Staying in a Rorbu cabin at Rorbuhotell, Lofoten Islands

Staying in a Rorbu cabin at Rorbuhotell, Lofoten Islands

Last summer I visited Norway with my family. Our 10 day trip through Lofoten and Northern Norway was incredible and we got to sleep in Rorbu cabins along the way.

Rorbu is the Norwegian word for fishermen cabins. These cabins are built on land with poles in the water to create decks and easy access to fishing boats. They are traditionally painted red and some have been restored and are rented for visitors. This is the case of Rorbuhotell in Lofoten Islands. They have hotel rooms as well as rorbu cabins. The hotel can also be found under “A Taste of Lofoten” on Google search.

Visit from Rorbuhotell

Quick facts:

  • Good for: families, groups of friends, couples
  • Starting from: Rorbu cabin for 2 pax from 1390 NOK/night (126.83€)
  • Location: Sørvågen, Norway

The area

The Lofoten archipelago is one of the most breath taking alpine sceneries to travel to. Narrow roads and bridges connect the islands and form a very singular landscape. Lofoten has been a fishermen area for centuries and very famous for visitors, especially during summer months.

Views from Rorbuhotell A taste of lofoten

How to get there

Lofoten Islands are in Northern Norway. The best way to arrive is by plane, there are three airports and flights from Oslo throughout the day. The two airports closest to Sørvågen are:

  • Leknes Airport (LKN): this one is located in the middle of the archipelago and closest to Rorbuhotell. One of the smallest airports where I’ve been.
  • Svolvaer Airport (SVJ) is more well known than Leknes airport and located a little bit higher up

About the hotel

Rorbuhotell is located on the right hand side of a little narrow bay in Sørvågen. They have 10 double rooms in the hotel itself as well as a delicatessen restaurant. The restaurant lines are very elegant and contemporary and there’s an outside terrace overlooking the bay that has amazing views from a little higher up.

Restaurant at Rorbuhotell

The rorbu cabin at Rorbuhotell

We stayed in one of their 6 pax Rorbu Cabins. We had the entrance that was farthest away from the hotel reception but there is a parking spot right by our main door.

The cabin had a very spacious living area and kitchen with and L shape coach and TV, two living chairs, a table for 6 and kitchen with all utensils needed for cooking. From the living area there were doors onto the balcony, overlooking the bay. Watching sunrise from there was pretty spectacular, how slowly the colours shine onto the red rorbu in front of yours.

Rorbu cabin at Rorbuhotell

There is a full bathroom and a toilet room too. The cabin has two bedrooms, one with two twin beds and one with a double bed. Might be a Norwegian thing but all bedding is provided individually, so even if you are on a double room you will have two duvets. Then we had the third “room” going up a steep wooden staircase. The last area had a double bed too, but no door – open to the hall area.

Rorbu cabin at Rorbuhotell

What’s to love

Rorbuhotell has a little bit for everyone. If you are looking for design and comfort head for their hotel rooms. Assuming you are after views and fine food the restaurant and bar area are the place to be. If you are looking to sleep in a cute red rorbu then Rorbu’s are your go-to accommodation.

The views from the balcony or the restaurant terrace are stunning and definitely a good place to relax after a full day of exploring the Lofoten Islands.

Restaurant at Rorbuhotell

What can be improved

Following a typical Scandinavian fashion, the rooms were very bare, with the bed and bedside tables as the only decoration.

Adding some wall paintings or décor of some sorts could improve the warmness of the bedrooms.

Rorbu cabin at Rorbuhotell

Have you ever stayed at a Rorbu cabin in Norway? Is it on your list of Sweet Dreams accommodation to go to?

Sleeping in Rorbuhotell, Lofoten islands
Carros de Foc: everything you need to know

Carros de Foc: everything you need to know

Looking for a breath-taking hike? Carros de Foc is one of the most stunning multi-day hikes in Europe. The route is located in the national park of Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici, in the Catalan Pyrenees, only a 3 hour drive from Barcelona.

I convinced my brother and a friend of his to do this hike with me and at by end we couldn’t have been more stoked about the incredible experience.

Want to find all the information relating to the route? In this detailed guide you will! Based off personal experience I’ll give you all the information you need to plan this multi day hike of Carros de Foc successfully with recommendations.

Carros de Foc: everything you need to know

Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

Quick Facts

Carros de Foc is a loop route of 56 km and 9200m of accumulated climb. This route is one of the most well known and popular among hikers in Catalunya.

  • Accumulated climb: 9200 m
  • Distance: 55km
  • Days needed for the route: you can do it in 24h (more on this below) but recommended 4-7 days
  • Season: June to October is the best season and when all the mountain huts are open to the public
  • Technical difficulty: medium, not challenging
  • Fitness difficulty: you need to be fit and also used to high altitude hikes
Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

Carros de Foc: what is it?

