I have many fond memories of summer camping involving angry, red mosquito bites, rocky terrain induced backaches, and near failures in bladder control (sometimes it’s just so cozy in my sleeping bag and so cold and dark outside…). In the Czech Republic, I can add sleep disturbance (i.e. noisy taborak festivities into the wee hours of the night) and having to pay a separate fee to use the showers to the general list of complaints. But it’s all worth it for a few days of solitude and a chance to scrub the city grime off my face, or so I tell myself.
I recently heard about a new trend in camping called “glamping,” the glamorous and luxurious cousin of camping. This could mean sleeping in a tent with a four-poster bed and butler service in the middle of the Australian bush or staying in your own personal tree house in Northern Sweden. Needless to say, insect bites and achy backs don’t factor into this kind of outdoor experience.
Marie Borenstein, Prague-based entrepreneur and photographer, drew attention to glamping in the Czech Republic when a recent pictorial on her travels in Africa ran in the magazine Proč ne?. Marie has traveled the world yet her heart belongs in Africa where she was born and raised until the age of thirteen. Every year she tries to escape the busy hum of her Prague life and go on a safari.
“The smell, the sound, the sky…it’s not like here,” Borenstein said. As a part of her glamping accommodation she wakes up to the soft feel of Egyptian sheets on her skin and the sound of hippos splashing in a nearby river. Treks include champagne breaks and making small talk with giraffes.
Of course this level of luxury comes at a price, so what about us common folk on a tighter budget? Rents s.r.o., a Czech company which produces Mongolian-style yurts, tee-pees, and medieval tents, provides some economic glamping options closer to home. They cooperate with a few different campsites—Kemp Branná on the Vltava river, Camping Lipno Modřín on Lipno Lake, and Camp Chvalsiny in South Bohemia—where rental prices for a yurt vary from 600-1,100 CZK/night and a tee-pee from 350-700 CZK/night depending on the size and season. Holiday Park Liščí Farma, located near Vrchlabí, is another good option for some tee-pee fun.
But if it is a safari experience you want, look no further than Camp Safari in Dvůr Králové. You can pitch your own tent, rent a bungalow or stay in their hotel, all located on the edge of the Dvůr Králové Zoo. Gabriela Körnerová, Czech mother of two, took a family holiday there just last month. “The children especially enjoyed the zoo which has more African animals—giraffes, rhinos, zebras, and antelopes—than the zoo in Prague, and the bungalows and other camp facilities are at a very decent level,” she said. Admission to the zoo is free with a two-night stay and they offer special programs like becoming a zookeeper for the day, and off-road and evening safaris.
When it comes to summer holidays in the Czech Republic, affordable prices and family-oriented options seem to take priority over silk sheets and sipping champagne in tree houses, but don’t despair, glamping it up Czech-style still gets you close to nature in relative comfort with cash left over for your next trip.
How do you camp? With no frills or lots of pizzazz?