Not Your Average Hotel
On our journeys we stay in charming, locally-run accommodations, creating meaningful exchanges, forming deeper connections and having a positive impact on the local economy. It is our privilege to share a traditional meal with a Bhutanese family on the mud-earth floor of their farmhouse; camp in mobile-tented camps in Botswana while being led by local bushmen guides; or stay overnight in bunk rooms of a high mountain Hut in the Swiss Alps soaking up the majestic simplicity of our alpine setting. During these intimate moments shared with locals we have the richest and most rewarding exchange. Waking up to Ama le (mother) making Tsampa (barley flour) porridge and churning yak butter tea or sitting around her family’s Bukhari (wood burning stove) hearing stories of village life are irreplaceable moments. We prioritize interactions with locals, knowing that insights can be limited behind the walls of luxury accommodations. Real life unfolds at dawn and dusk, when families and friends gather over meals and exchange stories of their day. With Mountain Kora, you have the privilege to partake in these daily life experiences.
We have carefully selected family-run Swiss chalets and mountain inns along our route, with one overnight at a Swiss Mountain Hut. Our accommodations embody rustic simplicity while lending welcome creature comforts after a full day on the trail. Each inn is chosen based on optimal location, Swiss hospitality, locally-sourced cuisine and top-notch amenities. Please see below photos and descriptions of our accommodations.
Nights 1 & 2: Hotel Bellevue, Wengen, Switzerland
Hotel Bellevue is a family-owned 3-star hotel that is tucked away from the bustling village center of Wengen and offers spectacular views across the dramatic Lauterbrunnen Valley. Meals feature local specialties and are prepared with the utmost pride, using fresh ingredients from their garden when possible. You will feel a home away from home while staying at the Hotel Bellevue.
Night 3: Hotel Alpenruh, Murren, Switzerland
Hotel Alpenruh is a charming Swiss-style chalet situated at the edge of town within walking distance of restaurants and local shops. Featuring 26 tastefully-decorated rooms embodying rustic elegance, balconies and views overlooking the famous Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau. Our hotel is perfectly poised at the trailhead for our hike the following morning.
Night 4: Hotel Berghaus, Griesalp, Switzerland
Hotel Berghaus is poised at the end of the dramatic Kiental valley and embodies the character and charm of the region. Rustic “hotpots” or wood fired hot tubs are situated overlooking the majestic valley below and a rustic sauna soothes our muscles after a long day of hiking. Our meal this evening is elegant and fuels us for our next day’s hike up to our highest point at the Blüemlisalphütte. Once again the trailhead in the morning is right outside our hotel.
Night 5: Blüemlisalphütte, Hohtürli pass, Switzerland
The Blüemlisalphütte lies just above Hohtürli, the pass between Kandersteg and the Kiental, at 9,318’ above sea level. We typically arrive early in the afternoon to enjoy the dramatic panoramic views and proximity of the Blüemlisalp glacier. Our accommodation are shared bunk rooms and shared baths with running water. Meals are prepared and served by our friendly hutmasters, Hans and Hildi, in a family-style fare. We enjoy an evening of being “unplugged” and taking in the true alpine simplicity of our surroundings, typically a highlight for many of our guests.
Night 6: Berghotel Steinbock, Selden, Switzerland
Situated in the stunning and secluded valley of Selden, we step back in time on our overnight at the Berghotel Steinbock. The hotel is family-run and provides basic, yet cozy accommodations in private rooms with shared baths. We enjoy another night away from it all, with no access to the internet! The hotel is situated adjacent to a brook and larger river, and you will undoubtedly be lulled to sleep after a long day on the trail. Traditional, Swiss-style meals are served in a cozy dining area with a fireplace.
Nights 7 & 8: Hotel Huldi, Adelboden, Switzerland
This historical, alpine hotel is situated just off the main square of downtown Adelboden - close enough to stroll the streets and partake in the revelry of this bustling mountain town, yet quiet at night. With excellent views across the valley, great service, and a rustic elegance, this is the perfect place to stay on our final night and toast to our journey.
Mobile Safari Camps
Our walking safaris feature mobile tented camps as the base for accommodation, with the addition of a night or two in a selected lodge convenient to the walking trail. Our tented camps are private, with either semi-luxury or adventure-style options (semi-luxury camps have en-suite baths with their own toilets and wash basin). As the term implies, our mobile camps are able to be moved from one location to another: we create a camp from nothing, bringing in all of the equipment, food and staff, and leave nothing but footprints upon our departure. You feel like a true African explorer while still having a few creature comforts like hot “bucket” showers and a comfortable mattress to sleep on at night.
Each mobile safari is accompanied by a chef, waiter and camp hand who prepare meals, fill bucket showers, do laundry and generally keep camp clean and orderly. We use dome tents with high density foam mattresses on “off the ground” beds, and quality linens, duvets, and blankets are provided for the nippy nights. Bathroom tents house bucket showers and long drop toilets (with a toilet seat). Portable solar lights are provided to enable you to navigate between the toilet tent and outside veranda where canvas wash basins hold water for you to wash away any dust you have accumulated from the day’s adventure (again for semi-luxury safaris toilet tents are en suite).
