There’s nothing like the vast emptiness of the desert, the stark, icy beauty of a glacier field, or the dawn chorus of the rainforest to make our little human problems seem small and insignificant. Experiencing any true wilderness reminds us that the struggle to survive is very real for the other species we share this planet with, and getting out there to take it all in can do wonders for the soul. And with these luxury nature experiences, you don’t even have to sacrifice (all) the creature comforts of home to do so!
The great Namib – the world’s oldest desert
The name Namib means ‘vast space’ – and at 81,000 square kilometers in size, the Namib Desert is certainly that! Many people are drawn to the desert, but if you’re not a fan of extreme heat, then the Namibian coastline, where cool winds from the Atlantic Ocean fan over the sands, might make this just the spot for you to experience the desert in relative comfort! Many people choose to have their holiday in Swakopmund, Namibia, for this exact reason.
Aside from luxurious accommodations and plenty of history and architecture to enjoy, there’s also plenty of opportunity to get out there and experience the stark beauty of the dunes. Even in areas where there seems to be no possibility of finding life, nature surprises! Amazingly, desert elephants, lions, ostriches, antelope like gemsbok and springbok, and various rodents and reptiles manage to eke out an existence – thanks mostly to the morning dew which collects from the ocean breezes. And if you’ve kids or teenagers in tow, then trying your skills at sandboarding is an absolute must.
Experience life in the trees with Keemala Bird’s Nests, Thailand
If you’re after a luxury holiday that will quite literally to shake up your perspective, then this has to be one of the most unique options out there! Located in Phuket, Thailand, with its lush tropical jungles complete with exotic wildlife and blissful, dreamy beaches, it’s the ultimate combination of adventure and luxury.
Although they might look like bird’s nests on the outside, inside it’s all five star opulence – complete with a hovering pool and breathtaking views over the ocean. If you’re seeking a real sanctuary to relax, reflect and rejuvenate, taking some time when you feel like it to explore the jungles and beaches and sample some of that famous Thai cuisine, then you’ve come to the right place!
Glamping… in Antarctica?!
While cruise ship excursions to the planet’s least hospitable continent have become pretty popular in recent years, few trips actually take you into its icy interior, and even fewer involve actually sleeping there. The White Desert tour holiday is set to change this, however, with its eight night ‘glamping’ experience deep in the frozen tundra. While you’ll still be able to experience the harsh, desolate landscape Antarctica is known for, you’ll also be able to escape the elements to your luxury sand-colored ‘pod’ – complete with fur- and leather-lined interiors. And you’ll be in good company too, as famous personalities like Prince Harry and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin have given the establishment their stamp of approval. It’s definitely not the most affordable holiday option out there, but it’s absolutely guaranteed to be one of the most memorable!
How about bungee jumping into a volcano in Chile?
If you like your holiday with a little more sizzle then Pucón, Chilé has it in spades. The highlight of this six-day tour is a bungee jump off of a hovering helicopter, in which you’ll plunge to within just 700 feet of a real bubbling lake of lava. If that doesn’t satisfy your adrenalin craving, then we’re pretty sure nothing will! Once you’ve completed your daredevil stunt, you can reward yourself with some much-needed relaxation back at the hotel with a luxurious spa treatment and some fine dining. Want more thrills? Skydiving and white water rafting happen to be specialties too.
If this sounds tempting, but perhaps just a little bit too exciting, Nicaragua has a slightly less death-defying option for you – ‘volcano boarding’. The sides of Central America’s youngest volcano, Cerro Negro, make a great surface for this activity. It involves a one hour hike to the top though, so you’ll need to be in relatively good shape. But just think of the stories you’ll be able to tell!
Seeking something more laid-back? What about a castaway vacation on a desert island?
Tropical islands might not strike you as an extreme environment, but how about one where the total human population is zero? Apulit Island, part of the Palawan Island Province west off the Filipino mainland, is just such a place. It’s the quintessential idea of paradise – crystal clear water, pristine beaches, huge limestone cliffs and verdant green vegetation – and absolutely no-one else around. If you’re seeking seclusion and a proper escape from the world, this has to be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful spots to do it.