California Dreaming

California means joie de vivre, sea and sunshine. In addition to Beach Boys, Surfer Girls and Hollywood, the Golden State also has many animal gems and nature highlights to offer

Expert Guided Field Trip along the Pacific Coast

Welcome to an unforgettable expedition to amazing natural places along California’s breathtaking Pacific coast!

In the middle of the “Redwoods” – centuries-old sequoia forests – you can feel the power of these living giants, some of which could tell a lot about the history of people since the birth of Christ.

Join us to learn more about the fascinating world of the kelp forests, often referred to as the ‘sequoias of the sea’. These underwater forests are true carbon sinks and are also home to a diverse community of fish and invertebrates. The survival of around 800 species depends on the existence of this unique ecosystem, which also plays a crucial role in local fisheries and the thriving surfing industry. We’ll stop at the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, which will teach us about the secrets of this marine community and introduce important conservation projects.

We discover the breathtaking beauty of the Pacific coast and visit the “Los Padres National Forest”, which stretches to the east along the “Big Sur” with a unique opportunity to spot Californian condors (Gymnogyps californianus) after a long period of absence from the wild. Their return is widely owed to the initiative and hard work of scientifically managed zoos and their remarkable breeding and reintroduction projects, which we will hear more about.

Here is your exclusive invitation to explore the wonders of California’s Pacific coast, its biodiversity and beauty. Sightings of seals, sea lions, elephant seals and sea otters are guaranteed.

Join us and experience the magic and wonder of this unique natural setting!

Expert Guided Field Trip into the Desert

The Mojave Desert occupies 35.000 square kilometers primarily within southeastern California and southern Nevada. Small areas also extend into Utah and Arizona. Its unique beauty and amazing diversity of life is the focus of the second part of our exclusive field trip.

Its boundaries are generally noted by the presence of Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia) which are native only to the Mojave Desert and are considered an indicator species. It is believed to support an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants. Besides some mammals like coyotes and bighorn sheep, numerous reptiles such as the California gopher tortoise and the Mojave rattlesnake can be found in the Mojave. These animals have adapted perfectly to the harsh conditions of the desert and are fascinating examples of nature’s resilience.

Experience the wonders of the desert up close with us and get to know the fascinating flora and fauna. Let yourself be enchanted by the silence and beauty of the desert!

Both field trips can be booked individually or together.

  • Date
    • 02 – 13 February 2025 – Pacific coast
    • 13 – 22 February 2025 – desert & chaparral (add-on only)
  • Location

    Southern California

  • Duration
    • 12 days including days of arrival and departure – coast
    • 10 days including days of arrival and departure – desert
  • Language

    English

  • Number of participants

    6 persons

  • Fee
    • 1.980 Euros – Pacific coast
    • 1.650 Euros – desert & chaparral
    • not including accommodation and flights *

Itinerary Pacific Coast

We start our exclusive field trip in San Francisco in a comfortable van with a driver. Of course we don’t leave until we have explored the city. Going south we visit the impressive redwood forests and stop for a few days in Monterey, a former fishing village and venue for John Steinbeck’s “Cannery Row”. Whale watching in Monterey Bay is optional.

Big Sur – the “Big South” – is the name for the stretch of coast south from Monterey to San Simeon, which has been the backdrop for numerous film and television productions from Lassie to Basic Instinct and which has attracted many artists for decades. Ultimately we reach Los Angeles, where we have a whole day left that can be used to visit Universal Studios, stroll through Hollywood, hang out in Griffith Park or spend a day at the beach in Santa Monica or Venice Beach. Afterwards we go back home – or – further on into the desert

Itinerary Desert

From Los Angeles our route takes us east to Palm Springs, the starting point for our exploration of Joshua Tree National Park with its unique landscape, fauna and flora.

Day trips take us to captivating landscapes with bizarre rock formations, salt-encrusted areas, mud pots and a fascinating animal world. We also learn about the permanent consequences of dam failures, the flight routes of migratory birds and the impact of agriculture and tourism. In San Diego we explore both the city and the surrounding areas. A visit to the world-renowned San Diego Zoo & Safari Park is also on the itinerary before heading back along the coast to Los Angeles, where our field trip ends.

accommodation

US standard hotels/motels included

flights

e.g. home airport – San Francisco/Los Angeles – home airport

equipment

we recommend to bring binoculars, camera and field guides

Program *

  • adaptations to extreme environments
  • life in the desert
  • threats to & conservation of endangered species
  • local conservation projects
  • San Diego Zoo & Safari Park
  • Joshua Tree National Park
  • humans & wildlife
  • coastal estuaries
  • seals, sealions, and elephant seals
  • sea otters & the kelp forest
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Redwoods
  • sightseeing in San Francisco, Monterey, Hollywood, San Diego

* GoWILD is responsible for the program and its content only. All travel arrangements and bookings are left with participants. Program changes reserved

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