hotels

The most luxurious lodges in Africa

Following the announcement of the Royal engagement between Kate Middleton and Prince William, the spotlight has very much been on Kenya’s Lewa Wildlife Conservancy. The private reserve, in the Laikipia region of the East African nation, served as the perfect romantic retreat for the future King of England to propose to his long term girlfriend. There can be few experiences more intimate and idealistic than whiling away the hours with a loved one in an exclusive African lodge. There is something so special about this mysterious place, something enrapturing, hypnotizing even, and as anyone who has visited the continent will testify, utterly unforgettable. The rhythm of the African drum will beat in your heart long after your departure.

We have decided to take a closer look at some of Africa’s, other, luxurious lodges; alternatives if you will, to the William and Kate experience. Perhaps someday soon you might be sharing your own special moment, with bended knee or not, in luxury Lodges.

Shambala Game Reserve, South Africa Tucked away in the stunning Waterberg Mountains, Shambala consists of 10,000 hectares of pristine South African countryside; a place that, though relatively small compared to other reserves, still boasts the chance to see Africa’s elusive ‘Big Five’, (Lions, Elephants, Leopards, Rhinos and Buffalos). As well as its animal interests the reserve also has a human heart at its core, a family run cultural village which acts as a living, breathing information center where visitors can learn all about South Africa’s incredible history. The accommodation is preoccupied with authenticity and tradition, the Zulu camp, consisting of six fantastically appointed Zulu Huts, offers five-star accommodation but with a real sense of cultural legitimacy. All of the huts come with spacious double bedrooms and full shower facilities, providing all the comfort you might need to create some magical memories.

Chobe Game Lodge, Botswana – The only permanently fixed lodge within the Chobe National Park, the site is perfectly located along the Chobe River to observe the largest concentration of elephants in Africa. The sleek lines and elegant qualities of the lodge’s Moorish architecture create a sense of light and space; the typical features which include high arches, barrel-vaulted ceilings and tiled floors all contribute towards a clean and classic aesthetic. The 47 rooms are adorned with original African paintings and carvings, retaining a real sense of place as well as boasting all of the comforts of modern living; the accommodation’s considered design also makes it ideal for families and children.

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia – Sossusvlei is quite literally a desert oasis, nestled between the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert and the jagged outcrops of the rocky escarpment. You’ll feel like you’re really part of the African experience when you stay at Sossusvlei, where the ten individual villas constructed out of stone and glass offer the perfect symmetry between modern minimalist design and traditional African design. All are air conditioned to keep you fresh during the day and cosy fireplaces have been installed for those cooler winter nights. Despite being located on the periphery of a desert there is still an incredible array of wildlife to be seen, including the iconic oryx, Hartmann’s mountain zebras, antelopes, springbok and smaller mammals such as the bat-eared fox, aardwolf and porcupine.

Thanda Game Reserve, South Africa Thanda, a word derived from the Zulu for love, was awarded the prize of ‘World’s Leading Luxury Lodge’ at the recent World Travel Awards. Thanda offers a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes, from the opulence of the royal private villas or the warmth of the main lodge to the rugged refinement of the tented camp. Located 23 kilometers north of Hluhluwe in Zululand, the reserve is a tribute to South African cultural heritage, and as a romantic sanctuary of peace and tranquility, many would consider it peerless in all of Africa. Catering for adults and children alike, it boasts fine dining and a wellness center, were natural holistic approaches to treatment will leave you feeling revived and refreshed. Let’s not also forget the wildlife, the big five are at your doorstep and because the reserve is so close to the Indian Ocean, horse riding on the nearby beaches or a trip to the Isimangaliso wetlands are also a must.

The Earth Safari Team

www.theearthsafari.com

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Categories: Africa, beautiful, Botswana, Conservation, earth, Eco tourism, Holiday, hotels, lodges, Namibia, Nature, photography, resorts, Safari, South Africa, Tourism, Travel, Uncategorized, Wildlife, world | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 10 Eco-lodges in the World

Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania
This spectacular eco-lodge on Chumbe, a coral-island ecosystem about 12km south of Zanzibar Town, features seven bungalows that overhang the sea. The Coral Park is pretty damn close to paradise with its 3km sandbar, pristine ocean swells, baobab trees and giant coconut crabs. The bungalows are solar-powered, the toilets are composting and the cuisine is a mix of African, Indian and Middle Eastern. Solitude is guaranteed, given that the island is privately managed and only 14 guests are allowed on at a time.Chumbe Island Coral Park, Tanzania
Turtle island eco-lodge, Fiji
This eco-lodge is consistently ranked among the world’s best, not least for its pampered service: there are around 150 staff members for 14 couples maximum. Some say this equates to ‘ecohedonism’ but many more don’t care, as long as the environment gets some tender loving care. The island itself is just 500 acres, with natural springs that provide water for the lodge’s organic garden, and you can trek among black volcanic cliffs or frolic along the picture-perfect coral reefs. The latter may look familiar: Brooke Shields herself (or rather, her body double) frolicked naked here in The Blue Lagoon (1980).
Alandaluz Hosteria, Ecuador
If this place were any more self-sufficient it could operate as a base station on Mars. Sitting pretty on the beach, Alandaluz Hosteria is a model for green building practices. It’s mainly constructed from replenishable materials such astagua-palm leaves, and it features a host of organic gardens from which much of the guests’ food requirements are sourced. Compost bogs and treated waste mean that Alandaluz recovers a staggering 90%of all water used; treated water goes on to be used for irrigation.
Basata, Egypt
Basata means ‘simplicity’, and Basata is simplicity itself. Located on the Red Sea, near Nuweiba, Basata is also clean, green and beautiful, surrounded by the Sinai mountains. Littering is strictly forbidden, everything is recycled, and public displays of affection are frowned upon in favour of a community-based family atmosphere. And the accommodation? Bamboo huts and villas on the beach hold a maximum of 250 guests and face perfect coral reefs and blue waters.
Nikita’s, Russia
Located smack bang in the middle of Lake Baikal is Olkhon, the world’s second-largest freshwater island. And smack bang in the middle (or thereabouts) of Olkhon is Nikita’s, a homestead consisting of wooden houses heated by wood fires and accompanied by lovely old banya (steam baths). Nikita’s hosts will tell you all about Olkhon’s fragile environment and how it’s important to not collect wild flowers, kill butterflies or drive cars all over the shop. They’ll also guide you on ecotours around the island.
Daintree eco-lodge, Australia
This eco-lodge has won awards mainly for its wonderful location, surrounded by tropical rainforest more than a million years old. It also has 15 rustic villas, interesting culinary offerings (bush tucker blended with upmarket modern Australian stylings), and a vigorous range of activities (such as snorkelling and diving around the Great Barrier Reef ). The trickles and splashes of the waterfalls provide a pleasing soundtrack.
Costa Rica Arenal Hotel, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is becoming synonymous with the concept of ecotourism and the Arenal Hotel upholds the standard. Its location is a doozy: in the Northern Pacific mountains, with a much-vaunted view across to Volcán Arenal, Lago Coter and Laguna de Arenal. The hotel touts its ‘policy of interaction’ with the local Maleku people as an attraction, and certainly the chance to learn and understand an indigenous culture from the people who actually live it is a special bonus.
Blumau Hot Springs Village, Austria
The late ‘organic architect’ and environmentalist Friedensreich Hundertwasser designed this hot-springs village in Styria, Austria, with ecological imperatives firmly at the forefront. The village’s composting toilets feed waste to its roof gardens, a process illuminated by Hundertwasser himself. ‘Shit turns into earth,’ he wrote, ‘which is put on the roof/it becomes lawn, forest, garden/shit becomes gold. The circle is closed, there is no more waste. Shit is our soul’. In the end no one pooh-poohed Hundertwasser’s idea, allowing the Blumau Hot Springs Village to open to an enthusiastic reception.
Tree House, Kerala, India
Part of the Green Magic Nature Resort in Kerala, this ecofriendly accommodation is not for acrophobes: it’s 27m above the earth and access is by a bamboo lift counterbalanced by water. The rooms are open plan, of course, and airy and light, naturally. There are two levels, hosting one couple to each, so it’s a fairly low-key scene. The views are awesome each way you turn.
Chalalan Lodge, Bolivia
This eco-lodge in Madidi National Park is fully operated and owned by the Quechua people, who lead tours of discovery, teaching tourists the rich heritage of indigenous culture as well as the secrets of the surrounding rainforest and its multitude of inhabitants. As for the lodge itself, it was constructed using traditional methods; waste water is treated and solar power is a feature.
The Earth Safari Team
Categories: Conservation, Eco tourism, Holiday, hotels, India, Indian, lodges, Nature, resorts, Tourism, Travel, Uncategorized, Wild India, Wildlife | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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