During summer of 1987 the rangers of the park who lived in the mountain huts decided to do the whole loop in less than 24h. In 1999 it was made official as a multi day hike and was given the name Carros de Foc (literally chariots of fire).

Carros de Foc has 9 mountain huts across different peaks and valleys. You can start the hike from different entry points into the National Park and choose your route based on preference and availability. Although there are 9 huts the most common duration of this multi day hike is 5 to 7 days. As it is a loop route, you can finish at the same place you started.

Carros de Foc map - Mountain huts, elevation gain and hiking times

You can pick which direction to hike, it is recommended to do it anti clockwise, as the most challenging point in the route, Coll de Contraix, done clockwise has a +1000m climb in one day.

One of the main incentives for the hike is the changes in scenery. Landscapes change dramatically from valley to valley, giving you drastically different views every day. From quarries and stone paths to river meadows, pines forests or snowy peaks, this route will please your eyes.

What’s the best time of the year for the hike

Carros de Foc is a high altitude multi day hike, taking place between 1880m and 2910m. The weather is hence that of high altitude, with summer months being the only months where the hike can be done without extreme winter gear, as snow capped mountains are there for most of the year.

The mountain huts are open from June until mid October, with each of them varying their opening dates slightly. The better month’s weather related are June, July and August, with September and October raising the chances of storms and snow.

Each mountain hut has a weather prediction station and will always update the weather forecast on a board for its guests. If you have doubts about the weather expected for the next day, talk with the guards about your plan.

During the rest of the year, most mountain huts remain closed or with an emergency room (which has bunk beds and nothing more). For Christmas and Easter week bookings can be made at some of the huts.

How many days do you need for Carros de Foc? Is a reservation required?

The route is circular and you can pick if you overnight in every hut. You can make it shorter by only sleeping in some of them.

Please note some mountain huts are as close as 1h15 from each other. We did it in 4 nights and 5 days, skipping one leg of the journey as we didn’t have more time.

Reservation is required as good summer weather and European holiday season are the same. You can book through Refus Online if you only want to overnight. If you want the forfeit (a passport you can stamp at each hut) then through Carros de foc .

Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

What to bring in my backpack?

During the multi day hike you must carry a backpack with all your belongings. You will be doing an accumulated slope of 9200m. For that reason, having a light backpack with only the necessary items is a must! Here’s what you need to pack for Carros de Foc

  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 1 pair of long mountain pants (rainproof)
  • 3 pairs of socks
  • 3 pairs of underwear
  • Hiking boots (ideally with ankle protection)
  • Flip flops*
  • 1 thermal long sleeved shirt
  • 2 t-shirt’s
  • 1 fleece
  • Buff
  • 1 rain and wind jacket
  • Water bottle
  • Small soap bar for showering and hand washing clothes
  • Toothbrush & small tube of toothpaste
  • Lightweight sleeping bag
  • Map / Sunglasses / Phone / Camera / Sunscreen /sports towel / thermal blanket (space blanket)
  • Emergency kit with band-aids, reflex, ibuprofen, bandages..

* Pre covid most mountain huts offered crocks or simple shoes, you cannot enter the hut with your boots. In 2020 you had to bring your own flip flops or similar.

Do I need to bring food to Carros de foc?

Every mountain hut offers different accommodation levels and you can pick which one you prefer based on budget and how much food you want to carry. The options are overnight only; dinner, bed and breakfast and Full Board.

In 2020, due to covid, overnight only wasn’t an option and Half Board was the minimum you could book. Due to that, our dinners and breakfast were catered for, and we only had to think about lunch.

It is important to note that at all huts, dinner is a 3-course meal (soup, protein and dessert). Breakfasts are in buffet style. The exercise during the day is intense so eating abundantly during breakfast and dinner makes your body cope better.

Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

For lunch, among 3 people, we took the below and split it 3 ways:

  • 2 fuet’s (delicious cold meat from Catalunya)
  • 4 bags of dried fruits. We had almonds, nuts, and mix
  • 12 oats bars with fruit ( 1 per person per day)

Was it enough food? Definitely yes. As breakfast and dinner are proper meals, eating a snack midst hike was enough. With breakfast served at 7am and dinner served at 7pm, having a snack at 12h-13h worked perfectly.

Fitness level required

Carros de Foc is a real challenge, as it takes place in high-altitude mountains. Previous mountain trekking experience is necessary for the multi day hike. Having a high altitude mountain hiking background definitely helps. If you’re unsure about meeting these criteria, please hire a guide for the trek or hike one of the easier day hikes inside the national park.

You need to be able to walk 6-9h daily (depending on your route) with steep climbs and descents. There are challenging ports that will be very tiring. It is mostly about endurance and being able to walk across many different terrains (stone blocks, quarry’s, easier paths..).

Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

Carros de foc itinerary – Day to day

Carros de foc Day 1: from Telefèric Vall Fosca to Colomina mountain hut

Duration: 2h20min

Started at parking lot Pantà de Sallent / Telefèric Vall Fosca at around 16h00. That was enough time to get to the hut for dinner at 7.

The hike starts with 45 min intense climb to gain altitude. You are rapidly ascending over the parking lot and dam nearby. Once you get a little higher, there’s an old rail, which you will follow. When you see your first lake, the restaurant and the cable car are close.

Views from Colomina mountain hut
Views from Colomina Mountain hut

The cable car departs from the parking lot and return tickets cost 18€ per adult and 12€ per child. From there, another 40 minutes of a steep climb. You will follow another rail before arriving at Colomina Mountain Hut and Colomina lake.

Colomina Mountain Hut: this was the fancier/newer of the huts we overnighted in. Dinner consisted of chicken and veggie soup, beef meat with veggies, salad and apple mousse for dessert.

Refugi Colomina. Colomina mountain hut

Carros de foc Day 2: Colomina to Ernest Mallafré mountain hut

Duration: 5h30min

The plan for Day 2 was to visit JM Blanc and sleep at Mallafré. Due to weather conditions (electric storms and heavy rain expected after 14h00) we decided to go straight to Mallafré.

Path was easy until Pas de l’Ós, which is a steep climb pass is over quickly. At 9hh30 we were at the port Coll de Peguera. From there you descend scree with a well worn path that later turns into a quarry with big blocks. When the quarry finishes and you get to the path you see the Monestero valley in front of you. Look how pretty!

Vall de Monestero

It takes about 3h to descend the long valley through lakes and river meadows. At the end when you start descending a little bit through the forest you are almost there.

Ernest Mallafré mountain hut: this was the most basic hut, the traditional one. Dinner was soup, stuffed loin with mushroom sauce, salad and an apple.

Carros de foc Day 3: Ernest Mallafré to Colomers mountain hut

Duration: 5h38min

Between Ernest Mallafré and Amitges hut you have 450m climb, but can be completed in about 1h30. The ascend starts at Sant Maurici lake and continues through some of the most southern looking landscapes of the route, with greenery and pine forests.

Sant Maurici lake in Aigüestortes National Park

Amitges has an idyllic setting with beautiful mountains and lakes. We got a glimpse for some minutes before the fog rolled in.

Refugi d'Amitges. Amitges mountain hut

From the hut you depart towards Port de Ratera. The first climb you do from Amitges offers a great view of the three lakes.

From Amitges to port de Ratera

Then it is a mostly flat path on the mountainside until you start climbing again for the port. Port de Ratera was the coldest part of our trip with fog that rained on us and highspeed winds.

From the port, you have two possible valleys to descend to. One is to Saboredo mountain hut (our theoretical lunch destination) and the other to Colomers mountain hut. As visibility was bad and there was supposed to be more rain later, we took the route straight to Colomers.

You descend for an hour and a half until you get to the first lake. After that you walk by a number of lakes and descend two valleys until you get to Colomers.

Colomers mountain hut

Colomers: This is a traditional but nice mountain hut. Dinner was the best one we had: lentils stew, veggie soup, salad and fish, chocolate mousse for desert.

Carros de foc Day 4: Colomers to Ventosa i Calvell mountain hut

Duration: 4h00min

Ascending from Colomers

You depart with quite a long and steep ascent. From mid-ascent there was snow. Arrive at the Port de Caldes and start the descent with 1-4cm of snow for half of it.

Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

You will walk by a couple of lakes on your way down. After passing different lakes and valleys, you will arrive at Ventosa i Calvell.

Ventosa i Calvell is the most popular hut. It can be reached by an easy day hike from Vall de Boí, one of the main entrances to the park.

views from Ventosa i Calvell mountain hut
Beautiful views from Ventosa i Calvell mountain hut

The hut has a bar with pizzas, pasta.. for day hikers that reach the hut during the day. Dinner was soup, chicken and potatoes in the oven. Breakfast was the biggest spread buffet of all the huts.

Carros de foc Day 5: Ventosa i Calvell to Estany Llong + parking lot

Duration: 6h30min + 1h20min (to the parking lot)

Your day starts with a 100m descend to the valley and a walk along the river until you start ascending again. From here you can see Collet de Contraix, the highest point on the Carros de Foc. It is also the most technically challenging of them.

Starting Collet de Contraix hike day

After about 1h30 there’s no more path. You enter the quarry and step on big stone blocks all the way up to the port. There is no path, you can follow the yellow sign posts but there’s no path but up.

The last 30m of the ascent are the most challenging. It is almost a 90 degree wall to climb with slippery and snowy rocks.

