Glamping in Georgia at The Lodge on Little St. Simons

I have a secret and it’s called The Lodge on Little St. Simons.

It’s where the marsh greens pop against sky blues, and your pace is slow enough to notice.  A place where towering oak branches embrace you. Your breathing slows, and your mind stills here.  It’s where you’re the spectator, and nature is the show.  A place where you may be a guest, but it feels like you’re home.  It’s the Lodge on Little St. Simons.

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Blakely Downs

Blakely left her job as an advertising producer in New York to turn professional traveler with her husband. As they explore, learn, give, and get lost, thrilled, and changed through distant lands, she recounts it all on her travel blog and enables couch travelers everywhere. She now contributes to Glamping.com as a guest writer.

Glamping on the Wild Side

Glamping is an adventure if anything, and if you are looking for ideas that are offbeat, unusual, or maybe even downright strange, you have a choice of unusual glamping accommodations around the world. Interestingly, the highest concentration of the truly offbeat seems to be in Europe, and in the UK in particular.

casa cubes
We’ll start off in Asia, where Casa de la Flora offers something unusual, intriguing, and highly luxurious. If you want your weird on the outside, but want it luxurious and modern on the inside, you’ll be happy with these cutting-edge cubes providing “architecture and unique design amid tropical nature.” The architects pay tribute to the namesake “flora” with living grass carpets covering the roofs of the villas.

whitepod
From cubes to pods: Whitepod eco-luxury hotel and alpine experience blends the unusual with the natural seamlessly. The pods truly look like they belong in the landscape, especially in winter, when guests of this four-season resort can take advantage of the private ski slopes and dog sledding.

cave12
For a true “man cave” experience, check out Sextantio Le Grotte Della Civita in Italy, an amazing hotel of caves in the village of Matera in southern Italy. The proprietors of these ancient caves take their luxury seriously, going so far as to say, “Prehistoric man might never have ventured outside the caves if they had bathrooms like these.”

glamping thorpe bbq
Wagon ho! You won’t find the next two wagon accommodations on the frontier of the American West as you might expect. This first one, featuring a “gypsy wagon” as well as a “shepherd’s hut,” a “horse lorry,” and a “love shack” is located near Banbury, England, about an hour and thirty minutes drive northwest of London, should you decide to travel by modern vehicle.

NZ Wagon
You’ll find another wagon spot in New Zealand. The hosts of Wagonstays, Mike and Jasmine want you to know that their wagon has “all the authenticity and atmosphere from 1870, but with the comfort and luxury of home,” which is in evidence with satellite television, computer controlled showers, and glass doors that lead to a balcony.

tree pod
You’ve heard of pods and tree houses, but how about a pod in a tree? These glamping globes are referred to as “tree tents,” with the Red Kite Tree Tent resort found where else but the UK, this time in Wales. One look at it and you’ll immediately see how this round rental would make any Ewok envious. You can learn more by reading a previous blog entry by Kelly Thomson.

Snapseed
Next up is Ecocamp Glenshee, another UK property that relishes the offbeat accommodation, with a myriad of oddball abodes from which to choose: wooden pods, a “monster” yurt, and “shielings,” or shepherd’s huts, which are found here in the beautiful wilds of Scotland. The Monster Yurt is furnished with “mementos from the Near East,” and Shieling Mohr has a llama theme, and you can go llama trekking with resident llamas Jet, Atticus, and Bradford.

canopy stars big green bus
If all these choices aren’t enough to decide, you can go to the Glamping.com listing of Canopy & Stars, “a colourful collection of quirky accommodation.” These curators of crazy crash pads list glamping properties across much of Europe, and feature wonderfully oddball accommodations ranging from hobbit houses and tree houses to boats, pods, and even a big green bus! No matter how you go glamping, it’s an adventure, so why be normal? Indulge your inner glamping geek at any of these offbeat accommodations.

Glamping.com listed properties among top winners of Safari Awards 2015

Each year over 4,000 qualified tour operators, travel agents and travel journalists from around the world vote to nominate the best safari camps, lodges, houses, mobile and riding operators, and wildlife organizations for the Safari Awards. A team of 14 judges said to be “the most highly-respected, knowledgeable independent tour operators selling safaris,” then decides who among those nominees are the best in several categories.

NCS 2015 winner

The big story this year is Norman Carr Walking Safaris, which took the highest honor- “Best Safari Experience in Africa,” as well as “Best Walking Safari” in the 2015 Safari Awards. “The legacy and the history of the company really stand out,” says Sales and Marketing Director Mindy Roberts. Founded by Norman Carr who pioneered the walking safari 64 years ago, she calls him “a man with a vision way beyond his time.” She especially attributes the award honors to the guides. “Our guiding team from Mfuwe… we think are some of the best in Africa.”

Norman Carr

Known as the “original safari company,” Norman Carr started walking safaris more than 60 years ago in the Luangwa Valley, and today their properties include four bush camps, Kapani Lodge a luxury camp along the Luangwa River, four of which are listed on Glamping.com.

Luwi_original 4

Luwi Bush Camp, a Norman Carr Safaris property listed on Glamping.com, is one of several camps included in the Norman Carr Walking Safari that was named “Best Safari Experience” and “Best Walking Safari.”

Kakuli Bedroom

Kakuli Bush Camp is also one of the winning properties featured on Glamping.com.

Chin Fire Pit

Down the Luangwa River from the bush camps is Chinzombo, winner of “Best New Safari Property” and runner up of “Best Safari Cuisine”. It was the original green season base for Norman Carr in the 1970s, now a “super luxurious” camp that “retains its bush feel,” according to Norman Carr Safaris.

sasaab-3

“Best Safari Spa/Retreat” goes to Sasaab in Kenya, the spa is known as “Spasaab,” uncommon for being “purpose built into the rocks” and said to have “impressive views and tranquil sounds of birds and the river.”

lewa-4

Kudos to Kenya’s Lewa Safari Camp and the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (also known as Lewa Downs) for winning “Best Wildlife Conservancy Organization,” as well as “Personal Contribution Wildlife” award given to Ian Craig, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy & NRT (Northern Rangelands Trust).

Footsteps 2

A safari experience offered by Ker & Downey Botswana was also an award recipient. The Botswana walking safari “Footsteps Across the Delta” was a winner of “Best Ecologically Responsible” and “Best Family Safari Experience”.

ker-downey-africa-4

The awards come at a good time for the tourism industry, with overreaching concerns over the spread of Ebola, considering that the award-winning resorts are approximately 5000 miles from the hot zone in Western Africa. That’s literally like being afraid to visit Miami because of an outbreak in Anchorage, Alaska. Congratulations to these and all the winners of the 2015 Safari Awards.