With the travel industry returning to pre-pandemic strength, there’s no better time than the present to plan the ultimate bucket list holiday – and for serious animal lovers, there’s a treasure trove of luxury eco-lodges and safari camps ready to provide the trip of a lifetime. From the remote reaches of Patagonia to the heart of Tanzania, these palatial properties offer incredible ecotourism alongside accommodation fit for royalty.
One&Only Wolgan Valley
Koalas, wombats and wallaroos are just some of the creatures guests can encounter at One&Only Wolgan Valley, a luxury property located in Australia’s Greater Blue Mountains region. Guests are welcome to relax by the outdoor pool and sample the resort’s signature gin during their stay, but no visit is complete without experiencing all 6,900 acres of the property. For seasoned outdoor adventurers, there is no shortage of long mountain bike trails criss-crossing the area, while birders can spend the day hiking through the bush in search of native parrots and birds of prey. Equestrians take note – the property is proud of its resident horses, offering riding lessons, stable tours and half-day cruises into the surrounding wilderness on horseback.
Tswalu Kalahari Motse Camp
Spanning approximately 350,000 square kilometers across Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the Kalahari Desert is one of the most impressive natural features to be found on the African continent – and Tswalu Kalahari offers some of the finest accommodation in the entire region. The idyllic Motse Camp has drawn visitors for years thanks to its luxury suites, walk-in wine cellar and the wide variety of fascinating creatures that call the area home. On-property activities range from classic safaris to midnight stargazing, but for a particularly adorable outing, the Meerkat Experience is a must-try, giving guests a 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 captivated explorers for centuries, and in modern times visitors can gain some insight into the biodiversity of the region on a journey with Explora Patagonia National Park. During a walk around the lodge, visitors can expect to spot iconic species such as the puma, the llama-like guanaco and even the Andean condor, the largest living bird of prey – but there is much more to encounter throughout the property than just wildlife. There are three outdoor hot tubs that await guests after a long day of hiking, while the on-site restaurant has earned plenty of acclaim for its hearty wood-fired cuisine.
Need a relaxing escape deep into the Costa Rican rainforest? Pacuare Lodge offers 20 cozy suites in the vast mountains of Limón province. This picturesque property was designed with minimal environmental impact in mind – no trees were cut down during the construction process, allowing the native flora and fauna to continue to thrive around the hotel grounds. Rafting is a particularly popular activity for guests, but there’s no need to travel far to spot some incredible wildlife. For visiting birders, dazzling species such as the red-billed manakin or the keel-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 opulent Chem Chem Lodge offers a glimpse into the stunning beauty of Lake Manyara, with no shortage of fascinating flora and fauna to discover across the borders. While the lodge itself is a sight to behold, offering an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center and sprawling, unfenced grounds, there are a wealth of truly amazing expeditions to take part in just beyond the property boundaries. The helicopter excursion and hot air balloon ride allow guests to enjoy Tanzania’s splendor from a bird’s eye view, while Chem Chem has also mastered the art of slow safari, inviting participants to track wildlife on foot with the help of a local guide.