Ascending Collet de Contraix
Looking down to Ventosa i Calvell from Collet de Contraix

The whole hike up Collet de Contraix from Ventosa is in the shade, which makes the last 30m with snow, ice and wind the most difficult ones. We got to the top 3 hours after we left the mountain hut at a reasonably chilled pace.

Other side of Collet de Contraix on Aigüestortes national park

The descent on the other side has rocks but there’s a path to follow. Once you descend and round the first lake, you get to the second level of descent.

Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

This is a new valley, which takes you a couple of hours until you see the river and cross it. From there it is a 10 minute walk on a gravel road to Estany Llong mountain hut.

After lunch walked 1h15 to the parking lot, where we took a taxi. The park offers rides for 10,5€ per person, 5€ if there’s 3 of you. My mum had come to pick us up at the parking lot.

Signage for Carros de Foc

The specific Carros de Foc route isn’t signposted. You follow the NP signs as well as the GR 11 which is white and red.

It is clearly marked with posts for the GR or rock painting. Even though, having a map is highly encouraged. Do check your route before departing every day.

GR Sign in Carros de Foc
GR signage

Knowing you’re only following GR (white and red strips) one day, you won’t look other signs. At every port there are signs for the different mountain huts/valleys with indicative arrows.

There are also yellow posts and cairns (towers of rocks) to indicate you’re going in the right direction.

Other information to know

  • Signal: about 65% of the route doesn’t have reception. Some huts have Wi-Fi (either free or paying extra) and some have an emergency phone. Please bear in mind that if weather is really bad or there’s no sun for the solar panels, the Wi-Fimight not work. It is important to let your family/friends know which route will you be taking and in which direction. By doing this they can look for you in case you go two days without saying anything. As always, safety first!
  • Can you charge batteries at the hut: generally yes, during certain hours (6-8am and 3-10pm being the most common)
  • Credit Card facilities: most mountain huts in the Carros de Foc route don’t have credit card facilities. Please bring cash for all your expenses
  • Insurance: not included in the overnight price. Please purchase high altitude mountain insurance. The Carros de Foc website offers a complete insurance policy specially designed for the route. I would recommend you use that one.
  • Bonus tip: if it rains during the day or you’ve walked on top of the snow, take your hiking boot insoles out to let them dry out more quickly.
Carros de Foc in Aigüestortes national park

Things I would have liked to know before doing Carros de Foc

  • Do not have Coll de Contraix on your last day or one of your last days, your body is tired and it is the most challenging leg of the itinerary
  • Start at Espot or Caldes de Boi as there is more parking there
  • Clockwise is definitely harder – plan it anti clockwise

Doing Carros de Foc was an amazing and tiring experience and I cannot wait to do it again! Below a little cinematic video I put together for more visuals of the experience.

It is pretty, challenging and stunningly beautiful. You get to meet people in the huts who are doing the same route and create a nice memory of your multi day hike in Parc Nacional d’Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici.

Hit me up with the best multi day hike you’ve ever done in the comments!

Carros de Foc: everything you need to know
Carros de Foc: everything you need to know
The 11 most unique accommodations in the Western Cape, South Africa

The 11 most unique accommodations in the Western Cape, South Africa

Dreaming about the ultimate hideaway? Unique places to sleep in the Western Cape? This is the list for quirky, eco friendly and out of the ordinary accommodations!

If you want to get away but finding the right cabin or lodge is important, this is the article for you. These are the 11 most unique accommodations in the Western Cape in South Africa. Find your special and unusual place to get lost in the Cape – all of them driving distance from Cape Town.

Let’s dive in!

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape – the list

Sleep in a cave: Kagga Kamma

What would you think about sleeping inside a cave?

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Kagga Kamma

The rooms at Kagga Kamma are made with natural rock and some additional structure around its shape to close off the room. The additional structure looks like rock so you can spend some time knocking softly on your rooms walls to know where the rock finishes and the building starts (I sure did!).

They offer 4×4 trails and hiking trails, quad bike rides and other activities perfect for you to disconnect for a weekend away. Their food was also delicious and you are seated right by the fireplace (visited in winter). It was very special.

  • PRICE: Starting from R2716 per night per double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Kagga Kamma Website 

Sleep in a trailer: Old Mac Daddy

Have you ever thought about sleeping in an airstream trailer in the middle of nature? At Old Mac Daddy they have 12 vintage themed trailers: Yellow Submarine, Life Before Colour and Mills & Boon are some of the options. Most of the units have a built in lounge and bathroom area.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Old Mac Daddy
Credit: Old Mac Daddy

In the same property you can also find glamping tents and villas if you are looking to have more space. There´s a dam where you can go kayaking or Stand Up Paddling as well as hiking and nature routes.

