The wildest, most untouched places on earth are often the hardest to reach, but some far-flung travel experiences belong on every nature fan’s bucket list. From a jaw-dropping journey through the ancient Kingdom of Bhutan, to eco camping opposite a giant ice-shedding glacier, or a Zambian bush camp that brings the wildlife to your tree house door. Unprecedented access to deep-in-the-wilderness adventure is at hand. There is one caveat. Limited (if any) cell, Internet, and technology in general requires flicking the switch on the outside world, and tuning in to the world around you. Ready to get unplugged? Here’s where to go…
Photo credit: Amankora
Unfolding through ancient, cloud-capped Himalayan valleys, Amankora offers a circuit of five swish resort lodges scattered throughout the magical Kingdom of Bhutan. In Amankora, the ultra-luxury Aman hotel group has created a unique gateway to an untouched world still opening itself to tourism. The five lodges (Paro, Thimphu, Gangtey, Bumthang, Punakha), are named after the valleys they each reside in. Each lodge is a minimalist, elegant sanctuary blending Bhutanese architecture and contemporary comforts. Visitors may either stay at just one Lodge, or visit several, within a tailor-made, multi-destination itinerary complete with private transportation. Collectively, the lodge circuit offers the chance to truly immerse in Bhutan’s landscape, culture, and spiritual heritage. Buddhist-inspired lodge activities throughout the five lodges include spiritual hikes, visits to ancient monasteries, and prayers with monks. Lodges do offer Wi-Fi, but this experience is otherwise wonderfully off-grid.
Photo credit: Chamilandu Bushcamp, Zambia
Chamilandu is one of six intimate safari camps operated by Zambia’s Bushcamp Company, who’ve scattered their camps throughout one of Africa’s last unspoilt wilderness areas – the South Luangwa National Park. Nestled beneath a soaring ebony grove on the Luangwa Riverbank, Chamilandu puts one of the world’s greatest wildlife sanctuaries at the treehouse doorstep. Explore beautiful local habitats on guided walking safaris and game drives. Camp downtime sounds something like this: lazing in hammocks to the tune of bathing elephants, sipping on sundowners as you watch animals roam across the landscape, or gazing at wildlife from your four-poster bed in one of three open plan, rustic chic treehouses. With numerous lagoons behind camp, thirsty animals seeking refreshment are always nearby. The Chamilandu vibe is always intimate and exclusive (six gusts max), though it remains a camp – yes there’s hot water and electricity (solar powered), but emailing, phone chats and Instagram posts will have to wait until you’ve back in civilization.
Photo credit: World of Greenland
Glacier Lodge Eqi is an unpretentious Arctic camp that’s about as up close and personal to glacial action as it gets. It’s a tiny seasonal settlement located at the very spot where French polar explorer, Poul-Emilie Victor, began his expeditions in 1948. The boat trip to Eqi brings visitors right up to the glacier edge, where huge hunks of ice can frequently be seen breaking off. There’s no cell signal or Wi-Fi in this remote part of the world, so sounds of pristine nature, infused with seal, Polar fox, and Canada goose sightings, become the daily entertainment. There are 15 huts on offer, and while catering to various budgets, luxurious they are not. Comfort Huts come with panoramic bay views through 22-foot wide windows, solar-powered electricity, and flushing toilets. Budget Huts are just that – no electricity, nor private bathroom, and really for those who simply need a warm bed to crash in after days out hiking and exploring. Buffet-style meals at on-site Cafe Victor feature local fare like smoked halibut and reindeer risotto, but simply spectacular Arctic views and icy outdoor adventure are the main fare at this Greenland must-visit.