Meals at Mobile Camps
Meals are specially prepared over the fire and served in the dining tent by our very own safari chef. Meals and snacks are abundant and fresh despite the remote setting. Our safari chefs pride themselves on being able to prepare quality meals despite it being over the fire, guaranteeing surprise and awe from our guests. Alcoholic beverages, sodas, juice and water are provided throughout the safari. In major towns such as Gaborone, Maun and Victoria Falls, you will be booked on a bed & breakfast basis.
Safari Lodges on the Okavango Delta
During your walling safari, we will spend one or two nights in a safari lodge in the Okavango Delta region. Some of the safari lodges we use will be as follows (please keep in mind that these will change based on our mobile camping location which is selected based on time of year, wild-life activity and interests of the group):
Moremi Crossing is a relatively new camp situated on the Boro River overlooking Chief’s Island. It consists of 16 spacious safari tents, each with its own private wooden deck and en suite bathrooms. Moremi offers the latest in simple luxury and is eco-friendly featuring the latest in solar and waste disposal technology.
The lodge includes and open deck for a common space, a dining room, bar and lounge, and pool. The camp is shaded by magnificent trees and being surrounded by water, guests can explore this beautiful wilderness area by mokoro (traditional dugout canoe), game & bird walks, sunset motorboat cruises and island-camping. Lions, leopards, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, red lechwes and many more animals may be spotted on excursions from Moremi Crossing.
Kanana Camp is located on the Xudum River in the southwestern corner of the Okavango Delta region. The camp is traditional wood and canvas, built into the tree line and overlooking a lagoon with water levels fluctuating throughout the year.
Embodying an intimate and personal atmosphere, Kanana camp offers eight large safari style tents equipped with tasteful furnishing and private en-suite bathrooms. The main lodge area is on raised decks and offers a dining and sitting area, a cocktail bar and a refreshing plunge pool. The campfire area has a wonderful ambience, surrounded by white river sand and water when the delta is in full flood.
Activities at Kanana include day and night game drives, game viewing on mokoro (traditional canoes) excursions, guided walks, fishing, motor boating and sunset cruises. A wide variety of game frequent the area, including impala, lechwe, leopard, lion and elephant and you may be lucky to see sitatunga during boating excursions. Birding all year round is exceptional.
Lodges on the Trek:
The lodges we use are a mix of traditional Sherpa-run teahouses and comfort lodges. We have selected them based on our personal connections in the region, and often you’ll find yourself sitting around the woodstove chatting with an uncle or cousin of your guide(s). The accommodations are all clean and tidy and the hygiene around the kitchen is good. All have inside toilets and most have basic hot showers. All rooms are twin share (some beds are doubles, or can be pushed together, but if you are a couple, you may need to sleep in separate twin beds on occasion), with a mattress (although some mattresses are thin and so beds can be firm) and pillow (bring a pillow case and/or means to cover your pillow) and some have spare blankets.
We provide lodging and food service in our trekking partner’s family house in Kathmandu, which is located only about 12 minutes from the Kathmandu International Airport. The house is close to famous ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples, monasteries, museums, hiking areas, major hospitals, universities, shopping centers, internet cafes, and major arts and crafts centers. Our lodging facility comes with seven clean, cozy, and comfortable rooms with hot showers and private attached clean bathrooms with a sink and mirror in most rooms.
Although we highly recommend staying at our homestay, particularly upon your arrival in Kathmandu, there is also the option to stay at a hotel in Kathmandu if this is your preference. If you choose to do this before or after your trek, there will be a surcharge depending on which hotel you select. We can handle these bookings on your behalf, or you can choose to book directly with the hotels. We recommend the following hotels in Kathmandu:
As specialists in homestay tourism in Bhutan, our primary accommodations are local homes or farms that are set up to host small groups in order for visitors to have a unique cultural experience and locals to generate income from community-based tourism. Our Homes are of varied standard, and range from private rooms with beds, indoor plumbing and western-style toilets to mattresses on the floor and outdoor, traditional toilets with bucket baths. We distinguish between Farmstays (with full fledged farming), Homestays (without farming) and Heritage Farm/Homestays (mansions with or without farming). You can intersperse your itinerary with stays at either standard or high-end accomodations. The standard accommodations are included in the package tour cost, however luxury accommodations will be at an additional expense.
Featured here are some of our favorite homestays and farmstays:
“Contrary to some assumptions, farm/homestays are not discounted accommodations (or by default cheaper than hotels or guesthouses). Bhutan Homestay wants to “give back” to the local communities by embedding visits to farm- and home-stays into long standing traditions of hospitality, which include gift exchange practices. We also make a point that the priceless hospitality you receive in the villages should be reciprocated fairly. You are privileged because Bhutanese families are opening their homes to you and are happy to let you take part in their daily lives whilst you are there.
Following local traditions, Bhutan Homestay will organize a welcome present (chhom) for the hosts upon arrival (usually items that are needed depending on which ecological zone the household is located in). Also, unlike hotels and guesthouses, we give a traditional soelra (tip) to the hosts for extending hospitality to our driver and guide. We endeavor to keep such local traditions alive as it corresponds with the Bhutanese concept of keeping good relations (thuenlam), which is said to undergird a harmonious social life."
Full Service Camping
We provide a full-service porterage and camping on our treks. Our gear is carried by ponies or donkeys, so you will only need to carry a day pack with all of your essential gear. Campsites are set up in advance of your arrival. We use backcountry tents, double or single occupancy. At each campsite there will be a dining tent, kitchen tent and toilet tent. Our cook crew will heat up water on request for bucket showers in a separate bathing tent.