The nature travel professionals at Natural Habitat Adventures have come up with a fresh way to explore America’s national parks and reserves. By choosing paths less traveled and incorporating deluxe catered camping, guests experience in solitude the wonder of the country’s most magnificent landscapes without compromising comfort.
Natural Habitat’s (http://www.nathab.com/) newest trip seeks to replicate a traditional African safari experience with large canvas tents, fine dining and a telescope for stargazing. The first offering in the Safari America series, Safari America: Under the Desert Sky, is a 9-day, 8-night adventure that combines moderate hiking with catered camping and classic lodge stays at four premier parks: Grand Canyon (the quieter North Rim that hosts just 10 percent of all visitors to the park), Bryce, Zion and rarely visited Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Departures begin and end in St. George, UT. 2016 dates are Aug.7-15 and Aug. 25- Sept. 2. The per-person double rate is $3,995; single supplement $1,095. Guests spend four nights in walk-in canvas tents with real beds (two twins or a queen) and down comforters, a private toilet for each tent, and hot showers. Home-cooked meals are served at a table set with linens and porcelain dinnerware, complemented with fine wines. Three nights are spent in classic western lodges.
Evoking the concept of a mobile African safari, camps are secluded on private lands adjacent to national parks. An open-sided lounge tent provides a gathering space, with comfortable chairs for relaxing. A high-powered telescope is situated for shared use after dark. Camps are set in areas known for near-perfect conditions for stargazing, with low humidity, isolation from ambient light and the darkest skies in the West. While accommodations are not luxurious, they offer full-service, classic tented camping at its finest.
Interspersed during the week between safari camp stays are three nights at exclusive western lodges. Guests enjoy two nights in rustic luxury at Zion Mountain Ranch, a private spread with its own bison herd, perched atop a plateau under wide-open skies. From individual cabins with private decks, guests watch buffalo and wild deer graze in meadows before retreating inside to the warmth of a wood-burning fireplace. The ranch restaurant prepares acclaimed farm-to-table meals featuring seasonal dishes sourced from local growers. Guests also spend a night at Bryce Canyon Lodge, the venerable 1920s hostelry recently restored to its original splendor and that remains the only lodging on the rim inside Bryce Canyon National Park.
Two naturalist Expedition Leaders share with a maximum of 14 guests per departure the highlights and hidden corners of the Colorado Plateau’s dramatic topography, a trip that includes the little-visited Grand Staircase-Escalante, a geological wonderland of broad mesas, narrow slot canyons, stacked sandstone and arid washes. While tenting in Escalante and on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, guests may gaze at the heavens with a high-powered telescope under a canopy of stars. While traveling throughout this region, each guest has a window seat in one of two comfort-designed vans.
The canyon country of the American West has long held a storied place in the annals of travel adventure. From John Wesley Powell’s Colorado River explorations to Mary Colter, who influenced Southwest architecture, to Teddy Roosevelt, who fell in love with the Wild West, intrepid pioneers and everyday explorers alike have pursued the allure of these rustic landscapes. This trip’s focus in tandem with Nat Hab partner World Wildlife Fund is a classic journey into America’s high deserts, forests and canyonlands, shunning crowds by staying in secluded areas where quiet and solitude reign, just as they did for the early explorers.
For details, please see http://www.nathab.com/us-national-parks-tours/southwest-national-parks-camping-tour/.
For information on all of Nat Hab’s trips, descriptive itineraries, date availability and reservations call 800.543.8917 or visit http://www.nathab.com/. Click HERE to order a copy of the 2016 catalog.