At some of the world’s most luxurious camp sites, guests rough it in style.
Text by Tiffany Chan, Photo by The Resort at Paws Up
There’s something magical about the great outdoors – the silver lakes, rolling highlands and sequined skies – that lures us to leave the city behind. But for some of us, what’s not so magical is the grim reality of actually having to pitch a tent, build a fire from scratch or, worse yet, wake up with a stiff neck and an absurd number of bug bites. If you’re aching to reconnect with nature but are reluctant to do the dirty work, the ideal getaway might be glamping (or glamorous camping, for those who haven’t caught on yet). Offering modern travellers an elevated outdoor experience, glamping combines adventure
Scarabeo Stone Camp is situated in the Agafay stone desert, about 40 kilometres outside Marrakech, Morocco, but it feels far more remote. In the still expanse of rolling biscuit-coloured dunes are clean, white tents, dotted neatly like ellipses on a rusty page. The snowy Atlas Mountains hover in the distance. A surprising contrast to traditional Moroccan decadence, the Bedouin-style camp emphasises the simplicity of desert life. Each of the five tents is equipped with elegantly minimal furniture: pure white bedding, woven floor mats, bleached-wood chairs and hammered-silver basins. Enjoy msemen (flatbread) and authentic tagine on the deck and soak up the warm air. Or if you prefer a more active break, desert buggy driving, mountain trekking and camel riding, among other activities, are available. At night, watch constellations dazzle like spider webs in the sky with the camp’s professional astronomer. To ensure campers enjoy the best desert temperature, Scarabeo migrates between two sites, 5 kilometres apart, as the seasons change. A step away from civilisation, the camp is paradise if you value solitude.
Roughing it at the Samburu National Reserve in north-central Kenya means having breakfast on your private terrace while taking in the spectacular views across the Laikipia Plateau and watching herds of elephants bathe in the riverbed below. Perched on a rocky hill overlooking the Ewaso Nyiro River, the Sasaab Lodge is the only one in the area, with just nine stunning 1,000 sq ft white canvas tents. Each Moroccan-inspired tent features a mosquito-net enclosed four-poster bed, an enormous open-air bathroom and a private plunge pool. Explore the safari on guided walks, game drives – or for the more adventurous – by camel. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of Samburu’s renowned variant species, including the Gerenuk antelope, reticulated giraffe, Beisa oryx, Somali ostrich and Grevy’s zebra. Visit the Samburu people, who are known for their generous hospitality, and learn how to make a traditional bow and arrow. Dine in the wilderness, and sleep under the stars. Take it all in.
Glamping is somewhat of an understatement at The Resort at Paws Up in Montana. Sprawling across 14,970 hectares of working cattle ranch, the resort features five safari-style camps pitched along the Blackfoot River. The luxury tents are appropriately adorned: all copper bathtubs, cowboy portraits and animal-skin rugs. Extravagance comes in the form of a camping butler and personal chef. But you’ll soon find you won’t be spending much time in the tent. Start your mornings wading through the quiet, cold waters of the Blackfoot fly-fishing for trout. Weave through Montana’s boundless conifer forests on horseback, or saddle up and herd cattle like a proper wrangler. This is the Wild West served on a silver platter for every man waiting to channel his inner cowboy.
Scarabeo Camp, Morocco
Sasaab Lodge, Kenya
The Resort at Paws Up, USA