And it is. Ours.
With a touch of immodesty we don’t mind pointing out that our opinion is pretty informed after years of creating luxury safaris and India journeys. During that time we’ve seen lots of lodgings, attractions and experiences come and go… sometimes with sadness, sometimes not.
Ultra-Hot Right Now
Ol Jogi. Photo: Durston Saylor
Ol Jogi Ranch. Laikipia, Kenya
Why It’s Hot: You can have the 58,000 acres of wildlife conservancy all to yourself, too, amid 300 or so rangers protecting myriad endangered species from 65 rhinos to 5,000 reticulated giraffe and 15% of the world’s remaining Grevy’s zebra population.
The Silo, Cape Town. Photo: The Silo
The Silo. Cape Town, South Africa
Why It’s Hot: A brilliant amalgam of old and new, the Silo is a re-imagining of a complex of old grain elevators –creatively refashioned by the famous London-based Heatherwick Studio — with enviable views of buzzing Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.
Helicopter Safari. Photo: Sasha Pinto
Why It’s Hot: Adrenaline-rush that you can’t quite get any other way, whether buzzing fantastical flocks of flaming pink flamingos at Kenya’s Lake Bogoria, delving into South Africa’s Blyde River Canyon, or doing a fly-by of Mt. Everest.
Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur. Photo: Alila Fort Bishangarh
Alila Fort Bishangarh, Jaipur
Why It’s Hot: A luxe hotel perched atop a granite hill is unique as is the surrounding active village, which is virtually untouched by tourism.
Narendra Bhawan, Rajasthan. Photo: Narendra Bhawan.
Narendra Bhawan. Bikaner, Rajasthan.
Why It’s Hot: Luxe but casual, palatial but quirky, flamboyant yet tasteful, the hotel defies description at every turn and is making an indelible impression on its guests.
About to Be Super-Hot
Shipwreck Lodge, Namibia. Photo: Shipwreck Lodge
Shipwreck Lodge. Skeleton Coast, Namibia
Why It’s Hot: There’s plenty of the remote and unusual to go around in the African wilderness but nothing quite like this set-up, from where you can spy lions, elephants, baboons, and other creatures that call the Skeleton Coast home.
Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Rwanda. Photo: Singita Kwitonda Lodge
Singita Kwitonda Lodge, Rwanda
Why It’s Hot: Rwanda and the park have long been popular for gorilla tracking but have been rather short on places to stay. Singita joins the fray with an eight-suite and one villa property with easy access to the silver back gorillas and otherworldly views of the surrounding volcanoes.
Okavango Delta. Photo: Duncan Willetts
Hot air ballooning, Botswana
Why It’s Hot: Witnessing the action on Botswana’s storied floodplains has long been possible by helicopter, but hot-air ballooning is a relatively new way to safari these parts and the serenity and quiet of a balloon gondola lends itself perfectly to the calm of the Delta.
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, India. Photo: Taj Exotica Resort & Spa.
Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Andaman Islands, India
Why It’s Hot: Not just another barefoot chic hideaway, you can expect butler service and modern amenities, way above-average dining and holistic spa treatments among paradisaical reefs and mangroves.
Among the ruins in Hampi. Photo: Ardeep Asrani
The Ultimate Travelling Camp, Hampi
Why It’s Hot: Like most responsible camping entities The Ultimate Traveling Camp (TUTC) has a policy of leaving no carbon footprints. And Hampi is no garden-variety campsite. It was the capital of the 14th Century Vijayanagar Empire and present day is home to miles and miles of ruins of the South India’s last great Hindu Kingdom.
Hot and Unusual
Jabala Ridge Lodge, Ruaha. Photo: Jabali Ridge.
Jabala Ridge Lodge, Ruaha
Why It’s Hot: Come on, look at these things. Not just a magnet for romantics, but a highly-practical perch from which to spy elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo and other denizens that track along the Mwagusi River.
Nay Palad Bird Nest. Photo: Jimmy Nelson.
Nay Palad Bird Nest, Kenya
Why It’s Hot: Imagine just before sunset being led up a lantern-lit tower and reaching a very large open-air nest with luxe linen-covered beds replete with hot-water bottles. A real rarity and something even the most jaded customer will consider worthy of putting on Instagram.
The Highlands Ngorongoro, Tanzania. Photo: The Highlands Ngorongoro.
The Highlands Ngorongoro, Tanzania
Why It’s Hot: Oh-so-so-beautiful contemporary tent interiors that couldn’t have better views of the beguiling Ngorongoro Conservation Area, where elephant, buffalo and leopard roam and where you too can ply Maasai trails to see this coveted corner of East Africa.
The Rainforest Eco Lodge, Sri Lanka. Photo: Rainforest Eco Lodge.
The Rainforest Eco Lodge, Sinharaja Rain Forest, Sri Lanka
Why It’s Hot: The lodge has been around for a while but its approach never gets old. The chalets, fashioned from recycled shipping containers and perched on stilts, are tastefully and pleasantly done in bamboo and you’ll feel like a bit like you’re on a private scientific expedition in the Sinharaja portion of this estate, which is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Fossil Hunting with the Leakeys. Photo: Duncan Willetts
Fossil Hunting with the Leakeys
Why It’s Hot: How many people have the chance to live the life of a modern-day Indiana Jones in the most exciting setting possible?
Extreme 19th Hole, Legend Golf & Safari Resort. Photo: Legend Hospitality Group
Golfing the Extreme 19th Hole, South Africa
Why It’s Hot: The most gonzo of all gonzo experiences for golf aficionados has undeniable bragging rights attached to it, even if you don’t make the shot (which you likely won’t). But oh, the scenery.
And remember…. if any or all of these experiences pack appeal, we can make it happen. Contact us whatever way you’d like; so we can get cracking on your Hot List Adventure!
Donna Salerno Travel; Info@DonnaSalernoTravel.com or 888.777.7820
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