Ecolodges and safari camps are an oasis for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers. They are often where you connect deeply to the places and people you visit. Drawing from over 30 years of adventure travel, we have curated this exclusive selection of guest accommodations offering some of our favorite 'Wild Style' experiences in pristine habitats to re-connect with the natural world while leaving a minimal impact on the surrounding flora and fauna. All of these boutique properties are on the forefront of local conservation initiatives and benefit surrounding communities who also enhance your cultural connections. While these ecolodges and camps are perfect for just about any travel style, many offer secluded suites for a romantic getaway or larger accommodations for families or groups.
Travelers visiting the Galapagos to experience the one-of-a-kind endemic species, should also stay in accommodations equally special. While there are a select array of small yacht and lodging options for visitors to the Galapagos these days, none are as personalized and complimentary to the fragile island habitat as the Galapagos Safari Camp. It's a perfect place for travelers to experience the highlands before boarding a Galapagos cruise vessel, or for those travelers simply looking for a custom private itinerary to explore the Galapagos, such as families or honeymooners.
Galapagos Safari Camp is an acknowledged leader in low-impact, sustainable tourism development. Practices in the fragile Galapagos National Park. They work closely with the Charles Darwin Research Station, the Galapagos National Park, and Conservation International to reforest endemic vegetation.
Contact Sherry, our Galapagos expert, for more information about travel to the Galapagos Islands or read her blog on how to plan a trip to the Galapagos. (Picture/video credit - Galapagos Safari Camp)
Patagonia Camp is a luxury seasonal camp located just outside of Torres del Paine National Park, in a place of incomparable beauty on the shore of Lake El Toro. Surrounded by spectacular landscapes, ancient forest, transparent lakes and emerald rivers, a Chile vacation at Patagonia Camp is the perfect place to combine nature and adventure with comfort and luxury. Expert mountain guides lead guests on hiking trails inside and out of the park, horseback riding, bird watching, photography, and fishing, and join you around the fire in the preparation of a typical Patagonian lamb roast.
The camp is designed and built with minimum impact on the environment and visually harmonious with the landscape. All the facilities are connected by an elevated walk to ensure to protect the fragile landscape and preserve the native plants, shrubs and trees that have grown in the area for hundreds of years and provide habitat for southern Austral bird species.
Tucked away deep in the heart of Costa Rica's pristine rainforest environment, the Pacuare Jungle Lodge is perched on the banks of the Pacuare River. Designed and operated to blend into the verdant rainforest habitat, their philosophy of simplistic luxury and oneness is enhanced by the romance of operating by candlelight without electricity. Adventurous guests can skip the normal 4x4 land transport to the lodge and arrive by raft down the rapids of the Pacuare River straight to your bungalow in the jungle!
Recognized as a stand-out accommodation for its sustainability, not a single tree was cut down to build the lodge (lumber is supplied from a reforestation project run by small farmers) and the thatch roofs were made by local Cabécar Indians in their traditional style using palm leaves collected in the forest reserve. Guests can hike to surrounding communities of Cabecar Indians and are invited to help with conservation projects such as reforesting native tree species, learn about resident jaguar research and programs to reintroduce howler monkeys in the surrounding forest.
Situated in a 50 sq. mile private reserve, the isolated and pristine rainforests of the award-winning Cristalino Lodge offers an exceptional wildlife and jungle experience. Accompanied by resident naturalist guides, guests of the luxury ecolodge have ample opportunities to explore the diverse flora and fauna, hike trails, ascend their 50 ft canopy viewing tower and travel by boat (or paddle a canoe) along the rivers. Guests can appreciate environmental management initiatives including solar energy for power and warm water, and waste water treatment, and intelligent architectural design compatible with the natural habitat that adapts natural ventilation.
An honored recipient of the world's top sustainability awards in the hotel field, the Cristalino Foundation committee of scientists and biologists are responsible for the protection of the reserve surrounding the lodge.
