With the travel industry inching towards pre-pandemic strength, there’s no better time than the present to plan the ultimate bucket list getaway—and for serious animal aficionados, there’s a treasure trove of luxurious ecolodges and safari camps ready to provide the trip of a lifetime. From the remote reaches of Patagonia to the heart of Tanzania, these palatial properties offer incredible ecotourism alongside accommodations fit for royalty.
One&Only Wolgan Valley
Koalas, wombats, and wallaroos are just a few of the creatures that guests might encounter at One&Only Wolgan Valley, a luxurious property nestled into Australia’s Greater Blue Mountains Area. Guests are welcome to lounge by the outdoor pool and sample the resort’s signature gin during their stay, but no visit is complete without getting to know all 6,900 acres of the property. For seasoned outdoor adventurers, there’s no shortage of lengthy mountain biking trails streaking the area, while birders can spend their day trekking through the bush in search of native parrots and raptors. Equestrians take note—the property takes great pride in their resident horses, offering riding lessons, stable tours, and half-day voyages into the surrounding wilderness on horseback.
Tswalu Kalahari Motse Camp
Spanning roughly 350,000 square miles across Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa, the Kalahari Desert is one of the most impressive natural features found on the continent of Africa—and Tswalu Kalahari offers some of the finest accommodations in all the region. The idyllic Motse Camp has been drawing visitors for years thanks to its luxurious suites, walk-in wine cellar, and the wide array of fascinating creatures that call the surrounding area home. Activities on-property range from classic safaris to midnight stargazing, but for a particularly adorable outing, the Meerkat Experience is a must-try, providing guests with a chance to get a closeup look at the lodge’s local meerkat families.
Explora Patagonia National Park
The towering peaks of southern Patagonia have captivated explorers for centuries, and in the modern era, visitors can gain some insight into the biodiversity of the region on a voyage with Explora Patagonia National Park. During a stroll around the lodge, visitors can expect to spot iconic species like the puma, the llama-like guanaco, and even the Andean condor, the largest extant bird of prey—but there’s a lot more to encounter across the property than just wildlife. There are three outdoor hot tubs awaiting guests after a long day of hiking, while the on-property restaurant has earned abundant acclaim for its hearty wood-fired cuisine.
In need of a relaxing escape into the depths of the Costa Rican rainforest? Pacuare Lodge offers 20 cozy suites in the sprawling mountains of Limón Province. This picturesque property was designed with minimal environmental impact in mind—no trees were cut down during the construction process, allowing the native flora and fauna to continue thriving all around hotel grounds. White water rafting is a particularly popular activity for guests, but there’s no need to travel far to spot some incredible wildlife. For visiting birders, dazzling species like the red-capped manakin or keel-billed toucan might make an appearance in the treetops, while lucky guests might catch a glimpse of a jaguarundi skulking through the forest.
Chem Chem Lodge
In the northern reaches of Tanzania, the opulent Chem Chem Lodge offers a glimpse into the stunning beauty of Lake Manyara, with no shortage of fascinating flora and fauna to discover across its borders. While the lodge itself is a sight to behold, offering an outdoor swimming pool, fitness center, and sprawling unfenced grounds, there’s a wealth of truly marvelous expeditions to take part in just past property limits. The helicopter excursion and hot air ballooning allow guests to take in the splendor of Tanzania from a bird’s-eye view, while Chem Chem has also mastered the art of the slow safari, inviting participants to track wildlife on foot with the help of a local guide.