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My travel to Ekoin in Mount Koya (Koyasan) entails riding two JRL trains, a subway, a local train, a cable car and a bus. The bus deposits at Ekoin, a 1,000-year old Buddhist Temple. Ekoin is one of approximately 50 temples offering lodging (skukubo) to tourists. My room at Ekoin is sparse but it offers a fantastic view of the sunny garden. I have just enough time in the afternoon to walk Okunoin, Mount Koya's most sacred site and home to a spectacular cemetery. Vegetarian inner is served in my room at the early hour of 5:30. The food is so-so, but the monks do provide beer upon request. Afterwards, I play around on the internet (yes, there's wifi up here) and go to bed early because there's not much else to do. At 6:30 the next morning I join my fellow guests to observe the daily prayer service. Afterwards we follow the monks next door to the daily Goma fire ritual.
about 4 hours ago
On the eastern edge of Serengeti National Park, Namiri Plains opened in July 2014 as the first permanent camp set up within a 2,000-square-mile former lion and cheetah research area closed to tourism for two decades. Today, a maximum of 12 guests share the camp’s three safari vehicles and have prime lion, cheetah, and hyena territory to themselves. Resident hoofed game—hartebeest, topi, impala, buffalo—are not as habituated to safari vehicles as animals in other parts of the Serengeti, but the vicinity hence feels wilder. The area is so secluded that guests can watch the sunrise from a high rock outcropping and spot no other people or vehicles on the horizon. Year-round sightings of big cats are assured; however, the action peaks in November through April when herds of migrating wildebeest boost game numbers and predator activity. The delicious feeling of solitude in nature is enhanced by the solar-powered camp’s comfortable, eco-friendly amenities. Each tent has a flush toilet, but staff bring hot water for bucket showers. Tent luxuries include real beds, stuffed chairs, and couches.
about 5 hours ago
Founded by some of East Africa’s most exclusive mobile safari guides, Asilia manages a collection of understated, low-impact camps in rugged, game-rich locations with little tourism. The company’s Kwihala Camp sits on a hill near the bank of the Mwagusi Sand River in Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, which is the same size as South Africa’s Kruger National Park but gets barely one percent of the visitors due to the expense of small craft flights from Dar es Salaam or Arusha. The park has many giraffe and the biggest elephant population in Africa. Both species are frequent camp visitors, and with large buffalo herds and ten percent of Africa’s lion population, the park is also known among safari aficionados for regular sightings of big cats on kills. The large, comfortable tents have wash basins, flush toilets, bucket showers, and solar-generated electricity, but don’t expect to spend much time indoors. The emphasis here is on long, superbly guided daily game drives with 5:30 a.m. wake-up calls, walks with armed rangers, and night drives. Asilia dismantles the camp during the rainy season, with the result that animals do not permanently associate the site with human infrastructure and continue grazing nearby when guests are present.
about 5 hours ago
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