch a Great White Shark look right back at you. The world’s largest predatory fish, Great Whites attack their prey once and then let it bleed to death.

But their “Jaws” reputation is not deserved as they typically only attack humans if they mistake one for a seal.

Peak diving season is April through December at Shark Alley near Gansbaai. By the way—the latest trend is to cage dive with Nile Crocodiles, offered only at the Cango Ranch in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape.

Camping Safari in Kenya

Photo by James

Walk among Africa’s deadly “Big 5”—elephant, leopard, lion, rhinoceros, and buffalo. Camp at the Selenkay and Kigio Conservation Areas instead of the major national parks because these particular conservation areas support the local Masai community.

Take 4WD vehicles to the famous Amboseli and Nakuru National Parks and the Mara Reserve. Thousands of wildebeest migrate across the savannas from June through September.

Tundra Buggy in Canada

Get within inches of polar bears on frozen tundra aboard the Tundra Buggy . Bears congregate along the Hudson Bay during October and November to hunt for their favorite food, the ringed seal.

Photo by earthnative

Cape Churchill is not accessible by road so you will fly in from Winnipeg and stay at the Tundra Buggy Lodge. You can feel good that the company supported a study to evaluate and help mitigate tourism’s impact upon the bears.

River Cruise in Australia

On a cruise along the Mary River in northern Australia last June, we rode up to dozens of sunbathing saltwater crocodiles. The largest existing reptiles, “salties” are one of the deadliest animals to humans, with several reported fatalities per year.

These crocs are known to eat humans and typically drown prey or clamp down with one ton of pressure per square inch.

Dive the Australian Coast

For the intrepid adventurer who doesn’t need a cage, deadly creatures abound at the Great Barrier Reef . Swim within inches of the venomous stonefish and blue-ringed octopus.

The sting of the box jellyfish kills more humans in Australia than snakes, sharks, and saltwater crocodiles. Stinger season is November through February. Don’t worry if you aren’t a certified diver— introductory dives are available. For visually-challenged folks, prescription goggles are available to accommodate even the worst astigmatism.

Seaplane Safari in Alaska

Photo by carlchapman

Get within 100 feet of a grizzly bear on a seaplane safari around the glaciers and volcanoes of Alaska. In July, the seaplane takes you to Brooks River Falls in Katmai National Park to watch grizzlies go fishing at the world’s largest salmon run. Grizzly bears are not named for their aggressive nature but for the grizzled appearance of their white-tipped fur.

Paddle in South America

Photo by gerej

On an evening paddle across Pilchicocha’s Lake in the Amazon Rainforest in August, our guide threw his hand into the water with such speed that it made everyone gasp. He had reached for an anaconda swimming in our path!

It was, of course, a juvenile anaconda. An adult anaconda strangles its prey with its more than 30-foot-long and 200-pound body.

Trek in Australia

Get up close to the Guinness Book of Records’ most dangerous bird—the cassowary—on the Wet Tropics Great Walk in Queensland. WWII soldiers fell victim to the dagger-like claws of the six-foot-tall bird.

Watch for the coastal taipan, one of the most venomous snakes in the world, whose penchant for rats brings it into proximity of humans. Visit April to October during the tropical dry season.

Community Connection

Choose your tour wisely. Some companies tranquilize or feed wildlife to guarantee a close encounter while others degrade the habitat. Airboats torpedo through sensitive wetlands and boat propellers can injure animals.

Consider seeing wildlife and traveling through a volunteer program at a wildlife conservancy.

Finally, keep in mind that many animals such as the cassowary and polar bear are endangered or threatened, and that despite their ferocious reputations, they only attack out of self defense. In general, habituating animals to humans through close encounters is often the cause of fatal attacks.

And sadly, as in the case of the Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell, the habituated animal is usually destroyed.