  • PRICE: Starting from R1895 per night per double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Old Mac Daddy website

Best treehouse ever: Vindoux Guest Farm

As written before Vindoux is my favourite treehouse. I have visited twice and slept at both their cute, little cottages and their luxury treehouses. There´s also a cool video that I made from my latest stay!

Not only are the treehouses very special, with every amenity you can imagine (small fridge, bathtub big enough for two, breakfast service delivered to the treehouse and views over the vineyards or springbok game area) but their staff are also super attentive and always assist with a big smile.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Vindoux Guest Farm

Whether you want to go out on a biking wine tasting, book the awesome in house spa (highly recommend) or find a hiking trail in the area. Oh, and they also have great board games at reception!

  • PRICE: Starting from R2150 per night per double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Vindoux Guest Farm

Geodome stay: La bruyere Farm

One of the newest additions to unique accommodations in the Western Cape, la Bruyere Farm’s newest option is a Geodome.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - La Bruyere Farm
Credit: La Bruyere Farm

The geodome is set on the banks of a dam with mountains out the back. It’s not only situated facing the best sunsets but also has an outdoor, fully kitted kitchen, outdoor bath and three levels of deck outside.

Different Forest stay: Platbos forest

Imagine sleeping in an indigenous forest, feeling so close to the soil as though you were camping.. but you are in a comfy wooden cabin. A cabin with a twist, as one wall is missing and has rolled up canvas to “close” the room for the mosquitos.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Platbos Forest

The best of both worlds: sounds of nature and nested in a comfy bed with a fireplace burning next to it and a clear roof through which you can see the trees! Oh, and there’s a hammock too! Ideal place to disconnect.

They offer so many nature paths as well as the option to plant trees and collaborate more. They have different cabins available, each very unique and camping is also allowed within a designated area.

  • PRICE: Starting from R1050 per night for Bush Buck Suite
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Platbos Forest

Arum lily log cabins

Arum Lily Log has a cottage and wooden cabins perched on top of the dam. They offer luxury self catering accommodation for couples, families and groups.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Arum Lily Log Cabins
Credit: Arum Lily Log Cabins

The accommodation is in a working fruit farm and provides canoes as well as hot tubs for the guests.

  • PRICE: Starting from R1400 per night per double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Arum Lily Cottages 

Ultimate Glamping vibe: Africamps Robertson

Africamps big glamping tents are made for families or groups of friends travelling together, but can be used by couples only as well.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Africamps Stanford Hills

They are spacious and have a kitchen, fireplace and barbecue (braai) area on the terrace. This location is located in a perfect spot, not only for wine tasting but also for whale watching (June to October), as it is very near to Gansbaai.

  • PRICE: Starting from R1190 per night per double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Africamps

Copia eco cabins

Combine sleeping in an off-the-grid recycled container with the ultimate comfort and scandinavian design. That´s Copia Cabins.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Copia Eco Cabins
Credit image: Copia Eco Cabins

I loved the small details from the owners on arrival: farm eggs, the sweetest personalised letter. The cabins are far away enough from each other to have complete privacy and all of this overlooking the beautiful valley.

The winning part? The deck with a fireplace and a wood fired jacuzzi overlooking the valley.

  • PRICE: Starting from R1650 per night per double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Copia Eco Cabins

Enjoy Planet Xancara

Looking for the ultimate escape into nature, with nothing to worry about and music all day? Planet Xancara is the perfect choice.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Planet Xancara

They offer intimate glamping accommodation for a maximum of 20 pax on an all-inclusive basis… including alcohol!

The owners play music throughout the day and night, making it the ideal location for a private celebration requiring music and great sunset spots.

  • PRICE: Starting from R2000 per night per person on All inclusive basis
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Planet Xancara 

Sleep on a train: Santos express

Do you want to stay in a train on the beach? The Santos Express is a blue train with all types of rooms available: dormitories, single, twin or double. The bathrooms are shared by all rooms except the suites.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Santos Express
Credit: Santos Express

In total train fashion Santos Express offers breakfast to its guests in a single carriage.

  • PRICE: Starting from R230 per night per person for a double room
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Santos Express 

Connect with silence: Gecko Creek

Looking to escape the bustling city and get lost in the mountains? The Cederberg is your best place to go with hundreds of trails and hikes available.

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape - Gecko Creek

Gecko Creek is off-the-grid camping with bungalows that offer silence to it’s guests: nothing around you but mountains, the only sound being the other guests chatting in the kitchen and around the common area, where talking is allowed. More details here.

It is also the great place for starting hikes in the Algeria region of the Cederberg.

  • PRICE: Starting from R250 per night per person for the cabins
  • BOOK: Check availability and book at Gecko Creek 

Have I inspired you to book unique accommodations in the Western Cape? Which one is your favourite and why? Let me know in the comments!

Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape, South Africa
Most unique accommodations in the Western Cape, South Africa
Staying at Skybeds in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Staying at Skybeds in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

Sleeping in an open-air room with nothing but the starry night sky above you in Africa is possible in a very special type of bed, called star beds or sleep out. When I finally had the chance to stay at Skybeds I was beyond impressed with how great sleeping in the African bush was, with only a mosquito net between the stars and me.

Going on safari is already one of my favourite activities but pairing it with a night of sweet dreams was even better!

Quick facts:

  • Good for: groups of friends, couples
  • Starting from: 565 USD per night, per skybed (480€)
  • Location: Okavango Delta, Botswana

Arriving

It takes around two hours to arrive from the closest lodge to the camp, Hyena Pan. Skybeds is on a private concession in the Okavango Delta, Khwai Concession. The lodge is used as a one night experience from neighbouring lodges only, as the attractiveness of the experience is to simply to sleep there, and a 1 night stay gives you the perfect amount of excitement.

Arriving at the lodge after around two hours of driving and safari and seeing the four chalets for the first time will put a wide smile on your face.

Staing at Skybeds in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

About the lodge

Your first impression will be one of surprise as the car pulls up and stops in front of the main area chalet, one of the four, and you climb up to the first level, where you can find a big wooden deck with the bathroom and a big table for communal eating.

Staying at Skybeds is a one-night experience so the main area is formed by only one chalet with two different levels and a fire pit next to it. On the second level of the chalet we find a small bar and another deck used as a viewing deck. In front of the lodge, about 150m from the chalets, there’s a waterhole where you can watch the animals drink, especially the elephants.

Staying at Skybeds: the rooms

There are three Skybeds rooms (2019) located on the left hand side of the common area. They all face the waterhole. The sun sets behind the waterhole too, making it a great sunset spot to observe wildlife.

Each Skybed is a freestanding chalet built with wood. The living area is 10 stairs high from the ground and the Skybed has two different levels.

Staing at Skybeds in the Okavango Delta, Botswana

On the first level you can find the bathroom, made from wood and canvas on one side. There is a shower (only hot on request or in the morning) as well as a sink and toilet. On the second floor (which is actually the third if you count the ground) you can find the room.

The Skybed room has a four-posted double bed with mosquito net surrounding it, as well as a little bench on the foot of the bed with pillows. There’s also a stepped section in the deck that can be used to sit on or as a table.

View to the waterhole from the Skybed

Activities

Your Skybed experience starts at one of the neighbouring lodges, the farthest away is Sable Alley and the closest is Hyena Pan. If you are coming from Sable Alley you will be driven to Hyena Pan after your morning game drive to arrive there around lunch time, approximately 2h.

Hyena Pan during lunch with some elephants

After lunch you will drive to Skybeds while on safari, stopping at a waterhole hide (a covered room at almost water level) where one can observe the animals come and go for an hour or so.

Views from the hide: elephants
Views from the hide

You will arrive at Skybeds lodge before sunset, and will have plenty of time to enjoy sunset with a cold drink from the main area.

At night, a fire is cracking and you can talk with your fellow travellers or staff, sharing stories around the fire or at the dining table.

The next morning there’s a walking safari offered before breakfast and then the drive back to your lodge starts.


Check out the cinematic travel video of the stay below!


What I loved the most

The experience. It is without a doubt one of the top 3 most magic sweet dreams places where I´ve had the pleasure to sleep. Hearing the bush sounds with only a mosquito net around you makes for a great experience, knowing how safe you are in your Skybed nest.

Also waking up with the excitement to look up and see if you see any animals coming to the waterhole as the sun is rising.

Skybed with morning light

Staying at Skybeds is definitely an experience for the bucket list!

What could be improved

Not really an improvement but it is worth noting the distances travelled that day. From Sable Alley, the farthest away lodge, you will drive around two hours on a game drive to get to Hyena Pan. From there, there´s another two hours to Skybeds, and the next day you repeat.

Even though you see animals it is more of a transfer than a game drive, the ranger is not trying to track footsteps as you have a place to get to. Being informed about the driving times is the single most important thing for this experience.

Sunrise from Skybed - views are great!

Would you dare sleep in a room surrounded by wild animals with only a mosquito net between you and the stars? Tell me in the comments below!

Best things to do in Senja, Norway

Best things to do in Senja, Norway

Senja was the greatest surprise during our 10 day trip in Lofoten Islands & Northern Norway. This breathtakingly beautiful island is above the Arctic Circle and is the second largest island in the country.

It is often overlooked for the neighbouring and famous Lofoten Islands but there are so many things to do in Senja that they have nothing to envy. If you are planning a trip to Lofoten Islands and Tromso, Senja is an unmissable spot. In Senja you will find dramatic landscapes, hidden gems and beautiful hiking paths with very few guests. The steep mountains plunge into the sea creating dramatic landscapes that are every traveller’s dream.

