To Pitch it or Not To Pitch: 4 Can't-Miss Glamping Experiences
Camping gives off that aroma of closeness to nature -- falling asleep under the stars, seemingly outside, and roasting marshmallows on sticks. Although the idea of pitching a tent might be exciting for a moment or two (or even three), having a tent erected for you in complete and utter luxury is simply just more sensational.
Co-mingling a more upscale set of facilities and camping has given rise to "Glamping." Some say, like gay travel expert and writer David Duran, it makes complete sense that gay travel would lean towards this combination and level of travel. "Some (gay men) have higher standards and expectations for what defines comfort and convenience," says Duran. "Glamping provides the experience of being in nature but in a more fabulous setting -- heating up beans by a camp fire and sleeping on top of twigs and rocks just isn't for everyone."
With its roots in African safari, the environmentally conscious alternative to hotels has now spread across the continents with some of the most luxurious tent structures. Inviting campers to experience the finest of everything from services right down to fare these tents have taken luxury camping into a new realm. From India and Africa right back to America, here are EDGE's top picks for the ultimate luxury camping experience.
Aman-i-Khás - Rajasthan, India
On the border of Rajasthan's Ranthambore National Park is where the ever-beautiful Aman resort has neatly set down ten luxury tents in all their glory. The tents, in sturdy canvas and the finest cotton, are modeled after antiquated Moghul traveling tents and appear out of a magical fable drifting in pure wilderness.
Enter the enchanting privacy of the tents and it leads to a daybed -- perfect for avoiding the heat of the baking sun and contemplating life. Coming off from the lounging area are sections for sleeping, bathing and dressing, all in whites and appropriate natural tone fabrics. Wake up to a new day and catch a glimpse of a passing tiger amid grasslands and forests, all culminating in a primordial tone in one of the most enchanting places on earth.
Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp, India
To the west of Rajasthan, in the heart of the Indian wilderness and the Aravalli Hills, is where the Sujan Jawai Leopard Camp has set up home. With only eight tents and an accent on privacy, the camp spares nothing whilst maintaining its emphasis on conservation. The days of yore are distinct, with handsome herdsman and priests living closeby as their forefathers did. The tents are of simple design and incorporate all the services desired from a big city hotel -- with utter discretion for guests hankering for solace. Nights are spent under the stars enjoying simple Indian cuisine and the silence of the surrounding nature reserve.
Dunton River Camp, Colorado
Sited on the southwest flowing Dolores River in Colorado, this intimate river camp comprises of a select eight en-suite tents and accompanying 19th century restored farmhouse. The tents, each with gas stove and private porch, are just 20 feet from the river and have views across to the 14,000-foot Wilson Peak of the San Juan Mountains.
The simple tents, inspired by African style safari, are decorated in an elegant pared down country style combining cotton and traditional hand-woven Bolivian blankets. Activities (besides hearty feasts) are aplenty, ranging from fly fishing and horseback riding in the mountains to the latest offering at the camp: GPS-tracked hiking as the ultimate outdoor fancy.
Dunton Hot Springs
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia
With stark, almost lunar-like landscapes and iconic big African skies, the latest camp to open in this area is the tented Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp in a private concession between wild ocean and quiet desert. With a mere seven twin-bedded luxury tents and one family unit, the camp is revered for its privacy and ingress to nature. Accessible only by light aircraft the area is as remote as the Kaokoveld area possibly could be.
Flying over shipwrecks, rock formations and beaches, the discreet camp offers a reprieve from the world as it settles into the African wilderness. The area, known for living fossils and the shaggy hyenas, is ideal for exploring with dune boards and sand buggies. If time and finances permit, consider an epic 12-day safari across Namibia, beginning at Windhoek and culminating at Etosha National Park.
Editor's note: Use caution when traveling to destinations with anti-gay laws. Consult the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Association for a list of LGBT-friendly tour operators who can provide insight.