Into the Wilderness
Now is the perfect time to consider the latest trend for wilderness experiences, where intrepid trips get away from it all. Go to wild, off-grid places where habitation falls away and you can tune in to the rhythms of nature.
Arctic Watch Camp - Arctic
Expeditions to the Arctic used to be for intrepid explorers only, where your bed for the night meant a draughty tent on the tundra. However, we’ve discovered a new way to access this icy wilderness – a fly-in to the most northerly lodge in the world at 800 kms north of the Arctic circle. At this off-grid basecamp, guests stay in private cabins and are served gourmet food such as Arctic char, organic beef from Alberta and Okanagan Valley wines.
But what really sets this place apart is its opportunity to see the largest congregations of beluga whale in the world alongside polar bears, arctic foxes and snowy owls. The lodge sits on the banks of the Cunningham River where the whales pass, so guests can sea kayak around the milky-white mammals as they navigate towards open water
"If you're a keen fisherman or woman try fishing at Creswell Bay, one of the top locations to fish for Arctic char, and their bi-annual migration offers world-class fishing, just a 40-minute flight from your camp."
Search for the elusive narwhal, watch polar bears play or explore iced-up channels that make up one of the world’s least populated areas. The Arctic is a unique and fragile ecosystem – come and see it while you can.
Sujan Jawai, Rajasthan - India
Visitors to Rajasthan often get caught up in the whirl of incense-scented forts, palaces and festivals. But we recommend making time to enjoy the natural beauty of the encircling land – and find a connection with India. At luxury wilderness camp, Sujan Jawai you can do just that. In the foothills of the Aravalli mountains, away from the hubbub of life, absorb peaceful views of granite formations, tranquil lakes and winding sand riverbeds.
To get closer to this mesmerising wilderness, walk with a Rabari herdsman and learn about their semi-nomadic lifestyle including their symbiotic relationship with leopards, who are thriving here- your chance of spotting one is high. Later, perform yoga on a smooth, sun-warmed rock, soak up sunset views from your infinity pool or relax at the camp, surrounded by flickering lanterns.
"Jawai’s Royal Tented Suite is the one to choose for all-out luxury in the wilderness. It comes with a heated swimming pool, your own butler, a private jeep for wilderness game drives and spectacular views of Jawai’s dramatic, granite hills."
The night sky here is truly mesmerising. We recommend making time to gaze at the galaxy above you – the silence and lack of light pollution makes this the perfect place for star-spotting.
NIHI Sumba - Indonesia
These days, we’ve come to expect world-class spas in our luxury hotels but NIHI Sumba on Sumba Island, Bali’s undeveloped little sister, takes the connection between nature and wellness one step further. Within this remote island wilderness, where waves crash onto dramatic rocky headland and haphazardly-growing coconut trees shade pale sheets of sand, guests are encouraged to take a ‘spa safari’ for a whole day during their stay.
At dawn, hike through the rugged countryside, paddy fields and traditional thatched villages to reach the spa – a droplet of sheer luxury with open-sided casitas and infinity pools that overlook the dramatic cliff view. Be soothed by the hypnotic ocean panorama and calming treatments that make use of local ingredients such as red rice, coconut oil and aloe vera. And with 90% of staff employed locally, and donations to the Sumba Foundation building schools, wells and clinics you can do good while feeling good.
"At NIHI Sumba, you can create your own adventure within the rugged hills and surf-crested sea. Start with yoga at dawn, take surf lessons alongside world-class instructors, hike into local villages and finish with a sunset massage overlooking miles of Nihiwatu Beach."
If you have even just a passing interest in riding, then galloping along the beach through foam-crested waves is a thrilling start or end to the day.
Where wild beasts roam
Walking Safari - Zimbabwe
Have you ever been tempted to wander deep into the African bush, away from all the sights and sounds of civilisation? Head so far off the beaten track that you instinctively become tuned into the big and little details of the natural world?
This 6-night walking safari in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe takes you into the heart of the African wilderness where you’ll canoe remote rivers and set up explorer-style camps in the wild, or sleep on luxurious raised star beds that come with a blanket of the darkest night skies. You’ll discover the secrets of the Greater Mana ecosystem such as the 1,000-year-old Baobab tree, and learn the art of tracking big game without a human in sight. The modern world will be a distant memory.
This is the place to experience a completely wild Africa, and being on foot heightens all your senses, allowing you to totally tune in to the bush."
For an alternative adventure, drift through Mana Pools by boat on a 5-day trip down the Zambezi, sleeping on the roof of the boat, casting for tiger fish and spending evenings by the camp fire on the river bank.
Pacuare Lodge - Costa Rica
If you like your wilderness served with a side of adrenaline, then this remote lodge, located in the thick jungle of Costa Rica allows you to become immersed in nature via heart-pumping adventures. Its unique location on the Pacuare River means you can arrive by raft along white water rapids, where jungle fronds hang down steep-sided gorges – just the start of your adventure in nature.
The next activity might be zip-lining through the canopy, hiking trails that lead deep into the rainforest or canyoning a lush jungle escarpment. Back at the lodge, take a moment to relax in your jade-green private pool in front of a mosaic of green jungle, before enjoying a candlelit dinner 60 feet up an ancient Ceiba tree in a specially designed ‘nest’. This is the ultimate wilderness hideaway.
"Nature-lovers will adore this off-grid wilderness where monkeys and sloth bears occupy the trees, jaguars slink through the jungle and dawn is accompanied by the call of tropical birds."
Make time to visit the nearby indigenous community including a meeting with their medicine man – a fascinating glimpse into a world laden with ancient customs.
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