May 1, 2018
Home Away From Home
Our habitat is our home and while here on the Sunshine Coast that consists of a house or a variation of, around the world people have created homes that are unique to their own environment and landscape.
My most unique habitat stay came when visiting the honeycombed hills of Cappadocia, Turkey, which is well known for its distinctive ‘fairy chimneys’ – a bird’s eye view from a hot air balloon is a popular way to see this spectacular landscape, drifting over cities carved into these natural landforms. Cappadocia Cave Suites is where original houses and cave dwellings are combined; reminiscent of both geological and human history, albeit with the luxurious comfort of the 21st century!
A more authentic cultural experience is an inside look at the Maasai life and culture, which remains largely unchanged for hundreds of years. Spending time in the mud and dung huts in a Maasai Mara village on the border of the Mara Reserve in Kenya, allowed me to learn their unique way of life and understand how they keep their cultural traditions and customs alive – it was testament to how they have adapted to their habitat.
Where snow is a gift from the sky, and you are welcomed into a world where you sleep, walk and are even served snow on snow, then maybe the Snow Hotel in Norway is for you. Take a husky taxi to where the talented sculptors from the famous ice festival in Harbin, China are invited to build the most northerly frosty fortress every year.
If sleeping on a slab of ice covered in reindeer hides gives you the chills, maybe a day visit to experience the wonder of these icy sculptures is a warmer option. With ice hotels popping up all around the world every winter, they have literally become the ‘coolest’ habitat stays available.
Another favourite habitat stay worthy of exploring is the Bella Vista Cloud Forest Lodge in Ecuador, where hummingbirds in their enchanted green kingdom are waiting for you.
For the more adventurous among us, a stay at The Skylodge Adventure Suites is an awe inspiring experience, where transparent capsules hang from a cliff in the Sacred Valley, Peru, surely giving you a Condor’s perspective of the world. Just standing below, working out how one goes for a coffee was challenging enough for this traveller.
From a stay in the sky to sleeping with the fish, the Underwater Room at Kwanini Manta Resort, Tanzania has you encapsulated within a turquoise blue bubble for the night. This exhilarating experience is not for the faint of heart though.
River cruising the Mekong River is the ultimate way to encounter one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, with river life along the rice bowl of Asia being fascinating and varied. Indeed there can be no more striking a cultural contrast than between bustling Vietnam and tranquil Cambodia.
There are some amazing travel experiences around the world that merge so well within their habitat, such as the Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge South Africa. This luxurious safari retreat located within the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve reflects a new era in eco-chic game lodges.
The beautiful Hurawalhi Resort, Maldives is where you take pleasure in the all-inclusive overwater villas by day, and dine 5.8m below water in the world’s largest all-glass undersea restaurant at night. This is the ultimate grown-up escape that is sure to send your gastronomy senses into overload.
If floating high in the trees in the coastal rainforest on Vancouver Island, Canada is more your speed, the Free Spirit Spheres will have you inspired and one with nature.
And you will be forgiven if you think the Palacio de Sal Hotel in Bolivia is a mirage; as the first salt hotel in the world, located on the banks of the world’s largest salt flats, this exotic hotel is built entirely from salt! Right down to the furniture and sculptures, this hotel is truly in balance with nature and its habitat.
All exceptional experiences for a traveller looking for that unique encounter and the opportunity to be one with the habitat that surrounds them, why not source a habitat stay on your next adventure?
Small Group Journeys is a collection of bespoke worldwide adventures, cruises and tours designed and escorted by Jacinta Blundell. Follow Jacinta in Profile each month as she takes you beyond the tourist trail.
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Cover image: Hot air balloons over Cappadocia, Turkey