The planet’s most spectacularly fecund greenbelt jungles, are home to an extraordinary wealth of flora that supports some of the most eye-popping fauna of every shape, shade and size imaginable. Take your pick of a variety of jungle holidays, from driving through the undulating wilds of India in search of tigers and sloth bears; taking to the great snaking rivers of Borneo to spy orangutans, proboscis monkeys and crocodiles; heading into the jungles of the Amazon on the lookout for jaguars, macaws, monkeys and river dolphins; to saddling up to ride on horseback through the volcanic landscape of Costa Rica; picking your way through the orchid-dotted jungles of Madagascar whilst keeping your eyes peeled for lemurs; and trekking into the mountains of Africa on the trail of gorillas.
After the heart-pounding sensation of being in close proximity to spectacular wildlife, what better way to relax and reflect on your latest encounters than at a polished-to-perfection lodge. Stay deep within the jungle in an eco-lodge perched over the river’s edge, or perhaps wrapped in the white-washed elegance of an imperial hotel. As an exquisite meal settles into your stomach and you gaze at the setting sun, be sure to sip a cocktail on the veranda to put the seal on another unforgettable day in the jungle.
Who wants to go to the jungle for a holiday? These days, the jungles and rainforests of the globe offer some of the best wildlife and natural world experiences on the planet. Throughout the text below, we bring you some of our favourites, from staying overnight in a Survival Camp with your family in the forests of Borneo, to tracking the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda.
Unfortunately, with so many threats to Borneo’s rainforests in this day and age, the vast forests of this tropical island are rapidly diminishing. There are, however, still some great places to visit to see some of the worlds most endangered wildlife on this beautiful tropical island.
Danum Valley - Probably one of the most sought after locations in Borneo being part of the Danum Valley Conservation Area With canopy walkways, forest tracks, running rivers and the beautiful comfort of Borneo Rainforest Lodge, this is one not to be missed (but book early as it is in high demand!). Danum offers a variety of resident wildlife including the ever elusive Asian elephants (often seen on night drives), a healthy population of wild orangutans, howling gibbons through the morning forest mists and a fair few leeches to!
Tabin Wildlife Reserve - Often overlooked for its more popular cousin Danum, Tabin is still a great jungle destination. A popular home for elephants as well as orangutans (not such high densities as Danum), Tabin offers more of a wilderness experience with a variety of nature trails that get you off the beaten track. Tabin Wildlife Resort is the best place to stay with forest bungalows overlooking the river below.
Kinabatangan River - One of the best places in Borneo to see orangutans in the wild Whilst this is not a traditional rainforest as such (due to huge logging having taken place), most of your safaris take place in boats along the river. Along the way, you can hope to see macaques, proboscis monkeys, orangutans, elephants, crocodiles and a variety of tropical birdlife. At Natural World Safaris we always endeavour to put you in the right place at the right time in order to maximise your wildlife experience; to this extent we recommend the picturesque Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge, which offers not high-end luxury but charm, sustainability and full immersion in the glorious natural surroundings.
Often referred to as “The Red Island” due to the deforestation that has taken place over the years and the red laterite soils being washed out into the surroundings oceans, Madagascar is still fortunate enough to have some pristine tracts of rainforest left intact.
Andasibe Reserve - If you want to see the largest living lemurs left in the wild, then this is the place to come. Expect to put the effort in in Madagascar, as all of the exploration is done on foot as opposed to by 4x4 as you would expect in traditional African safari destinations. Andasibe is home to the teddy bear like indris who will wake you in the morning with their early calls drifting through the mist shrouded rainforest. With a few choices on the accommodation front, Vakona Lodge is probably the best (with its own lemur island – prepare to be jumped upon!) closely followed by Andasibe Hotel.
