Desert camps are located in some of the world’s most striking landscapes. If you are going to spend your day exploring harsh environments, you’ll want somewhere comfortable to rest your head at night. That’s why we’ve gathered a set of luxury camps that will make exploring the desert an enchanting experience.
Jack’s Camp has a setting unlike any other – on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, surrounded by the Kalahari Desert. Its roots date back to the 1960’s when Jack Bousfield, a character in his own right and for whom the camp is named, came upon a place so incredible it captivated him for the rest of his life. Its ten classic tents are comfortable and elegant, with colonial furniture, Persian rugs, and cool cotton linens. The shaded swimming pool is a nice reprieve on hot days. Besides being a completely cool camp, the activities are just as exciting. Guests can interact with the famous Makgadikgadi meerkat family, meet indigenous San people who have lived in the area for centuries, and quad bike across the pans during the dry season.
The Atacama Desert is the driest desert on Earth and receives virtually no rainfall, but an oasis can be found in the form of eight cottages at Awasi Resort, not far from the real oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. The eight cottages are built of natural materials and tie into the town’s heritage of a traditional oasis, sheltering travelers seeking refuge from the dry desert. Each cottage has a private guide and driver to tailor excursions to your preferences. Explore the desert by vehicle, on horseback, mountain bike, or foot, then return in the evening to enjoy Andean cuisine and the vast desert night sky.
The Serai Desert Camp, Great Thar Desert, India
The Serai in India’s Great Thar Desert is the epitome of desert chic. Drawing their inspiration from the designs of the royal caravan sites of Rajputana, the 21 canvas tented suites of the Serai are set on a hundred-acre private estate. Each tent is climate controlled with a private veranda, while six luxury tented suites feature a private walled garden and plunge pool. The Royal Tented Suite even boasts its own private lounge and spa tents. Its location is the perfect place from which to explore the Jaisalmer Fort and Jain Temples, take a camel safari or desert drive in the dunes in specially modified jeeps, or enjoy sundowners and take in the starlit desert sky on the sand dunes.
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Palmwag Concession, Namibia
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp may be one of the most exclusive desert camps on our list. It’s located in the northern part of Namibia’s Palmwag Concession, surrounded by gravel plains, mountains, and large, yellow sand dunes, and is accessible only by light aircraft. You’ll enjoy truly unique experiences at Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Seek out rare desert adapted elephant, giraffe, lion, and Hartmann’s mountain zebra who somehow find a way to thrive in the stark environment. Explore the jagged wind-swept beaches, cape fur seal colonies, and shipwrecks along the coast in a full day flight excursion along the Skeleton Coast. In the evening you’ll return to eight chic tents with floor-to-ceiling windows, private shaded outdoor decks, and so well insulated you might forget you’re in the desert.
The landscape of Red Center is striking – incredible red rock formations in the harsh desert terrain. It’s home to Uluru, or Ayers Rock, the huge sandstone monolith in the heart of the desert, and Longitude 131°, a luxurious eco-friendly camp with just 15 tents that sits in its shadow. An impressive touring program is included with your stay, but optional tours like helicopter and scenic flights, camel rides, and hiking in the Valley of the Winds are also available. A real highlight at Longitude 131° is dining under the desert stars at Table 131° where an a la carte menu and wine pairing is accompanied by the ever-changing colors of Ayers Rock at sunset.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara, Liwa Desert, United Arab Emirates
Rub’ al Khali, or the Empty Quarter, stands just as it was a century ago. Orange sand, timeless dunes, and a nomadic Bedouin culture alive and well in the largest uninterrupted sand desert in the world. You’ll find a haven of rejuvenation at Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort by Anantara where the Bedouin culture and contemporary elegance are blended to create a captivating, modern environment. There’s almost a limitless list of activities to enjoy at the resort like spas treatments at the Anantara Spa, tennis courts, archery, falconry, a free-form swimming pool, and a multi-room Kid’s Club for young children and teens. You can also venture away from the resort and enjoy a camel-back safari among the dunes with local guides, hiking, mountain biking, and dune bashing in off-road desert vehicles.
Explore the striking deserts and stay in some of the world’s best camps with Ker & Downey. For more information, contact your Travel Professional or visit us online. To stay up to date on all of our online content, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.