Breathtaking Destinations for Earth Day
Ahead of the 51st-annual Earth Day, I wanted to share some breathtaking destinations around the world that are the perfect place to channel the wonder of nature in celebration.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The iconic safari destination Serengeti National Park has attracted generations of travelers hoping for a glimpse of the diverse range of globally endangered species found in the reserve, including the black rhinoceros, elephant, wild dog, and cheetah. A pillar of the Serengeti ecosystem, every year hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra undertake an annual migration across nearly 5,000 miles of the greater Serengeti ecosystem towards the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve, following the rain in search of better grazing lands crossing the Grumeti and Mara Rivers.
Located on the annual wildebeest migration route, Singita Serengeti House offers guests a modern safari experience with private access to untouched wilderness in the western corridor of the Grumeti Reserve. Up to eight guests can feel at home at Serengeti House, an exclusive-use retreat perfect for families, with four suites connected through a central pool deck. With plenty of room to relax and both indoor and outdoor dining spaces, day beds, a private tennis court and a dedicated house team, guests can create memories that will last a lifetime. During a stay at Serengeti House, guests will delight in the wide range of activities available including private game drives and walking safaris provide a front row seat to migration, hot air balloon rides, star gazing, and mountain biking on Sasakwa Hill.
Niseko Village, Japan
On the island of Hokkaido at the foot of Mount Niseko Annupuri rests Niseko Village a prime winter and summer destination. During the winter, Niseko Village is a haven for ski lovers who appreciate secluded luxury and culture as it boasts extensive ski trails and lifts, hot springs, an amazing culinary scene, and its very own Snow School. In the summer, the landscape slowly bursts to life and Niseko Village resorts enjoy an 18-hole golf course with views of Mount Yotei and white birch trees providing a peaceful backdrop. For the avid hiker and biker, there are also miles of trails through the mountains.
Lying at the base of Mount Niseko Annupuri and acting as a gateway to the mountains is the brand-new Higashiyama Niseko Village, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve The resort offers majestic, panoramic views of Mount Yotei, 43 rooms and seven suites, two distinctive restaurants, the Ume Lounge, a fitness center, an exclusive team of Higashiyama Reservists, and a world-class spa and onsen. During their stay, travelers are encouraged to explore the local origins of the food on their plates, appreciate the power of solitude while on a mountain walk or ski run and enjoy the healing elements of Japan’s hot springs for an experience rooted in discovery and harmony.
Vallée de Mai, The Seychelles
Located on the granitic island of Praslin, the Vallée de Mai reserve is home to the world’s largest population of the Coco de Mer, the largest seed plant in the plant kingdom and an endemic species to the Seychelles once believed to grow in the depths of the sea. The island is accessible via bus from Praslin, the second most populous island in the Seychelles.
The Coco de Mer frequently wash up on the beautiful beaches of the Seychelles, including at Fregate Island Private — the noted nature conservation hide-away nearby. Avid naturalists will delight in the 3,500 giant Aldabra tortoises that roam the island and in the endemic population of the Seychelles Magpie Robin, found only on Fregate Island Private.
Nestled in the Alps at 5,900 feet is Arosa, a charming mountain town. With 140 miles of hiking, biking and ski trails, travelers feel like they are the only ones exploring the area for as far as the eye can see. No matter what time of year, Arosa offers travelers the chance to spend their days immersed in nature as they walk a mountain trail, ski through the Schanfigg Valley, take a boat out on Lake Obersee, or even paraglide over the Graubünden Mountains.
Perched on the Tschuggen Mountain just outside of town, the Tschuggen Grand Hotel is a contemporary fairy tale style venue. Complete with 130 rooms, the world class Tschuggen Bergoase Spa, four restaurants, and the private Tschuggen Express cable car providing direct access to the Alps, the property gives guests access to breathtaking mountain views and wonderful outdoor activities while still experiencing five-star luxury.
Northern Lights, Iceland
During the winter months at this contemporary home in Selfoss, Iceland, lucky members can catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights while taking in the breathtaking views of the Bufell Mountains. The luxurious home is conveniently located at the start of the Golden Circle route in that showcases the most extraordinary natural sites of Iceland, including the Pingvellir National Park, Geysir Geothermal Area, and Gullfoss waterfall.
With an open floor plan and five bedrooms, this home is a perfect place to spend time unwinding and relaxing after a day exploring the natural beauty of Iceland. The fully equipped kitchen opens up to an expansive dining area, wood burn fireplace and amazing views. The luxurious outdoor space includes an outdoor shower and a jacuzzi, perfect for spotting the the Northern Lights on a clear winter's night. Available for exchange for members of luxury travel and property club, THIRDHOME.
