Right. Here’s our top list for an up-close and personal, self indulgent safari experience. Yes, do pack your Ralph Lauren and Malini Ramani 🙂
AFRICA – INTO THE WILD
Top list always and no question about it. An African Safari is the greatest trips of all times, atleast once in your lifetime. Waking up to sounds of nature and wild animals as your only sound track, has driven soul seekers and explorers from across the world into the heart of this continent. A life altering experience exploring off the beaten track and delving deep into the life of Africa, is Sanctuary Retreats. Small, intimate, high-end luxury lodges in Botswana, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. Inspired by the philosophy of `luxury naturally’ what is more romantic than sleeping under the stars in a four poster bed, with only the Milky Way star canopy overhead. Sky-bed experiences wheeled out onto private viewing decks, star baths with outdoor large bubble bath, bubbly served on the side, romantic ambient lanterns, nocturnal sounds and the views of the Okavango Delta. Glam-camping personified. Total bliss!
While in Africa, ample occasion to sample Flying safaris across the wilderness from one camp site to another, or balloon rides offering panoramic sunrises and spectacular aerial views of the untouched Masai Mara landscape. Throw in Champagne breakfasts and long lazy lunches, but of course. For the well-heeled, Wine safaris and Golf safaris in South Africa, winding down to Cape Town’s popular Beach safaris and savour your exceptional holiday with a winding down post safari spa weekend at The Taj Cape Town.
INDIA – UNTAMED LUXURY
Blending old school luxury with the raw appeal of the wild, the forest reserves of Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Assam are a traveller’s delight and draw their fan following from all over the world. However, a unique, cultural and textile heritage safari `India Unravelled’ for solo female travellers curated by textile artist and interior designer, Natalie Miller, has our thumps up. Packaging architecture, textiles, landscapes and people for diversity and the culturally curious, Miller takes her wander-lusters on 10 day journey into the soul of Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra and Delhi, introducing them to a deeper understanding and appreciation of Indian textiles, artisans and the role they play in weaving India’s history and heritage –both ancient and modern.
This soul stirring safari is replete with visual sights of city colours, carpet weaving, block printing, knitting jumpers for rescued elephants at the Wildlife SOS Conservation Centre, to rickshaw rides and visit to the National Handicrafts and Handloom Museum. Miller’s curated experience includes stay at hand picked art hotels, restored palaces and havelis, authentic traditional cuisines and an extraordinary one-of-a-kind life changing insight in conscious travel.
SRI LANKA – ISLAND HOPPING
Don’t be fooled by her petite size. Packing a punch is an island bursting with wildlife, coastal hot-spots, eclectic food trails, combined with luxury safari camps for private as well as family excursions. But a tea trail safari in Sri Lanka, who would think of that? The Wallawwa, a luxury private Dutch hideaway in Colombo, adds an aura of misty romanticism beginning the tea safari with the train ride in 1st class to Hattan. The spectacular local scenery sitting in one of the open carriage doors, as the train winds its way uphill, in itself is awe worthy.
Upon arriving in Hatton and transferred to the `Tea Trails’ located in the magical solitude of Sri Lanka’s prime tea land – the Bogawontalawa Valley. The rejuvenating hills with her age old restored classic, luxury bungalows offer nostalgic `days of the Raj’ with the finest Ceylon high teas accompanied with homemade scones, jams, invigorating salads and soups. Leisurely glimpses of life working on a tea estate for those who want to know more on tea brewing, for the outdoorsy types mountain biking, trekking, an invigorating play of croquet on the laws (oh, so British), or white water rafting for the dare-devils. So quaint! For the absolute diehard, the Taj Samudra, Colombo, is respite for old bones, spa, relaxation and Sri Lankan cuisine.
NEPAL – DAMSEL OF THE MOUNTAINS
All the elements of Nature come together to celebrate Nepal. Her exceptional biodiversity, natural environment, tropical jungles, bird watching, tiger trekking and rapid falls water rafting, has earned her loyal global followers. For curated safari experiences to suit age, budget, mood, and tempo, the robust Chitwan National Park is the most favoured. But, how about combining an elephant safari, a walking safari and by canoe, since by jeep is done and dusted. Not for the faint-hearted this. Experienced over a period of time, Nepal’s Chitwan will let you see, feel, and experience her unbridled wild side with your heart and spirit, as her heartland spreads across 932 sq km of rugged countryside. It is impossible not to be impressed as you finally bunk down and come to rest at the 30 room jungle lodge of Meghauli Serai, who secretly and unbeknownst orchestrates spectacular views of the river Rapti just for you.
Inspired enough to shoot your own Indy style holiday-in-the-wild travel epilogue? Be our guest.