In the jungle, the mighty jungle, it isn’t only the lion that sleeps tonight. As our thirst for the weird and wonderful increases, the range of accommodation found in the depths of verdant rainforests has also risen. It’s led to some novel overnighters, from luxury pads in cloud forests to tented villas where an elephant’s trumpet acts as the camp’s alarm clock.
If getting back to nature sounds like a tempting holiday, jungle retreats are found along the equator: across central and south America, in parts of central Africa and the islands of South East Asia.
Of the many on offer to suit all tastes and budget, here’s the Flexicover team's pick of places to monkey around and have a wild time.
The Banjaran Hotsprings Retreat, Malaysia
For those who relish the idea of staying in the wilderness but are nervous about the reality, the Banjaran Hotsprings retreat is a perfect choice as it’s situated on the edge of Malaysia’s dense rainforest yet still a walk away from the city of Ipoh. Surrounded by lush vegetation, this five-star adult-only retreat, features 25 villas each with its own plunge pool and spa tub, centred around geothermal hot springs that restore and revive. There’s also steam caves, ice baths and a range of holistic treatments to indulge the senses, if the environs weren’t enough to feel a million miles from home.
Tree Tops Jungle Hotel, Sri Lanka
Roll up the tarpaulin entrance of your tent lodge and the expanse of Sri Lanka’s wilderness is all you’ll see. Situated near Yala National Park, the go-to place for safaris, each of the three tents comes with a terrace from which to enjoy the scenic views. The accommodation has no electricity but guests have all the amenities expected from a top jungle hotel: running water, mosquito nets and delicious Sri Lankan cuisine. In the day, staff organise jungle walks, following elephant trails to catch a sighting of the magnificent creatures in their natural habitat – if they don’t come to the lodge first.
Mashpi Lodge, Ecuador
At 90 per cent humidity, the heat is on in the Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador. Nestled atop a hill so the expanse of the dense jungle can be seen in its full glory, the $10million luxury hotel of Mashpi Lodge has 22 contemporary rooms for guests looking for a once-in-a-lifetime stay. The hotel makes the most of its enviable location: there’s a hummingbird viewing point, a cable car running through to the jungle and a biologist on hand to talk through the biodiversity of the cloud forests. If guests can tear themselves away from the luxury, night walks and rainforest tours are on offer too.
Refugio Amazonas, Peru
For the intrepid family who care about the environment, Refugio Amazonas is the perfect choice. It’s hidden away on a 200-hectare private reserve that it shares with the indigenous Ese-Eja community, who harvest sustainable Brazil nuts in the area. Kids are welcome to join short treasure hunts to find lost Brazil nuts and learn more about the beautiful jungle while they’re at it. Other activities include assisting scientists to discover new species (with new findings almost monthly), helping to send drones to scope out the area and analyse their findings, and boat trips to Macaw clay licks. There’s no better place to learn about nature in action.
Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp, Uganda
If glamping inside Bwindi National Park to see critically endangered mountain gorillas and fund their protection sounds like a rewarding holiday, Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp fits the bill. It’s not cheap, with prices starting at £350 a night. But it has the nicest facilities of all the camps in the park, with a location that couldn’t be bettered, ensuite tents, a bar, and impeccable service. The park is also home to chimps, monkeys and rare birds so most visitors to the lodge spend their days on safari and the evenings circled around the campfire, swapping tales of the day’s incredible experiences. Tempted much?
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