On an adventure through the Dutch and Belgian wilderness

While the word safari is normally associated with Africa, The European Company offers equally wild adventures in Europe. From wolf watching in the Italian Apennine Mountains to Bison Tracking in the Romanian Southern Carpathians.

Our last adventure is equally wild and much closer to home than you can imagine.

Picture this: three different and diverse ecosystems full of biodiversity, three unique overnight experiences in handpicked accommodations, and making an impact thanks to a direct contribution into conservation projects. Pack your bags. Let’s go!

Photography credits: Erwin Christis, Hans Koster, Warredal, Cabin ANNA.

Our adventure starts across the Dutch Border in the Belgium region of Limburg. We’re checking into a cabin in Warredal where we will spend the next two nights close to the Bergerven Nature Reserve.

Our “cozy cabin” is indeed cozy: entirely made from wood and it has everything you might want for a short break. Each tiny house has a seating and dining area, a heated bathroom with shower, a compact kitchen, and a terrace. Some cabins have a hot tub, and none of them have Wifi.

Perfect to reconnect with nature by disconnecting from your everyday life.

We wake up in the morning and listen to the sound of the forest. The crackling of leaves and twigs, the wind through the trees and the birds singing accompany us during breakfast, delivered in a box.

We fuel ourselves up for a day discovering the RivierPark MaasVallei. We meet our MaasVerkenner at visitor centre De Wissen. MaasVerkenners are guides who know the Rivier Park like the palm of their hand. Today were learning about the Maas, its story, inhabitants and biodiversity along the water.

This natural area is home to amazing water ecosystems and extends along the border of The Netherlands and Belgium. A maze of old river arms, embankments, stream channels, gravel banks inhabited by galloways, konik horses, bevers and many water birds.

Tired but happy we go to bed after dinner and a quick dip in the hottub.

New day, new nature area. Today we are drive north after breakfast ready to discover Border Park Kempen-Broek with a Verkenner from the area. The safari experience includes two hours of exploration to see the habitat of the beaver, one of the many dragonfly species that inhabit here, tree frogs or deer.

Kempen-Broek is a natural park with a true mosaic of landscapes. Bever and dragonflies feel at home here in this 25,000 ha area that alternates between wet and dry landcapes, open and closed spaces, and nature with cultural recreation opportunities.

We enjoy a delicious lunch with local specialities in de Luysmolen. In the afternoon we drive into Brabant, a province of the Netherlands, to dive into the next nature paradise. The Maashorst. We check in the unique Cabin Anna at Hartje Groen Charme Camping. The possibilities here are endless.

Make a fire, take an outdoor bath (stowed in the floor!) or take the time to cook on the movable kitchen. In the evening, crawl by the wood-burning stove with a warm blanket around you as the outside air slowly cools. Sleep under the starry sky. Breathe the fresh air of the Maashorst nature reserve.

Wake up with birds at your bedside and with the sun's rays in your face. Breakfast is delivered to your doorstep, so you can start your day with a full belly.

We cannot wait to start exploring The Maashorst. It is the largest continuous nature reserve in Brabant. It is a magical territory inhabited by Bison, Exmoor pony and Tauros amongst others. An area where nature is in charge. Where trees, plants and animals rule. We make our way past trees, streams and wildlife together with our safari guide.

In the afternoon we check into our last accommodation on this adventure. A treehouse no less, our own hotel suite but at 4 meters height in an ancient oak tree. The luxury treehouse hides a spacious room with a Finnish sauna and a great roof terrace. We can hear birds sound at the window and in the evening admire the night sky from our bed through the skylight.

The next morning, we enjoy our private wellness space in the suite and find that a basket of local delights has been delivered for breakfast. The owners work together with local providers to strengthen the local economy. The products for breakfast come from the region, but also the suppliers during the construction were local companies.

This experience was an amazing opportunity to admire the diversity of landscapes that can be found in the Netherlands.

It is often that we search for unique experiences and feelings of wilderness in faraway lands without first taking a look around at the landscapes that surround us close to home.

Waterways full of biodiversity, and rewilded landscapes surprised us delightfully in this trip. Big and small species that configure a landscape gave us the thrill and excitement that wildlife spotting always brings.

We slept in truly hidden treasures of this country. It is always such a great surprise to find unique accommodations with an own personality and story. To let yourself be take care of by the hospitality of the dedicated owners. Not only are the accommodations incomparable, comfortable and an experience in itself, but also responsible and sustainable in an environmental, economic and social way. From using local produce and helping local economy to using sustainable methods of energy or employing people with a distance to the labor market, your hosts are dedicated professionals that will provide an amazing stay.

An important part of this trip is the impacts it makes. Apart from working with local and responsible business owners, The European Safari Company destines a percentage of your booking for projects in the natural areas that you visit so you can be proud to be keeping these spaces wild and accessible.

This sustainable experience is offer though the website of The European Safari Company, a concept born in 2017 from the need that arose within Rewilding Europe’s areas for a platform to show the world the beauty of these destinations. They offer unique adventures that directly support nature, wildlife and local cultures in unique places across our continent.

Travellers with the European Safari Company not only experience some of Europe’s finest nature, but directly learn about and contribute to rewilding, and support local communities.

A shorter experience including a bison safari in the Maashorst and two nights at Cabin ANNA is also bookable via The European Safari Company.

Check the experiences