Not Your Average Hotel
On our journeys, we stay in charming, locally run accommodations or low impact, fully supported mobile campsites. Our aim is to create meaningful connections with local communities and to contribute positively to their economies. We relish the spontaneous, unforgettable opportunities that take place on the road: sharing a traditional meal with a Bhutanese family on the mud-earth floor of their farmhouse; stargazing alongside our bushmen guides while eating a chef-prepared meal around the campfire at our Botswana tented camp; or overnighting in the majestic, well-earned simplicity of a high-mountain hut in the Swiss Alps. During intimate moments shared with our hosts, we find exchanges that are rich and rewarding. Waking up to a Tibetan Ama-le (mother) making tsampa (barley flour) porridge while churning soldja (yak butter tea), or sitting around the family’s Bukhari (wood-burning stove) hearing stories of village life. Interactions like these can be limited behind the walls of luxury accommodations, and we strongly believe that real life unfolds at dawn and dusk, when families and friends gather together over meals to discuss the experiences of their day. At Mountain Kora, we have the privilege of facilitating these kinds of cultural exchanges between our guests and our network of host-friends from around the globe.
We have carefully selected family-run Swiss chalets and mountain inns along our route, with two overnights during our Bernese Oberland tour at a Swiss Mountain Hut. Our accommodations embody rustic simplicity while providing welcome creature comforts after a full days on the trail. Each inn is chosen based on its optimal location, Swiss hospitality, locally-sourced cuisine, and top-notch amenities. Please see see the section below for more information on 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 dramatic views across Lauterbrunnen Valley. Meals feature regional specialties and are prepared with the utmost pride, using fresh ingredients from the hotel garden when possible. You will feel as if you’ve found a home away from home 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. Alpenruh contains 26, tastefully decorated rooms, many with balconies and views overlooking the famous Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau. Our rustic yet charming hotel is perfectly positioned 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 all the character and charm the region is known for. The property houses a number of cozy “hotpots,” or wood-fired hot tubs, overlooking the majestic valley, and a rustic sauna is available to soothe our muscles after a long day of hiking. Our meal this evening is elegant and fuels us for our next day’s climb up to our highest point at the Blüemlisalphütte. Once again, the trailhead is located right outside our hotel doors.
Night 5: Blüemlisalphütte, Hohtürli Pass, Switzerland
The Blüemlisalphütte lies just above Hohtürli, the pass between Kandersteg and the Kiental, and tops out at 9,318’ above sea level. We typically arrive early in the afternoon in time to enjoy the dramatic, panoramic views and close proximity to the Blüemlisalp glacier. Our accommodations are shared bunk rooms and shared baths with running water. Family-style meals are prepared and served by our friendly hut masters, Hans and Hildi. Tonight, we enjoy an evening of being truly “unplugged,” taking in the alpine simplicity around us. For many guests, Blüemlisalphütte is a true highlight of their trip.
Night 6: Berghotel Steinbock, Selden, Switzerland
Situated in the picturesque and secluded valley of Selden, we step back in time during our overnight at the Berghotel Steinbock. The family-run hotel provides basic yet cozy accommodations in private rooms with shared baths. Tonight, we’ll enjoy another evening 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 historic, alpine hotel is situated just off the main square of downtown Adelboden. The location is close enough to stroll the streets and partake in the revelry of this bustling mountain town, yet quiet and peaceful at night. With excellent views across the valley, great service, and a feeling of rustic elegance, Hotel Huldi is the ideal place to toast the final night of our journey.
Mobile Safari Camps
Our walking safaris include mobile tented camp accommodations, with the addition of a night or two in a selected lodge convenient to our walking trail. These 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 the next; we create a camp from nothing, bringing in all of the equipment, food, and staff, and leave nothing behind but our footprints. You will feel like a true African explorer—albeit a sustainably-minded one—while still enjoying some rustic, creature comforts such as 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 our camp clean and orderly. We use dome tents with high density foam mattresses on “off-the-ground” beds, as well as quality linens, duvets, and blankets to stave-off the often nippy nights. Bathroom tents house bucket showers and long drop toilets (with a toilet seat). Portable solar lights are provided, enabling guests to navigate at night between the toilet tent and outside veranda. There, canvas wash basins hold water for you to wash away any dust you have accumulated from the day’s adventure (or, for semi-luxury safaris, toilet tents are provided en suite).
Meals at Mobile Camps
Meals are specially prepared over the fire and served in the dining tent by our very own chef. Despite the remote setting, our safari cuisine and snacks are abundant and fresh. Our chefs pride themselves on skillfully preparing quality meals over an open fire, guaranteeing surprise, awe, and a definite sense of appreciation from their 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 walking safari, we will spend one or two nights in a safari lodge in the Okavango Delta region. Please keep in mind that lodges change based on our mobile camping location, which is selected based on the time of year, wildlife activity, and the unique interests of your group. That said, some of the safari lodges we use include:
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 bathroom. Moremi offers a sense of simple luxury and is also eco-friendly, featuring the latest in solar and waste disposal technology.
The lodge includes an open deck for a common space, a dining room, bar, and lounge, as well as its own pool. The camp is shaded by magnificent trees and—being surrounded by water—guests can explore this beautiful wilderness area by mokoro (a traditional, dugout canoe). Other activities include game and bird walks, sunset motorboat cruises, and island-camping. Lions, leopards, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, red lechwes, and many more species may be seen on excursions from Moremi Crossing.
Kanana Camp is located on the Xudum River in the southwestern corner of the Okavango Delta. The camp is traditional wood and canvas, built into the tree line and overlooking a lagoon with water levels that fluctuate 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 is situated on raised decks and offers a dining and sitting area, 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 by mokoro (traditional canoe), guided walks, fishing, motor boating, and sunset cruises. A wide variety of game frequent the area including impala, lechwe, leopard, lion, and elephant; if you’re lucky, you may even spot swamp-dwelling sitatunga antelope during boating excursions. The 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 our accommodations based on personal connections in the region, and more often than not, you will find yourself sitting around the woodstove, chatting with an uncle or cousin of your guide(s). We choose lodges that prioritize cleanliness, and that are tidy and hygienic in their food services. All have inside toilets and most contain basic, hot showers. All rooms are twin share; some beds are doubles, or can be pushed together, but if you are a couple traveling together, be prepared that you may need to sleep in separate beds on occasion. All rooms have mattresses with pillows, though some are thin; beds in Nepal tend to be firm. Some rooms offer spare blankets, but you should plan to pack a pillowcase or other means to cover your pillow along the way.
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, major hospitals, universities, shopping centers, and major arts and crafts centers. Our lodging facility comes with seven clean, cozy, and comfortable rooms, some with attached bathrooms and others with shared bathrooms.
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:
Our partner, Bhutan Homestay, specializes in homestay tourism and over the years they have developed longstanding relationships with village hosts throughout the country. The local homes or farms we use are carefully selected 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) and Homestays (without farming). You can intersperse your itinerary with stays at either standard or high-end accommodations. 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 lodges, 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.