Renowned for its numerous lion prides and the famous White Lions of the Timbavati, Tanda Tula Safari Camp is situated within the pristine wilderness of the Timbavati Private Game Reserve which shares an unfenced border with the world-renowned Kruger National Park. The lodge is set on the banks of the Nharalumi River overlooking an active waterhole. Guests enjoy dining al fresco around log fires in the traditional open-air boma. Highly skilled ranger and tracker teams guide you through more than 20,000 hectares of "Big Five" diverse wildlife habitat on early morning and evening game drives. A highlight of staying at the main tented camp is an optional overnight at their small bush camp to experience old world Africa exploration on foot with professional walking safari guide. There is no technology allowed at the bush camp, no phones, watches, alarms, etc. (cameras OK), which makes for a very special African experience.
Tanda Tula has been recognized for its conservation efforts and the guest experience is enhanced learning about ongoing research projects including elephant migration patterns and Ground Hornbill study. They are highly involved in local community initiatives including training locals to be one of the most friendly and capable safari camp hosts.
Hapuku Lodge + Tree Houses is a contemporary country hotel located on a deer breeding farm in the South Island of New Zealand, 12 kilometers north of the renowned eco-marine town of Kaikoura. It sits snugly at the base of the Kaikoura Seaward Mountain Range, with the Kaikoura coast and famed Mangamaunu Bay only a kilometer to the east. The lodge provides luxurious accommodation on Kaikoura's rugged coastline, a place for guests to be one with nature in its intimate indoor/outdoor setting and a place from which they can explore the larger maritime landscape of Kaikoura.
In 2002, the Kaikoura township was the first local authority in the world to become a Green Globe certified community. In addition, nearly every local outfitter has a green mission threaded through their operations, caring for the environment which draws travelers from all over the world.
Situated in the village of Jamtara, just outside the border of Pench National Park, Jamtara Wilderness Lodge is a luxury-tented property surrounded by tall arjuna trees in the heart of rural India. 10 luxury tents are designed to feel light and open, allowing optimal views of the surrounding forests and wildlife. Tiger safaris are available morning and evening according to the guest preference, as well as opportunities to visit the local village.
Jamtara is integrated closely with the community surrounding their lodge and offers a "Machaan" sky-bed overnight were guests sleep under the stars as the villagers do; in Machaans that are built on stilts above the land of the surrounding farmers. A portion of the rate is paid to the farmers, generating revenue for local communities.
The Highlands is set in an exclusive, remote location at the edge of a mountain forest, far from other camps around the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. It was recently recognized by Travel and Leisure Magazine as one of the top new boutique accommodations in the world! Guests unwind in secluded dome suites complete with wood burning stoves and floor to ceiling bay windows. Daily game drives are easily accessed into the Ngorongoro Crater and intrepid travelers can join local Maasai on a hike to the Olmoti Crater or hike into the Empakaai Crater where they will encounter a dry soda lake and the pink flamingoes that live on its shores.
Highlands Lodge has forged ties with the surrounding Maasai villages. Interactions are an informal and authentic exchange where both parties can learn about each other rather than a show or display of Maasai culture.
Tucked away in the historic golden triangle of Northern Thailand, the Four Seasons Tented Camp is the quintessential Southeast Asia tropical retreat. Guests can explore spectacular mountain trails, meander through bamboo jungles, visit local temples and markets, and unwind in superb luxury tents.
Four Seasons Tented Camp partners with the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation to provide a natural home for over 20 elephants from Thailand's crowded city streets that they presently care for on site.
You might mistake it for a mirage at first, as you ride through the barren desert but the Sahara Desert Camp is a very real oasis greeting intrepid travelers arriving in a camel caravan accompanied by blue-robed Tuareg dwellers of the desert! The camp blends traditional Berber design with modern comforts (proper beds, ensuite bath and hot shower), surrounded by the highest sand dunes in Morocco. Relax in the Berber lounge, carpets laid out in the center of the camp with traditional mattresses and pouffes, and where ice-cold drinks are always available. Meals are served outside or under cover in a Berber tent. Camping in the Sahara Desert is a highlight of every Morocco adventure, especially at night under the stars around the fire drumming and dancing with Tuareg gives guests the ultimate desert experience!
Contact Jeff, our Morocco expert, for more information about travel to Morocco or read advice for traveling to Morocco from a Wildland Alumni. (Picture credit - Sahara Desert Camp)