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Feature: Luxury resorts situated in nature reserves

Thursday, 14 July 2013 11:46 AM

Spanning acres of bushland, rainforest and coastline, the world’s most majestic landscapes lie peacefully untouched by man. Lions roam the desert, manta rays swim in the sea and tall wondrous mammals exist in some of the most pristine locations imaginable. Yet without conservation efforts and global help, some of these locations would be look how they are today. National parks and nature reserves are springing up daily to try and combat an ever increasing demand for timber and natural resources.

And good news is that there are a growing number of luxurious resorts based inside these magnificent areas where the money spent goes to helping the conservation process.

If you want to give something back or just want to relax in some of the most pristine and beautiful locations imaginable, we’ve found a selection of incredible resorts nestled in nature reserves and wildlife parks just for you...

Hippo Point, Kenya
Hippo Point on the shores of Lake Naivasha is consistently rated as one of the best nature retreats in the world. Only two hours drive away from Nairobi, but still secluded in hundreds of acres of bush land, the eight story, red and green tower has been custom built to have the feel of an Edwardian clock tower. Wooden staircases wind up to four separate bedrooms, marble baths perch below portrait paintings and oak desks sit opposite windows with beautiful views of the lands beyond. It is not uncommon to see giraffes and zebras grazing in the bush below and hear hippos venturing out of the water under the cover of darkness.

In the morning breakfast is served outside under the towering acacias while in the evening intimate candlelit dinners sweep guests back to bygone days of wild simplicity and unspoiled elegance. It’s possible to indulge in massage therapy, water ski the lake, jog through bush or picnic in the long grass, all in the gentle embrace of a wild environment. The resort also offers cultural experiences into tribal country, as well ashelicopter and hot air balloon safari tours.

Shergarh Tented Camp, India
The forested hills of Madhya Pradesh, a wild place of forest tracks and tribal villages, lie in the heart of India – right in the middle of the country. Once a vast area for indigenous forest dwellers, in the late 19th century the land became a hunting estate for the privileged and the abundant tiger population dropped to an alarmingly low level. Luckily almost 100 square kilometres of this land has now been turned into a tiger reserve to protect these majestic creatures.

Perched just inside this area is the Shergarh Tented Camp, where six luxurious cabin style tents sit in private plots in young woodland. These spacious tents come complete with comfy double beds and bathrooms and are situated near two natural springs where egrets and cormorants can be seen drinking and bathing. You can do as much or little as you like here. There are mountain bikes for exploring, a library packed full of wildlife books for relaxing and endless tranquil landscapes to satisfy your photography urge.

The Canopy, Australia
Australia’s northern belt is a tropical wonderland of ancient, 110 million year old rainforest, mountainous highlands and the largest barrier reef in the world. Set amongst this is the Canopy Rainforest Treehouses and Wildlife Sanctuary; a unique resort residing in 100 acres of mesophyll vine forest. Wake to a serenade every morning as Victoria’s riflebirds, beautiful king parrots, spotted catbirds and an ever changing parade of Honeyeaters and Finches greet you. This is a world where shy platypus inhabit the river and wallabies and other marsupials forage on the night floor.

There are two ground floor lodges, but for a truly atmospheric stay, the five treehouses perched high in the canopy offer an experience like no other. Set on the banks of the Ithaca River, these two bedroom, wooden creations are decorated with furniture made from rainforest timber. You can indulge in Australia’s favourite pastime with a gas BBQ on a balcony or cook in the fully equipped kitchen. With waterfalls, mountains and vineyards nearby you won’t be short on things to do. There is also an onsite massage parlour.

Gayana Eco Resort, Borneo
An island like no other in the world, Borneo is actually three countries in one . It’s also home to some of the most beautiful and rare wildlife in the world - like the majestic orang-utan. Sabah is one of the states of Malaysian Borneo and it is an area unrivalled in natural beauty.

Set inside this jungle state is the Gayana Eco Resort, a deluxe hotel fronted by the clear blue waters of the South China Sea, with hundreds of acres of pristine jungle and the looming Mount Kinabalu behind. At its heart, the resort is about protecting the fantastic marine ecology environment; there’s an onsite marine centre where clams are propagated and coral reefs are restored.

Fifty two luxury lodges are actually built onto the water and are designed to enhance the soothing sounds of the surf below. There are great opportunities for kayaking, scuba-diving, jungle trekking and swimming. Three restaurants serve up gourmet Malaysian food; largely known as being one of the most delicious in the world.

Combining luxury with an eco-conscious agenda, these resorts offer some of the unique holiday experiences around. Join us next week for more resorts in the heart of nature.

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