Brace yourself for the best sleep of your life, surrounded by frisky deer and bison.
Fries, chocolate and waffles. As far as clichés go, the stereotypes on Belgium have done a great work in concealing our little yet brilliant natural sights. You wouldn’t expect embarking on a safari in one of the most densely populated countries in Europe, and yet that is exactly what you can do at the Grottes de Han national park. Mind you, we are nowhere near the authentic African experience, but you’ll get to train your natural history knowledge and meet some historic European species such as the Przewalski horse, wild cat, lynx, auroch, bear, bison, wild hogs, wolves, etc. Situated on top of an underground network of caves, still bearing the traces of the prehistoric tribes they sheltered, this place is exciting to say the least.
The park used to be owned by the Belgian royal family, until it became open to the public in the seventies. Hence, most of the accommodation is, let’s put it nicely, “retro”. You can board an awful safari bus stacking dozens of tourists at the same time, òr opt for the overnight option and spend a night in a treehut/tent overlooking a large plain where most of the local wildlife gathers at nightfall. This comes with the option of an evening and morning round by foot, when the park is still nice and quiet. Gone are tourists and noisy guides, just you and your binoculars, potential sidekick and a good drink. In truth, the whole experience isn’t that thrilling, but of you have kids or need a real good sleep, this is the place to go!
Each open tent contains an amazingly plush, enormous mattress and a huge duvet, lifting the cocoon experience to a whole new level. I went with my baby daddy after eight weeks of interrupted nights and screaming newborns, and we had the best sleep of our lives! Tip: book a stay in early fall, as that is mating season for the deer and you can hear their famous belling ringing through the night. That is, ìf you are a wildlife geek.
Info via Treetent Grottes de Han.