When was the last time you felt truly free from the constant buzz of an email, text or call? Prepare to log off and indulge back in a time when conversation and old-fashioned fun remained uninterrupted by the goings-on of others. We’ve put together some of our favourite remote boltholes for a sense of total escapism, from the majestic desert landscapes of Jordan to the soothing rhythm of the turquoise shores of Petit St Vincent.
One of the most remote camps in southern Africa, Serra Cafema is the ideal bolthole for turning those smartphones off and getting stuck into a desert hideaway. Visiting Serra Cafema is a voyage from start to finish, accessible only by air with a flight above the hypnotic desert landscape. Situated on the shaded shores of the Kunene River, the camp boasts 8 rustic-chic tented chalets with both indoor and outdoor en-suite bathrooms, topped off with a hammock on your private decking area - the perfect place for sun downers against the backdrop of the Serra Cafema hills. Spend your days cruising the dusty red dunes by quad bike or by foot, and keep your eyes peeled for the endangered black rhino and desert adapted wildlife, endemic to Namibia. Our favourite way to explore is by hot air balloon - watching the landscapes change as you fly through the air gives you a totally different perspective on safari adventure.
Camping in the Arabian Desert is the perfect place for clearing the senses. Settled at the foothills of the legendary Wadi Rum are nine luxuriuous canvas tents sat on the silent sands, complementing the mountainous backdrop. The tents are kitted out in a traditional nomadic style true to the Bedouin people, using earthy tones, wooden floors, copper-wash basins and crisp white linens for a real sense of desert luxury. There’s plenty of options for exploring the vast desert landscapes – by foot, camel or 4×4 - but our favourite way to explore the rugged landscape (and to get a serious adrenaline rush) is by quad bike. Descend the dunes in time for a sunset desert barbeque and marvel at the night sky beneath the thick blanket of stars.
The only ‘searching’ going on around this camp is from the thirsty animals seeking refreshment from the surrounding ox-bow lagoons of the exclusive, intimate Chamilandu Bush Camp. Nestled on the banks of the Luangwa river are three exquisite treehouse chalets; beautifully fitted outdoor bathrooms overlook the tranquil river waters, with a magical night-time charm with hundreds of lanterns creating a seriously tranquil ambiance. Game drives are a a thrilling way to spot the big five, but we love the walking safaris – guided walks leading to adventure are a great way to explore the remarkable range of surrounding habitats.
Tanzania is the ultimate safari destination, with the annual migration of wildebeest and zebra covering the African plains of the Serengeti a sight you won’t want to miss out on, topped off with a stay at the secluded 6 tented suites at the Serengeti Safari Camp. The camp is so passionate about offering the best possible experience for it’s guests that it packs itself up every two weeks and moves with the natural flow of the migration. Your days here are for tracking the great herds as they spread out in their thousands across the plains, returning to the beautiful candlelit verandah in the evenings – the perfect places to drift off from reality.
Disconnect from the virtual world and embrace Bhutan’s enchanting history and culture. This hilltop retreat is traditional to the Himalayan Bhutanese style, incorporating cutting-edge lines running throughout the gorgeous rooms and villas. Hand-stitched Indian patterns have been used on the soft furnishings nodding to Bhutan’s Buddhist culture, with private spa facilities in every villa - perfect for indulging in one of Uma Paro’s signature treatments. Wait till you see the panoramic views of the pine clad mountains, where you can literally breathe in the local culture, and spend your time trekking the beautiful landscapes of the sacred mountains as you pass monks, prayer flags and monasteries, topped off with some outdoor yoga, or white-water rafting and archery for those more intrepid souls.
Petit St Vincent is an exclusive, private island fantasy far away from the bustle of the daily grind. As soon as your feet touch the sandy shores, you are instantly taken by the exclusivity and castaway chic vibe, and with no phones, wifi or television this is the perfect place to truly unwind. Communication with guests is made by the islands’ own signature way – red and yellow flags are raised indicating a need for transport, room service and special requests. Hand-written notes are left in bamboo letter boxes with requests for anything from lobster to Chablis to be delivered to your secluded cottage and the simple yet elegantly constructed drift wood restaurant is the perfect spot to dine and watch the sun go down in pure desert island bliss.
Tom Marchant is Co-founder of Black Tomato.