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Located 600 miles off the coast of Ecuador and home to only 30,000 people, the Galapagos Islands are a one-of-a-kind destination. With five of the 13 islands completely uninhabited by people, travelers to the Galapagos can experience the wildlife and nature without any other distractions. Quasar Expeditions, a leader in experiential travel throughout South America, offers amazing weeklong cruises throughout the Galapagos on their two small yachts, the M/Y Grace and M/V Evolution. During their trip, guests spend their days hiking, kayaking and snorkeling - getting up close and personal with the different wildlife on each island. Travelers return from their expedition more in-tune with their surroundings and appreciative of the beauty found in nature.
Spanning 41,000 square miles of fantastical mini climates, the Atacama is known for its moon-like valleys, vast salt flats, crystal-clear blue lagoons and cactus-strewn canyons. It is home to fuzzy llamas, elegant vicunas (a relative of the llama), lipstick-pink flamingos and the Andean fox. The Atacama Desert ranks among the driest regions on earth, fifty times more arid than California’s Death Valley, with some regions having never had any recorded rainfall. Located in the far north of Chile, it is a place of truly other-worldly landscape of towering volcanoes, flamingo frequented lagoons, salt-flats, geysers and shifting sand dunes. The Atacama has been used to test Mars-bound NASA rovers and, thanks to its utter lack of weather, high altitude and low-to-zero light pollution, it is a stargazing haven home to the world’s most advanced observatories. Despite its remote location and arid climate, the Atacama is still home to number of upmarket hotel properties like Tierra Atacama. Tierra Atacama in Chile is one of the best examples of sustainable hospitality. It is the first hotel in South America to produce solar-powered electricity with a hybrid system that meets the hotel’s daily energy demand. Thanks to the solar plant, Tierra Atacama avoids burning almost 100,000 liters of fossil fuel annually, reducing the carbon footprint significantly. A stay with Tierra Atacama and experiences in Atacama can be arranged with the new startup sustainable and responsible luxury travel company, Niarra Travel. Niarra Travel offers trips to destinations across the world while focusing on commerce, conservation, community and culture to build sustainable, prosperous societies and eco-systems by way of high-impact, proper travel experiences.
Bantry Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
Bantry Bay in Cape Town is perched on the rocks overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in one of the most exclusive bays on the Atlantic Seaboard. Crashing waves, magnificent sunsets and protection from the wind make Bantry Bay much sought after and a magnificent destination. It was originally called Botany Bay after a botanical garden that was planted here for the cultivation of medicinal herbs. The name was modified to Bantry Bay during the First World War. Secluded and protected, this Bantry Bay is known to be the most wind-free area in Cape Town and receives about 290 wind free days per year, a significant fact given Cape Town's windy climate. Ellerman House is an iconic hotel in Cape Town overlooking spectacular Bantry Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The elegant Ellerman House mansion is perched on the slopes of Lion’s Head in Bantry Bay, and its location provides amazing views from the ocean-facing mansion guest rooms and two separate villas. Guests staying at Ellerman House can enjoy the beautiful sunset admiring the view on either one of the three terraces while sipping on cocktails and enjoying canapés, all-inclusive. The bottom terrace overlooks the ocean and the garden at Ellerman House and is a favorite amongst guests who want to enjoy the last of the sun as it sets. Featuring one of South Africa’s most impressive private art collections, an award-winning wine list, and gourmet modern cuisine, Ellerman House is an entire destination in itself epitomizing the best Cape Town has to offer.
Cradle of Humankind, South Africa
Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa, also known as the Cradle of Humankind in Maropeng, South Africa is one of the most important geological wonders in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site made up of 15 sites that are steeped in riveting history of our earliest ancestors, the hominoids. Located about 30 miles northwest from Johannesburg, the Cradle of Humankind holds fascinating stories dating back to 2 million years ago about how our species came to be. Legend has it that here, evidenced by fossils of human’s distant mammal-like ancestors, Africa was the birthplace of humankind. Thus, all of humanity shares an African Heritage and are just one diverse species spread across the globe, with our roots in Africa. The Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa, a secluded retreat in Johannesburg’s affluent suburb of Sandhurst is just a 45 minute drive from The Cradle of Humankind helps with arranging visits for guests to the UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in the tranquil, tree-lined suburb of Sandhurst, within minutes of Johannesburg's world-class shopping and business hub, the Saxon Hotel is a private, all-luxury, 53-suite hotel with nature-infused spa, gourmet restaurants, and impressive art collection.