Group Tours Specializing in National Parks Around the World
kalahari safari tour chobe national park

While you might be familiar with traversing the red rocks and sequoias of your own backyard, international parks pose a different kind of challenge. With exploration-worthy reserves ranging from elephant-lined floodplains and tropical archipelagos to massive Patagonian fjords, you’ll run into a whole new host of highly specific needs if you want to experience them properly. We’re talking about safari transportation, scuba diving equipment, and stargazing know-how, to name a few.

And then there’s the fact that walking into a conservation area requires a certain kind of awareness anywhere, but especially when you’re on an entirely different continent. Luckily there are a bevy of locally oriented tour groups that are well-acquainted with these pockets of natural splendor—and ready to help you pay your reverence while answering any questions along the way. So whether you plan on ascending mountains in Morocco or zip lining through the rainforests of Australia, here are the tour companies that will help you make your time worthwhile.

You come to Chobe National Park for the wildlife—lions, buffalo, hippos, antelopes, and the world’s largest population of Kalahari elephants. The aptly named Kalahari Tours specializes in affordable safari expeditions around the park, with over 20 years of experience in the business. Choose from game drives, boat cruises, day trips, and—if you’re feeling especially adventurous—overnight camping. Take the Two Day Two Night Safari, for example, and experience safari rides at dawn and fireside chats at night. You can also add on an excursion to nearby Victoria Falls.

Conquer the tallest mountain in North Africa with the help of this local adventure company based in Marrakech. Toubkal Trekking, founded by mountain guide extraordinaire Mustapha Bouinbaden, offers High Atlas climbs that range from two to five days, as well as hikes through the surrounding Berber villages. Or, if you’re short on time, you can opt for a day trip, like a visit to Ouzoud Falls or a horse riding tour through the Imlil valley.

The best way to experience Thailand’s Tarutao National Park is underwater. Located in Koh Lipe, Adang Sea Divers will guide you through the islands’ vibrant coral reefs and marine life. The diving school caters to both beginner and advanced divers, but if you’re not quite ready to make the commitment, you can book one of its daily snorkeling tours. The company also offers some eco-friendly workshops, like coral reef propagations and conservation dives.

adventure hokkaido winter tour guide
Adventure Hokkaido

Adventure Hokkaido is your one-stop shop for exploring the various national parks within eastern Hokkaido through small group hiking, cycling, and nature tours. The popular seven-day Wild Winter Tour is a true winter odyssey, a snowshoeing and wildlife tour that takes you through Shiretoko, Lakes Akan and Mashu, and Kushiro Shitsugen. Get to know local guides as you walk across ice that’s drifted all the way from Russia, or embark on a snowy nature cruise, where you’ll have the chance to spot some white-tailed eagles.

Explore monkey-laden rainforests with Greg’s Safaris, which takes you through the lush island in a cozy 4×4. St. Kitts native Greg Pereira founded the company in 1989, taking after his hotelier parents, who opened one of the first hotels on the island. Notable tours include The Cross Country 4×4 Safari and Beach Tour, where you’ll drive into lush mountains and make your way to the beach of South Friars Bay, as well as the “Valley of Giants” Walking Tour, where you’ll encounter petroglyph-carved ravines.

Gringo Tours prides itself on showcasing “The Other El Salvador,” meaning it strays away from the more conventional tours you might see from larger tour companies within the country. The company’s day tours are highly customizable, so you can squeeze in a visit to Cerro Verde while also hitting some sites in and around San Salvador. Its most popular offering starts with a visit to Joya de Ceren, a Mayan and UNESCO World Heritage Site, followed by a visit to Cerro Verde, where you’ll walk around the extinct crater, eventually making your way through the Ruta de Flores area. If it’s wildlife you’re after, check out the Birding Cerro Verde tour.

discover banff hiking tour
Discover Banff Tours

Locally owned and operated since 1999, Discover Banff Tours tailors its tours to the changing seasons on the mountains. In the winter, take part in some iconic Canadian activities like sleigh rides, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and ice walks. Once summer arrives, go horseback riding or whitewater rafting through Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. One of the more unique options is a Helicopter Sightseeing tour, during which you’ll fly over the jagged peaks, crystalline lakes, and dense forests.

Wilderness Scotland, with its team of over 50 knowledgeable guides, brings guests to scenic regions within the Highlands and Islands of Scotland—fit for those who enjoy an adventurous vacation. If you’re up for a week-long, long-distance trek, go for The West Highland Way, which takes you through the breathtaking landscapes of Loch Lomond, Rannoch Moor, and Glencoe. Alternatively, get the best of two Scottish national parks with a canoeing tour, which starts out in Cairngorms National Park and ends in Loch Lomond.

If you’re visiting Teide National Park, make sure you stick around for nightfall, when the high peaks make for the ultimate stargazing site. While Volcano Teide provides some daytime tours, it’s the Mount Teide Night Tour that really stands out. You’ll ascend Teide, greet some bats along the way, and experience an unforgettable sunset over the volcanic landscape—followed by some absolutely incredible stargazing.

daintree tours zipline rainforest
Daintree Tours

Daintree National Park lends itself to a variety of bio-diverse terrain. With the comprehensive Daintree Tour, you’ll have the opportunity to hit some of the major highlights. Explore the boulders that make up Mossman Gorge, learn about the local flora and fauna on a guided walk through Marrdja, Dubuji, or Jindalba, then hop on a boat and cruise through Cooper Creek, gliding through mangrove and crocodile territory. Or, flash through it all with the Ultimate Daintree Zipline Tour.

Through Hatta Adventures, a group of Hatta natives will show you around Dubai’s ancient national park, home to the largest population of the endangered Arabian Tahr in the UAE. Hop on a mountain bike and pedal through some camel farms, or get inside a kayak and explore the turquoise waters of Hatta dam. You can also go for a hike to the famous “HATTA” sign, but if you’re up for more of a voyage, take on the “Hatta Hiking Challenge,” which boasts a 7-kilometer trek through the reserve.

In 2022, Say Hueque was recognized as Argentina’s Lead Tour Operator by the World Travel Awards, and for good reason. The company leads immersive tours around Patagonia, and does so sustainably, offsetting 100{d8a8d447f05f03c64398acf0d3c5a745c9c41fc784ba89cd5aecd37177dc7d51} of carbon emissions produced by land travel and planting one tree per traveler on each trip. While the company is based in Argentina, its expertise extends to Chile. The Best of Chile tour is a two-week trip that takes you through the desert of San Pedro de Atacama, followed by Torres del Paine, and ending with Santiago.

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Jessica Sulima is a staff writer on the Travel team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram