My Favorite Accommodations

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  1. Semetsi Camp, Okavango Delta, Botswana (see www.safaris-botswana.com/html/Lodge-descriptions/Semetsi-Camp.htm). Reverse zoo (humans sleep in tents inside large cages surrounded by tons of wildlife). Day excursions with private guide (max 2 guests per guide) in dugout canoes.
  2. Bitterpan Camp; Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa (see www.saparks.com/accommodation/kgalagadi_wildernesscamps_bitterpan.aspx). Sleep in tents on stilts in active lion country. Absolutely incredible. 
  3. All the restcamps within Kruger National Park, South Africa. Again, a reverse zoo, but much bigger “cages”. We rented a car and self-drove throughout the park. We stayed at Mopani, Crocodile Bridge, Letaba, Oliphant, and Skukuza, but there are many other camps to select from. See www.krugerpark.co.za/Kruger_National_Park_Lodging_&_Camping_Guide-Travel/Kruger_National_Park_Lodging_&_Camping_Guide.html.
  4. Akademik Ioffe, to Antarctica (see www.quarkexpeditions.com/our-fleet/akademik-ioffe). Great crew including naturalists. They let us sleep on the continent overnight.
  5. Karanambu Eco-Lodge, Rupuni River, Guyana (see www.karanambulodge.com). We spent three delightful nights here in May 2012 with caretakers Andrea and Salvador de Caires and the famous "Giant River Otter Lady," Diane McTurk. 83 year old Diane has spent the past 35 years rehabilitating and releasing river otters at Karanambu. The highest water levels in decades had just flooded the otter dens, and the otters were forced to move upstream to find new, dryer campsites. As a result, we were unable to experience Diane with her river otters. On the other hand, we had a great time listening to Diane's stories, sharing life's experiences with Andrea and Salvador, seeing many dozens of new birds, eating incredible food (Andrea's Sicilian-style pizza is to die for; how she does it 3 hours from the nearest village is beyond me!). Regrettably, Diane passed away in December 2016.
  6. Rewa Eco-Lodge, Rewa River, Guyana (see www.rewaguyana.com). Managed by, and fully staffed by, Macusi Amerindians at the confluence of the Rewa and Rupununi Rivers, this lodge has just 7 cabins. It is co-located with their village. You will spend your days birdwatching, fishing, hiking, motor-canoeing and tracking down the elusive Harpy Eagle, the largest eagle in the Western Hemisphere. If you want to get away from it all, this is the place. To get here, you have to ask Trans Guyana Airways to make a special stop at the Annai landing strip, and arrange for the Rock View Lodge to drive you to Kwatamang Landing for the three hour motorized canoe ride by Rewa staff to the lodge. You will be showering with river water under the stars.
  7. Tiger Tops Jungle Lodge, Southern Nepal (see www.tigermountain.com/index.php?linkid=9&sublink=1). Inside Chitwan National Park. Among other things, we tracked Bengal tigers on elephant back. Life doesn’t get much better.
  8. Sacha Lodge, Amazon Headwaters, Ecuador (see www.sachalodge.com). 3-4 hours by boat to get there. Fantastic.
  9. Nsolo Bush Camp, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia (see www.normancarrsafaris.com/#!/camps/nsolo). Just 4 cabins (maximum 8 guests). Situated along side of pristine Luwi River. Watch the cycle of nature on walking safaris and game drives and from your veranda. Enjoy 5 star service and gourmet food from extremely attentive staff of 6+. On our 3-day visit we saw wild dogs eating a small antelope, and tracked (on foot) a pride of lions until we inadvertently found ourselves between the pride and their quarry: a herd of buffalo (oops).
  10. Ubuntu Camp, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania (see ubuntu.asiliaafrica.com). Just 8 tents (maximum 16 guests). Follows the wildebeest migration by relocating three times/year. We stayed in late May when Ubuntu is positioned in the Western Corridor of the migration. However, due to late rains, the migration ended up being 90 km east of the campsite. To insure that we had "the experience," our driver devoted one of our three days to a roudtrip (2.5 hours each way over rough terrain) to see the migration. During the trip, as well as during the other days in camp, we were treated to an endless array of game during our drives. Food and service were spectacular. Tents offer complete isolation and privacy. The host, David, did an outstanding job. If you go, try and ask for Vennet to be your driver; he is absolutely fantastic!
  11. Village Cave Hotel, Çavuşin, Turkey (see www.thevillagecave.com). Çavuşin was an entire village built into caves on the side walls of a steep valley until erosion from water and wind made the homes uninhabitable in the early 1960s. The Turkish government built a new more conventional Çavuşin village for the residents nearby. Halim öz's grandfather decided to convert some of the abandoned caves into a hotel. The hotel now has 6 cave rooms embedded in the side of the valley, all with incredible views across to the other wall of abandoned cave dwellings. Halim's grandfather passed away; his father is retired, and Halim now runs the hotel. Halim is busy with a massive digging effort to construct a new luxurious 150 square meter cave suite in the wall just above the other six rooms. You won't find a hotel like this anyplace else in the World.
  12. Cemara Indah Hotel, Mt Bromo National Park, Blitar, Indonesia. Sits on the edge of the crater of an active volcano. Hotel isn’t fantastic but the views are incredible.
  13. Etosha National Park, Namibia. We stayed at Toshari Lodge (see www.namibiareservations.com/tosharie.html). Lodge was terrific but we understand there are better lodges within the park itself.
  14. Mutiara Resort, Taman Negara National Park; Malaysia (see www.mutiarahotels.com/mutiara_tmnnegara). Not as good as the above lodges but still pretty darn nice. 3-4 hours by boat to get there.
  15. Yacutinga Lodge, near Iguazu Falls, Argentina (see www.yacutinga.com). Not as good as the above lodges but still pretty darn nice. 2-3 hours by truck to get there.
  16. Jicaro Lodge, on Granada Isleta in the center of Lake Nicaragua. Jicaro would like to consider itself in the same league as the other lodges on the list, but although it is very expensive, has great food and beautiful architecture, I was turned off by the fact that nothing except room and board is included in the price. For the price that we paid, everything should be included -- as is the case with all the rest of the lodges on this list. So, bottom line is Jicaro is a great ecolodge, but does not provide good value.
  17. Upachaya Eco-Lodge, Roatan, Honduras. Upachaya is really not like the other lodges on this list, although it may look like it based on its website. It is really just a B and B tucked away in a quiet corner of Roatan. It serves breakfast and a very light lunch. It does not serve dinner, is a few miles from the nearest restaurant, and does not provide kitchens in the rooms . . . so we had to stock up at the grocery store with sandwich materials (peanut butter and jelly) in order to eat dinner. You're on your own!