The island of Senja has a dramatic and exposed outer coast and a mild and green inner coast. Most settlements on the islands are located in the outer coast because that´s where the best fishing is, and fishing is the main industry on the island.

im8hoursahead in Senja, Norway

How to get to Senja

The closest airport to Senja is Bardufoss (BDU). From there it is around 1h drive to get to Senja. Another option is to fly to Tromso Airport (TOS). From there it is about a 2h40 minute drive.

During summer there are two main ferry lines that connect Senja for visitors:

  • Andenes (Vesteralen Islands) to Gryllefjord (Senja)
  • Bothnam (Senja) to Brensholmen (outside Tromso)

Using those ferry’s, your entry points into the island multiply, making it easier to organise in a shorter drive from Tromso or from the Lofoten & Vesteralen Islands via Andenes.

Things to do in Senja: arrival by ferry

Best things to do in Senja, Norway

Hike Segla

Segla mountain is the most famous landmark of the island of Segla. It can be hiked in 3 to 4h return trip but it is a very strenuous hike. From the top you will have great views of the plateau. It has an elevation of 630m and as most hikes in Lofoten, Vesteralen islands or Senja it is short but intense.

Things to do in Senja: Segla hike
View of Segla from Hesten Peak

Hike Hesten

Hesten is the second most well known hike on the island. It is next door to Segla and from it you can see the famous views of most Segla Peak pictures. We decided to hike this one with the family and it was as difficult as it was rewarding. The return trip takes around 3h and it is also strenuous with an elevation of 556m.

Things to do in Senja: Hesten hike

Bergsbotn Lookout

The Bergsbotn viewing platform is a metal and wood viewpoint located on the way down from a mountain ridge. It gives great views over Bergsfjord and makes for a great pit stop to admire the views. It has a small parking lot and no facilities.

Things to do in Senja: Bergsbotn

Tungeneset Viewpoint

Tungeneset is a viewpoint by the sea. It is formed by a wooden walkway that leads to a rocky area. Depending on tide movements you can see more or less of the area. The walk down the walkway takes less than 5 minutes. The rocks are big and spacious enough to make it a picnic spot. There are toilet facilities and the parking is a little bigger than Bergsbotn.

Things to do in Senja: Tungeneset

Hike Husfjellet

This hike is less uphill than Segla or Hesten and has an elevation of 630m. The duration for a return trip is 3 to 4h and from the top you can also admire the outer coast of Segla.

Husoy

This compact and small village is almost an island, only attached to the mainland by a tunnel and breakwater. It is home to a big fishing community and some of the oldest houses  are held up by wires to help withstand strong winds. 

Bovaer

Just because you are so high up from the equator it doesn’t mean there are no beautiful beaches to visit. You can relax with the sea breeze and admire the beach.

Sorlivatnet

This lake is very pretty but hard to visit. We drove around it and stopped in areas where we could park our van – which we didn’t find often! I knew I wanted to check the lake out so we found a couple of magical spots just by driving around and getting out of the car when there seemed to be a spot – would totally recommend!

Things to do in Senja: Sorlivatnet lake
Things to do in Senja: Sorlivatnet lake

Senja Trollet

This was the world’s largest troll but it was destroyed in a fire in March 2019.

Northern Lights

Senja is located above the arctic circle, making it a great destination in Northern Norway to try and hunt for Aurora Borealis. You can book an Aurora hunting tour with a specialist from most hotels on the island or go for a hunt on your own – I recommend you check Aurora services online to know where to go on the specific date, depending on weather conditions.

Anderalen National Park

There are different routes and hiking trails on this national park. It is also used as a pasture for domestic reindeer: if you see them, it is important to remember not to disturb them or scare them! The Senja hiking trail traverses the whole park, but if you are looking for a shorter hike the 2h30 hour one-way hike to Andervatnet Lake is a great start. The hike is long but flat all the way, perfect for those with small children or for a relaxing walk after hiking Segla/Hesten and having sore calves ;).

Things to do in Senja: Anderalen National park

To do the Lake Hike drive to Norwegian Wild/Camp Tranoybotn and park across the road from the hotel entrance. The park is very well sign posted and the trail is super easy with different landscapes along the way.

Things to do in Senja: Anderalen National park

Mefjordbotn

At the bottom of the fjord Mefjorden there is a small settlement with very few houses and a pier. From there you can see a very special view of the Fjord and the sea. This one is a very quick stop!

Ersfjorden

Another beautiful fjord of the island of Senja that is worth visiting (which one is not?!). This one is great to visit during sunset as the sun sets in front of you but depending on the season this could be next to you.

From the beach you can admire the Okshoman peaks to your left.

