Take a 60-minute boat cruise from Sumbawa Island to the wildlife reserve of Moyo Island and amazingly, you will behold one of the world’s most luxurious – and remotest – tented camps. Set on a pristine beach overlooking the aquamarine Flores Sea, the Amanwana’s 20 uber swish “tents” come with AC, glass windows, hardwood floors and elegantly Aman-esque colonial decor. The camp is hidden under lush tropical canopy and leads straight onto a gorgeous white beach – the perfect location for jungle treks and waterfall excursions. Water-lovers can go scuba-diving, game-fishing, snorkelling and windsurfing, or take a cruise on one of Amanwana’s luxury fleet of boats to their own private sandy bay for a secluded picnic. Back at camp, pamper yourself further with an open-air massage at the waterside Jungle Cove Spa.
Drive for an hour from Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand, take a boat along the bamboo forest-fringed Ruak River, and you will arrive at 15 fantastically luxurious canvas tents, complete with roll top baths, polished teak floors and sumptuous furnishings. Cocooned within the legendary Golden triangle on the border of Thailand, Laos and Burma, this 500-acre site can be explored by golf buggy or by foot along the long paths and suspension bridges that crisscross the resort. Everything is included in the price, from food and drink, to spa treatments, trips along the Mekong River and — the undoubted highlight for most guests — elephant riding. Indulgence comes in spades, but you can forget about televisions and room service: camping here is about gathering around the campfire and listening to the birdsong when dawn breaks.
For a true ‘miles away’ escape, Bamurru Plains in Australia’s Northern Territory offers sun and adventure seekers eco-friendly bush bungalows soaked in African safari-chic style. Set on a buffalo station near Kakadu are nine spacious bungalows with observation decks raised on stilts above the edge of the Mary River floodplain. This barefoot luxury bolthole is accessible via a 5-seater plane ride to a remote air strip and a bumpy 20 minute Land Cruiser ride – i.e. not that accessible, but therein lies the fun. Once there, no creature comfort is spared: there’s a gorgeous infinity pool and you sleep in rustic yet luxurious style. Comfy feather-pillowed beds come with magnificent views across the bush and a soundtrack of huffing buffalos, croaking pond life and hooting Aussie birds.
With just 18 lightweight tented suites spread over two elegant camps, the latest addition Taj Safaris’ portfolio is a unique destination for wildlife and luxury enthusiasts. Situated on the banks of the Banjaar River, Banjaar Tola overlooks the lush evergreen forests and grassy meadows of Kanha National Park. Designed in contemporary style, tents are decked in pressed bamboo wall panels, gorgeous bamboo floors and huge glass doors leading out onto your own veranda. Timber furniture is locally crafted, as are the colourful cottons and silks scattered around your suite. Once fully relaxed, venture into Kanha’s legendary sal and bamboo forests to meet with tiger, leopard, sloth bear, wild dog and the endangered swamp deer, the hardwater barasingha.
Richard’s Camp is a small, exclusive tented camp hosted by Richard Roberts, a third-generation Kenyan who, together with his wife Liz, treats guests to an extraordinarily warm, intimate and authentic safari experience. Set on the edge of a forest overlooking the northern Maasai Mara’s short grass plains, it the perfect hangout for many species of wildlife: lions, leopard, elephants, crocs, hippos and more. Explore by jeep on day or night drives, by foot on scenic bush walks and visits to local Maasai villages, or by air on hot air balloon rides and scenic flights in Richard’s aircraft. Back at camp, enjoy cocktails around the open campfire before tucking into delicious meals under a canopy of stars, accompanied by Richard’s brilliant banter. Bed down in one of seven discreetly luxurious tents furnished in comfortable safari style with all the necessary mod cons. Each comes with an open-air Victorian bath tucked away in the forest surrounded by flickering candles and sounds of the bush. Trip of a lifetime: guaranteed.
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