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March 13, 2015, United States

The Really Great Outdoors

Roughing it out in the wilderness won’t seem so rough at these luxe wilderness camps.

Denyse Yeo

LUXURIOUS safari camps and exclusive wilderness retreats are the ultimate destination for those wanting to get away from it all – and have an active holiday while they’re at it. These are some of the most secluded spots for an adventure away from the crowds.


Set amid glacial mountains and lush rainforest, this all-inclusive eco-resort is the very definition of “glamping”. Open only four months a year during late spring and summer, it has well-appointed accommodation that
comes in the form of 20 safari-style luxury tents, 12of which have ensuite bathrooms and are perfect for families. The other eight tents are just as fabulously outfitted but you’ll have to step outside for the private compost toilet and nearby shower house.

Here, you can hike, ride on horseback, fish, kayak as well as watch whales and black bears. There’s also the one-night Cloud Camp experience, where a helicopter takes you 4,500 feet (1.4km) above sea level so you get views of a mountain lake, and dine and sleep under the stars.

Getting to the resort isn't easy because of its locationona Vancouver Island reserve. You’ll need to take a floatplane from Vancouver’s International airport or a water taxi from the town of Tofino, which is 40 minutes away. That remoteness, however, is part of its charm.


Reachable only by boat during the high water season and with nine tented suites – each with four-poster beds, en-suite bathroom, private pool andsweeping views – this is one ultraexclusive destination. Yet the isolation belies the number of activities you can take part in. The Okavango Delta region is where you’ll find the hippopotamus, antelopes such as the red lechwe and sitatunga, elephants, buffalos and sometimes,even lions, cheetahs, leopards and the African wild dog.Goon a game drive or horseback safari or observe the delta from above in a helicopter. For a more leisurely way to spot wildlife, you can hop on a traditional mokoro boat and glide serenely on the water, surrounded by papyrus and reed beds. Bliss.


Ever wanted to see a Royal Bengal tiger in the wild? You can, and in 21stcentury comfort here. The hotel’s 25 tents are temperature-controlled and triple canopied, so that the spaces are kept cool. Each tent has a four-poster bed, walk-in closet and standalone bath. For those reluctant to switch off, there’s also Wi-Fi access, satellite TV and a DVD player.

Venture outside for a jungle drive at dawn or dusk to spot big cats in the Ranthambhore National Park and Tiger Reserve. Or head up to the top of the onsite observation tower to spot wildlife or admire the view. Then unwind with the Oberoi's signature spa therapies, such as the Ayurvedic massage. The hotel is a 3.5-hour drive from Jaipur airport.


This superbly designed destination resort has won an armful of awards since opening in 2010, and no wonder. Its location on the Freycinet Peninsula of Tasmania's east coast is unbeatable for sheer remoteness and raw beauty – and there are few others to share it with. This exclusivity starts when you land at Hobart Airport – a two-and-a-quarter-hour drive away – and step into Saffire’s own airport lounge where you hand your bags to the resort staff.

Each of the 20 stone-and-timber suites commands views of Great Oyster Bay and the Hazards Mountains, and is completely private from neighbouring suites. Your stay includes a host of free experiences such as a welcome spa treatment, visits to an open-range Tasmanian devil enclosure, a working oyster farm and local winery, mixology classes, and canoeing trips. At an extra cost, guided expeditions can be made to the nearby national park, bays and islands. Not forgetting the top-notch cuisine, with boutique wines and fresh local produce included in the full-board rate.


Tracking biggamedoesn't getany better than at this flagship camp of Norman Carr Safaris in the African bush. Recently redesigned and opened two years ago, this luxurious six-tent camp sits on the site of one of Carr's old camps from the 1950s in a region famous for its majestic leopards, lions and elephants, as well as baboons and hippos. The new design shows off the natural drama of its stunning location very well, as it is nestled on a lush ridge that follows a bend in the Luangwa River.

Each tented villa is built using only steel, leather, reedwork, timber and canvas, and has its own cooled sleeping area, bathroom and private pool. One of the six villas is a family suite, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. The main dining and bar area is next to an outdoor deck, complete with a fireplace and pool. There is also a yoga and exercise area, spa facilities and expert guides based at the camp. And yes, there is Wi-Fi.


CHILEAN Patagonia is an adventurer’s dream, and this intimate, full-board, 12-villa property is best for explorers who also want ultra-comfortable solitude.

The eco-conscious lodge is isolated luxe at its very best as it is built on a private reserve just off the Torres del Paine National Park. Here, you can enjoy the grand views of the snow-capped peaks and nearby Lake Sarmiento. If you’re lucky, youmayjust catch sight of indigenous fauna such as the guanacos, cousins of the llama, foxes, condors and pumas.

The lodge’s design was inspired by old shelters and ranching outposts,and offers great views of the surrounding forest, lake, lowlands and peaks. The villas come with a living room, bathroom, outdoor hot tub and fireplace, and each villa is built away from its neighbours and the main house – comprising a restaurant, lounges and reception area – for privacy. Each villa also has a 4x4 vehicle and private guide on standby so you can create your own itinerary when exploring the Patagonian region. Sounds like paradise.

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