Things to do in Senja: Ersfjorden

Silsand

One of the biggest concentrations of inhabitants on the island of Senja, Silsand is a small city on the shore of Senja.

There are so many things to do in Senja, I cannot recommend it highly enough! Create an itinerary including some of the above points and exploring the island. Many beautiful and off the path views are there to be discovered if you take the time and peak around every corner. 

Have I missed important things to do in Senja? Please let me know in the comments!

Things to do in Senja, Norway
Ultimate list of things to do in Senja, Norway
Staying high up in a treehouse near Prague: Resort Green Valley

Staying high up in a treehouse near Prague: Resort Green Valley

During our long weekend away in Prague, I managed to get a reservation at Resort Green Valley. I had seen a picture of their high treehouse on a website years ago and since then it had been on my sweet dreams wish list. In just three nights I explored one of the most famous capitals in Europe and slept in my highest ever treehouse – how cool is that?

Their website is only available in Czech and they are also on Airbnb with Czech descriptions, so I had to spend some time with a translator before I could book – I managed to get it right and it was so worth it!

Credit: Resort Green Valley

Quick facts:

  • Good for: families, couples
  • Starting from: 3900 CZK per night for the highest treehouse (148€)
  • Location: outside of Prague, Czech Republic

Where is Resort Green Valley

The Resort is in the Czech Republic countryside, merely an hour away from the capital, Prague. The region is called Central Bohemian Region and Resort Green Valley is specifically located in the municipality of Chotysany.

To get there you need to have your own car, as the resort is in a valley with no bus stops nearby.

The resort

The resort is set in a large valley surrounded by hills, trees and green fields. It truly is an idyllic setting. The hotel has different double and triple rooms distributed between the two main buildings near the dining room, with a maximum capacity of 100 guests. They also have three unique treehouses: the high tree house (where we stayed), the not so high tree house and an elevated dome.

The resort grounds are stunning – which makes me want to go back during summer! They have a tennis court and a swimming pool and since the resort is far away from any villages there many hectares of property surrounding you with stunning views. Nature immersion 101!

Breakfast is included in your accommodation but dinner isn’t. I highly recommend staying in the resort for dinner instead of adventuring out if you are looking for a fine-dining, mouth-watering meal. The “owner” does not speak English but one of his staff does and with his help, we organised check-in and decided on our dinner menu. We did not know how good the food was going to be beforehand and were expecting a home cooked style meal. To our tremendous surprise, we were served incredibly tasty, finely presented food in the middle of the Prague countryside!

The treehouse at Resort Green Valley

The treehouse is 9m high. It is built around a tall tree and you get up to the door using a spiral staircase. One of the branches has a swing – could this be more perfect!?! On top there is a small terrace with a wooden table and a couple of chairs.

The inside of the treehouse has a hexagonal shape and you can actually see the tree branched in two main logs through the room. The treehouse features a double bed, small table, coach or sleeper bed, a little cupboard and door to a chemical toilet room.

If you are not one for “roughing” it, there’s a heater for Winter and about 40m walk from the base of the tree you can find a bathroom with electricity, flushing toilet, shower and towels. The bathroom is shared between the two tree houses and the dome.

The lower treehouse is great for families as it features a double bed and a bunk bed. The Dome is great for couples.

Optional activities in the area of Resort Green Valley

If you want to explore a little bit of the area where the resort is located here are some stops you should visit:

  • Vlasim: In this little village you can check out the Vlasim castle and park, next to each other
  • Cesky sternberk is an early Gothic castle from the mid 13th century. It’s location is pretty cool: the entrance is via a bridge and it feels just like you’re in a movie!
  • Jemniste castle: A big mansion more than a castle by the looks of it, this ‘castle’ has amazing garden grounds that can be visited. The family that owns it still leaves on site. They change their visit timetables depending on the month so be sure to check their website beforehand.
  • Benesov: in this town, you should walk around the colourful old town and visit the statue of the minority order convent.
  • Konopiste Castle: a gothic castle built at the end of 13th century. The inside has collections of rare items and the baroque style gardens are beautiful to stroll around in. There’s also a bear living in poor conditions as part of a cultural tradition :(, which I hated.
  • Sázava: the town is located next to the river of the same name. It was built around the Sázava monastery, the main attraction to visit.

Visiting every item from this route from Resort Green Valley to Sázava takes 1h46 minutes of driving. It can be done at a leisurely pace with half a day before returning to Prague.

Getting out of the city was great, not only for the stay, which was magnificent, but for the chance to explore a lesser known area, only an hour away from Prague, and all it had to offer. I’ve always loved the sensation of driving in the countryside and the Resort Green Valley was no exception!

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Resort Green Valley: treehouse near Prague
Resort Green Valley: treehouse near Prague