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3 unusual experiences

In Botswana, attend the elephant bath

The Linyanti Game Reserve, a protected area in the north of Botswana at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley, is renowned for its rich wildlife. To best observe the local stars, the elephants, you just have to go and meet them by walking on the paths… or wait for them on a terrace near the water. They arrive in whole herds to refresh themselves in the Osprey Lagoon, one of the major stages of their migration.

Where to sleep? At DumaTau, a luxury camp run by Wilderness Safaris, an eco-friendly safari organizer. Recently rebuilt without concrete and with recycled elements, it has eight suites, including a family suite, and an extension with four other suites. The building, the decoration, the food: everything is local!

In Sweden, fishing on the high seas and sleeping in a lighthouse

In summer, the weather conditions are ideal to reach the tiny granite island of Hamneskär, north of Gothenburg, on board a semi-rigid boat or a helicopter. Recently, a couple of enthusiasts have animated the place, proposing different activities: deep-sea fishing (lobster in October), cooking classes (especially with seaweed), sailing, kayaking, meditation, yoga… and of course, the ascent in the 35m-high lighthouse, offering incredible and flamboyant views at sunset.

Where to sleep? At the Pater Noster, a mini-hotel with 9 comfortable double rooms in the lighthouse and the adjoining cottages. Possibility of sleeping under the stars on the rocks.

In South Africa, stay on a vintage train

More than twenty years ago, Adrian Gardiner, founder and chairman of the Mantis hotel group, bought a Founders Railway Carriage, which was put on track in the 1970s, to travel with his family throughout South Africa. He has just restored it into a first-class car and placed it in the heart of one of his lodges, 72 km from Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth), to welcome guests (maximum 5) who, like him, are fascinated by the railway world and nostalgic for the trains of yesteryear.

Where to sleep? In the wagon equipped with three cabins, installed at the Mantis Founders Lodge, while enjoying the facilities (restaurant, swimming pools…) and activities of the lodge (safaris, bird watching…).

Céline Baussay