Ranomafana National Park - Home to the cyanide eating bamboo lemur, this is a rainforest hotspot for Madagascar. Setam Lodge is the best option in Ranomafana closely followed by Centrest; neither are of a 5 star status however they provide great access to the park and all it has to offer. We also offer an exclusive visit from Ranomafana to visit the Kianjavato Lemur Project (no other operators have access to this project), where you can expect to visit the tree planting project, the local school and also one of the most elusive creatures in Madagascar, the bizarre looking aye-aye.
Forming part of the Congo Basin, both Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Forest of Uganda, are home to some of the last remaining mountain gorillas of the world inhabiting dense tropical rainforest. The Congo basin itself conjures up images of vast dense jungle, wild rivers and undiscovered tribes and to an extent this still remains true today.
Bwindi Forest - The last stronghold of the mountain gorillas of Uganda, Bwindi also offers stunning nature walks, visits with pygmy tribes and hidden waterfalls. If you want jungle canopy views and the space to wander under your own steam then Bwindi Lodge is the one for you.
A highlight of any stay includes tracking the breath-taking mountain gorillas, however also spare some time to take in the other attractions including tracking the golden monkeys, a visit to the grave of Dian Fossey and the gorillas with which she worked, the local cultural village and for a small conservation fee, even a visit with the Gorilla Doctors who work with the gorillas on a daily basis.Volcanoes National Park - The section of the park that falls on the Rwandan side of the border (rather than the side of the Democratic Republic of Congo) is also home to one of the largest remaining populations of endangered mountain gorillas. With five volcanic peaks stretching off into the distance, volcanic lakes, and thick jungle, this is the heart of Africa. The park itself (on the Congolese) side forms the oldest National Park in Africa (Albert National Park), having been established in 1925 and then later being extended to encompass the Rwandan side and the Belgian Congo.
Not only is the wildlife incredible here, there are also loads of wonderfully exciting activities that will help you explore the best bits of this fascinating country, from canopy walkways and jungle trekking to white-water rafting and zip-lining.
Manuel Antonio National Park - In the 'Green Zone' of this coastal national park, you could come face to face with endangered squirrel monkeys, spider monkeys, howler monkeys and the white-faced monkey, as well as sloths, iguanas and more. Called the green zone for a reason, this vibrant area provides you with typical jungle vistas, untouched beaches and chattering wildlife. A little further south, a stretch of wild beach leads onto Ballena Marine National Park, excellent for sightings of whales, dolphins and turtles.
Monteverde Cloud Forest and Santa Elena Cloud Forest - Often characterised by the veil of clouds lingering in the treetops, these cloud forests provide a unique jungle experience. Home to over 100 mammal species, 400 bird species and 1,200 reptile and amphibian species, these two forests play home to similar wildlife species, including Latin America's most famous cats: jaguars, ocelots, pumas, oncillas, jaguarundis and margays. You will also find the resplendent quetzal, the symbol of Costa Rica Unlike Monteverde, in Santa Elena you might even come across the spider monkey. Activities include aerial trams, hanging bridges, butterfly farms and birdwatching expeditions, as well as zip-line tours and insect museums.
One of the flagship endangered species of global wildlife, the Royal Bengal tiger still patrols the forests of the Indian subcontinent. With its habitat quickly disappearing, it is more essential than ever to visit the terrain of the tigers in show of support of their never-ending battle.
Kanha, Ranthambhore and Bandhavgarh National Parks - All home to the tiger, these jungle parks are now tracts of what were once vast expanses of forests. Efforts are continually made to regain the corridors of land that join these individual strongholds, however none have yet been entirely successful. Kanha is probably our favourite national park covering a much wider area and therefore offering a much more wilderness feel. Ranthambore and Bandhavgarh, whilst smaller parks, do also offer quality tiger viewing and are essential in the continuing effort to conserve wild tiger populations. These three national parks form the best places to see tigers in the wild
Who wants to go to the jungle for a holiday? No longer are you in for a sweaty, mosquito ridden experience with basic lodging; these days the jungles and rainforests of the globe offer some of the best wildlife and natural world experiences left on the planet. Throughout the text below, we bring you some of our favourites, from staying overnight in a Survival Camp with your family in the forests of Borneo, to tracking the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda.
