With the travel industry heading for pre-pandemic strength, there’s no better time than the present to start planning the ultimate bucket list getaway – and for serious animal lovers, there’s a wealth of luxury ecolodges and safari camps ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime. To deliver . From the remote reaches of Patagonia to the heart of Tanzania, these palatial properties offer incredible ecotourism alongside accommodations fit for royalty.
One&Only Volgan Valley
Koalas, wombats and wallaroos are just some of the creatures guests may encounter at One&Only Wolgan Valley, a luxury property nestled in Australia’s Greater Blue Mountains Area. Guests are welcome to lounge by the outdoor pool and sample the resort’s signature gin during their stay, but no visit is complete without getting to know all of the estate’s 6,900 acres. For seasoned outdoor adventurers, there’s no shortage of long mountain biking trails that traverse the area, while birdwatchers can spend their day trekking through the bush in search of native parrots and birds of prey. Riders take note: The property takes great pride in its own horses and offers riding lessons, stable tours and half-day horseback rides into the surrounding wilderness.
Tswalu Kalahari Motse camp
Covering approximately 350,000 square miles across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the Kalahari Desert is one of the most impressive natural features on the continent of Africa – and Tswalu Kalahari offers some of the finest accommodation in the entire region. The idyllic Motse Camp has attracted visitors for years thanks to its luxurious suites, walk-in wine cellar and wide array of fascinating creatures that call the area home. On-site activities range from classic safaris to midnight stargazing, but for a particularly adorable outing, the Meerkat Experience is a must-try, giving guests the chance to get an up-close look at the lodge’s local meerkat families.
Explore Patagonia National Park
The towering peaks of Southern Patagonia have fascinated explorers for centuries, and in modern times, visitors can gain some insight into the region’s biodiversity on a journey with Explora Patagonia National Park. While walking through the lodge, visitors can expect to see iconic species such as the cougar, the llama-like guanaco, and even the Andean condor, the largest extant bird of prey, but there’s much more to see on the property than just wildlife. Three outdoor hot tubs await guests after a long day of hiking, while the on-site restaurant is widely acclaimed for its hearty wood-fired cuisine.
Are you in need of a relaxing escape into the depths of the Costa Rican rainforest? Pacuare Lodge offers 20 cozy suites in the vast mountains of Limón province. This picturesque property has been designed with minimal environmental impact in mind – no trees were felled during the building process, allowing the native flora and fauna around the hotel grounds to continue to flourish. Whitewater rafting is a particularly popular activity for guests, but you don’t have to travel far to spot incredible wildlife. For visiting birdwatchers, dazzling species such as the red-capped manakin or throat-billed toucan may appear in the treetops, while lucky guests may catch a glimpse of a jaguarundi prowling through the forest.
Chem Chem Lodge
In the northern reaches of Tanzania, the lavish Chem Chem Lodge offers a glimpse of the breathtaking beauty of Lake Manyara, with no shortage of fascinating flora and fauna to discover across borders. While the lodge itself is a sight to behold, with an outdoor pool, fitness center, and expansive unfenced grounds, there’s a wealth of truly amazing expeditions to partake in just beyond the property boundaries. The helicopter tour and hot air balloon ride allow guests to get a bird’s eye view of Tanzania’s splendor, while Chem Chem also masters the art of the slow safari, inviting participants to follow wildlife on foot with the help of a local guide.