Urbanisation in the last two centuries has reached a fever pitch. Nowadays the majority of the population can be found living within towns or cities, and as a result the average person’s contact with life that isn’t surrounded by concrete is rather limited. True wilderness, meanwhile, is hard to find. Contrary to belief, escaping to the country isn’t an escape from civilisation either – rural areas are just as manmade as urban landscapes.
True departures in the wilderness are hard to find, short of taking a leaf from Tom Hanks’s book and getting yourself stranded on a deserted island. And, for most people, such an experience is perhaps too much of a culture shock. People treat wilderness much like they’d treat a visit to the Moon. A worthy endeavour, but one that requires certain bare necessities.
The following resorts offer their guests a true experience of the untamed primal beauty of our planet, all while still ensuring that you’re not sacrificing all of your creature comforts.
Although not truly untouched – most of Canada’s forests have been managed for lumber for nearly two centuries now – British Columbia still offers visitors some of the best experiences of the Canadian wilderness, with snow-capped mountains, deep clear water lakes, and miles upon miles of tranquil forest waiting to be explored.
The Sonora Resort can be found on the Discovery Islands, awash in the environmental beauty of the Great White North. Offering all the joys of an eco-holiday and yet all the comforts of a luxury resort, guests can spend the day hiking the trails, fishing by the lakes, or kayaking down the rivers. By night, they can enjoy a luxurious trip to the spa, a delicious meal at the restaurants, or a comfortable night’s rest in their hotel rooms.
Truly the best of both worlds!
Uluru, sometimes referred to as Ayer’s Rock, is an especially sacred natural monument to the indigenous people of Australia. Already prominent in many stories and legends, Uluru has in many ways become an enduring symbol of Australia the land as opposed to Australia the nation, representing a history that stretches back tens of thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans.
Longitude 131° tries to connect its visitors with that ancient heritage, largely by encouraging their guests to truly immerse themselves in the timeless landscape of central Australia. Guests stay in several luxury “tents” or “pavilions”, all offering spectacular views of Uluru on the horizon. It offers just the right mix of luxury and contact with the land around you, while numerous cafes and bars provide only the best quality Australian cuisine.
The rugged landscape of Corsica, a small patch of Italy within the French Republic, has long been enjoyed by travellers and adventurers for centuries. Mighty hills and mountains are perfect for hiking, hiding within them hundreds of little valleys and trails waiting to be discovered by those wishing to find them.
For hikers making their way through the highlands of Corsica, numerous refuges on the GR20 hiking route have been set up. The term refuge is deliberate – they are essentially small shacks and cottages set up to provide food, shelter and water for people passing by. In contrast to the more luxurious settings of our other hotels, the refuges are pretty basic. Food is seasonal, the buildings definitely cosy, and the beds those you’d expect to find at a summer camp. These are accommodations for hikers and backpackers and do a fantastic job at providing somewhere safe to stay before pressing on the rest of the journey.
The small Hindu island of Bali is a tropical paradise long made popular for its unique blend of Indonesian and Hindu culture, as well as the tropical beauty of its surrounding landscape. Offering rich rainforest, high-peaked mountains and balmy white sand shores, there’s nothing not to like here.
Trying to maintain the same tranquil atmosphere of a small Balinese village, the Maya Ubud Resort and Spa is situated within ten hectares of idyllic forest within a lush river valley. Surrounding on all sides by misted green hills and the calls of exotic wildlife, guests can choose whether to take guided hikes and tours of the land and nearby cultural sites, or else remain in pampered luxury within the resort itself.
Africa boasts some of the most impressive flora and fauna in the world, including such classic favourites such as elephants, zebra, lions and rhinos.
The Bushman’s Kloof on the western coast of South Africa keeps itself isolated from the more well-known stomping grounds of animal-loving tourists, preferring to offer its guests a more exclusive and secluded experience. Just three hours from Cape Town, it has numerous comfortable rooms, suites and private villas available, as well as exciting tours of nearby cultural and environmental sites.
Perhaps the idea of staying within sight of a still-active volcano seems scary, but Nayara Resort and Spa’s nearby smoky neighbour is rather the reason this resort made the list at all. Volcanic soil is among the most fertile you can find, and nowhere is this more evident than the verdant rainforests that surround them both.
Located within the sunny Central American nation of Costa Rica, Nayara Resort and Spa offers a leafy retreat from the cities. You’re never more than a stone’s throw away from the untouched beauty of rainforest, and yet at the same time never far away from the comforts of the resort either. With airy, comfortable rooms, numerous services and activities, and fine dining that lasts all into the night, the Nayara provides one of the most authentic Costa Rican experiences you can hope to enjoy.
We may be in lockdown right now but it won’t last forever – what taste of the wilderness are you hankering for when you’re again free to roam at home and abroad?