A funky design and something completely unique when it comes to tracking tigers in India! The Treehouse Hideaway main camp is designed round a big old tree which is home to both the dining area and also the bar which affords a great view into the forest. Individual rooms are housed in their own tree with a variety of trunks and branches affording you the ultimate wilderness experience! Treehouse Hideaway is the smaller, unique sister of Kings Lodge and provides access to the lovely Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve.
Built in perfect harmony with it's surroundings, Cristalino was named one of the world's best eco-lodges by National Geographic Traveller, and with its emphasis on sustainable practices and idyllic location on the Cristalino River, it's not hard to see why. Set in a 30,000-acre private reserve, there are sumptuous facilities on offer here as well as plenty of Amazonian activities, from rainforest walks and specialist butterfly tours to canoe trips and canopy viewing from the two observation towers.
In the midst of the tropical Caribbean jungle, home to singing birds and colourful wildlife, Pacuare Lodge has to be a firm favourite. Bungalows are luxurious and private, ranging in size and shape to suit any discerning traveller, some even have a private pool, and the cuisine is second to none. When it comes to activities you can be as wild as you like, with everything from candlelit romantic dinners and hiking, to horseback riding, canyoning and rafting.
In high demand, Borneo Rainforest Lodge is one of the most comfortable properties for jungle based activities in Borneo. With board walk rooms running alongside the river and views into the surrounding jungle, Borneo Rainforest Lodge offers the perfect location for wildlife viewing. With one of the highest populations of wild orangutans, pygmy elephants, gibbons and more, Borneo Rainforest Lodge is a highlight of any Borneo wildlife safari and combines perfectly with the other wildlife rich regions of the Kinabatangan River and Myne.
A truly remote jungle lodge located in the foothills of the Mahale Mountains and on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Greystoke Camp offers complete niche luxury with tented rooms overlooking the private beach and access into the immediate forest behind. Greystoke Camp is also the best lodging available if tracking the cheeky chimpanzees of Mahale National Park. Mahale affords some of the best chimpanzee tracking in the world with habituated groups making for ideal photographic opportunities. Whilst the chimpanzee tracking can be strenuous, afternoons are more relaxed with beach walks, dhow cruising, fishing…and of course the unmissable sundowner.
Located in Bwindi Forest in Uganda, the principal advantage Bwindi Lodge has over its competitors is its location. The majority of land surrounding the property has been purchased in order that the lodge itself blends into the natural environment. With direct views into the jungle canopy, you get a true sense for the dense African jungle and if you are lucky you even on occasions get the gorillas visiting you within the grounds! Tropical jungle lodging with one of the best wildlife experiences possible…pretty unbeatable.
Little known, Masoala Forest Lodge is set on the remote Masoala Peninsular in the north east of Madagascar. A tented camp with a fairly basic structure, Masoala Forest Lodge affords clients that truly unique wilderness experience away from the madding crowds and typical tourist traps (not that there are many of these in Madagascar!). Aside from laying back in your hammock, Masoala offers you unique jungle walks, lemur spotting, coastal kayaking and even at the right time of the year, whale watching!
Not really a jungle lodge as such, but offering access to some of the best jungle wildlife viewing in the world, that of the gorillas and the Volcanoes National Park. Virunga Lodge is located at 2,300m with 360 degree views of Lakes Ruhondo and Bulera and the chain of the dramatic Virunga Volcanic peaks disappearing off into the distance. Whilst not brass taps and butler service, the eco-principles of Virunga Lodge are a highlight and it is almost impossible not to be amazed at the stunning surroundings. The only down side is that it is a longer drive to the park headquarters than other properties, however, we personally like this as you get to soak up some of the everyday life of Rwanda as you make your way through the local villages to the park.