Back in the 70s when package holidays were the latest and trendiest ways to spend your holiday, people began to dismiss camping holiday as being a little bit dull and lacking in imagination. However, today, the world’s campsites are becoming more and more unusual and can offer some really special experiences, which has prompted LOOK to research some of the world's most unusual campsites!
Combine camping and rafting
In Belgium and Holland, there are a couple of places where you can stay in 129sq foot tents on rafts. They’re constructed with solid tree trunks and floating barrels so you can dangle your toes in the water as you sit afloat your camping raft. This is a great choice for people who like to be at one with nature and about as close to water as you can get.
Rafts can be booked in Limburg, Belgium and on the De Hollandse Ijssel in Holland. For meals, when you don’t fancy cooking on the camp stove you’re provided with, there’s an on-site restaurant which overlooks the marina. Bring your own sleeping bags, but all other equipment is provided, including a canoe so you can mooch along the river.
Stay on a hotel rooftop
In Cape Town, South Africa, you can stay in one of seven Airstream Trailers on the top of a hotel rooftop at the Airstream Rooftop Trailer Park. Each trailer has its own theme and these include the Dorothy Trailer, where the interior is covered in polka dots and the Goldilocks Trailer, where there are cosy armchairs, cups and saucers and a bear suit (for those who really want to get into character). Local artists have designed the interior of each of the seven trailers.
There’s a similar set-up in New York, where guests at the Affinia Gardens hotel in Manhattan can opt to spend a night in a tent on the hotel terrace. Torches and a smores-making kit are included in the price.
Book your own island in Queensland
This is glamping for people with deep pockets. The tiny Wilson Island in Queensland, Australia, has two six person tents and the island must be hired in its entirety. A two night stay will set the bill payer back around $10,000. But you’ll get private hammocks for each guest, raised timber floors and a daily housekeeping service included in the cost. Temporary island residents will have to stock up on supplies before arrival at Wilson Island as the nearest island is over half an hour away.
Stay in a star box
If you enjoy looking at the night sky, book yourself in a for a few nights in a star box (it sounds more romantic in French - uncarréd’étoiles). The star box has a transparent roof and comes equipped with a ‘sky observation kit’. This includes a stellar chart, a telescope and games themed around the stars. A family of four will fit comfortably in one of the boxes and the best view of the starry night sky has to be from the double cabin bed which is at the top of the box under a transparent roof. There are star boxes located throughout France, so take your pick.
The lion sleeps tonight
You don’t need to go to Africa to hear lions roar while you’re sleeping under canvas. You can experience that at Livingstone Lodge at the Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, UK. There are ten safari-style tents to stay in at the Lodge, and each has a good view of the watering hole where you’re likely to see zebra, giraffes and rhino.Being on safari doesn’t mean you have to compromise on comfort though – two of the tents have four-poster beds.
Stay in a treehouse
There are lots of treehouse campsites around the world, but you can find many in France. Lots of them are located on campsites that are family-friendly and so there are lots of facilities down on the ground you can use too, including a pool and kids’ club. You have to have a head for heights to stay in some of the treehouses as they can be more than 22ft off the ground, and require you to climb stairs and rope walkways to reach them. There are tree house hotels all over the world. Check out this map showing some of the best.
These are just some of the amazing camping experiences you can find around the world today – somehow it makes a week in a hotel with a package deal all sound a little too tame!