Follow us on a tour of the world's most exciting, spectacular and unmissable natural events. From surfing on the Severn to battling bats in Zambia, Mother Nature lays on some impressive displays. Here are some of the best.

Japanese Cherry Blossoms

The arrival of cherry blossoms, known as sakura, marks the start of the hanami (flower watching) festival, which represents a new beginning for many Japanese people. Outdoor parties and picnics, with sake and karaoke, take place all over the country. The flowers epitomise a Japanese aesthetic of delicate beauty and are a must on any spring trip to Japan.

Ueno Park, Tokyo and Maruyama Park, Kyoto are popular viewing spots.

The blossoms open throughout the country in March and April but times vary according to the weather.

For a detailed guide to the festival and timings of the blossom, plus more good spots to see the show, check

Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis, the shimmering coloured patterns in the night sky caused by electrically charged particles, are one of the most bewitching spectacles you can witness. Notoriously shy, you need to be prepared for disappointment. Follow our guide to spotting them, though, and there's a good chance you could see what the Algonquin Indians believed to be their ancestors dancing around ceremonial fires.

Norway, Iceland, Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Lapland. In short, the further north the better, though they have been seen as far south as Scotland.

Between November and February, although they can be seen as early as late August and as late as mid April.

Get away from areas with light pollution - the more rural the better.

Stay for a while; your chances of seeing them will increase and once the aurora appears it tends to stay for more than one day.

Contact your destination beforehand to check for the darkest nights and likelihood of the lights appearing.

Try to combine the lights with another activity. That way, if they don't appear, you won't be too disappointed.

Northern Lights Holidays offers tailored cruises in the Norwegian fjords to see the aurora, as does Voyages Jules Verne.

Zambia bat migration

Each October, 8 million furry fruit bats congregate to feed in clumps of trees. The clouds of straw-coloured bats thronging the glowing skies at dawn and dusk are an astonishing sight.

Kasanka National Park, Zambia.

The bats move in at the end of October and hang around for about six weeks.

Tribes Travel includes the mammal migration on its Zambia Safaris, as does Wildlife Worldwide.

Severn Bore

Britain's longest river is subject to a curious phenomenon known as the tidal bore. During the highest tides, rising water is funnelled up the estuary into a wave which travels upstream against the river's normal flow. The wave can reach up to 2m (6ft) and provides one of the world's best inland surfing experiences (though this is officially discouraged). The rapid increase in the volume of water and the power of the swell can tear boats from their moorings.

Most people spectate from the banks between the limits of Overton near Fretherne and Maisemore near Gloucester. It is generally at its best between Minsterworth and Lower Parting, Gloucester.

The Bore happens several times each month, but is at its largest around the equinoxes. For a detailed timetable check

Numerous factors alter the size, speed and timing of the Bore. Turn up to your viewing spot well in advance of the wave's expected arrival.

Old Faithful

This spectacular geyser in Yellowstone National Park, which can shoot out 32 litres of boiling water up to 100-180m (328-590ft), is a primeval display of the earth's inner workings. America's first National Park is also home to bears, wolves, elk and buffalo.

Yellowstone is in Wyoming, northwest USA.

Old Faithful erupts every 45 to 110 minutes for 1.5 to 5 minutes.

Entry to the park costs US$25 for a private, non-commercial vehicle. For more information check

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