On Safari in Virginia
Safaris in Africa remain a popular choice for travelers in search of adventure, but they’re expensive and often require vaccinations and medications to guard against life-threatening disease. Now, a British company is offering something it believes will sell just as well – setting up headquarters in Virginia and selling trans-Atlantic travelers on an American Safari.
Natural Retreats owns a lodge in Idaho, where visitors can hear loons and the occasional wolf pack in nearby Yellowstone National Park. There are grizzly bears, moose, wildcats and herds of elk to be seen on horseback. Closer still to the U.K. crowd, New York and DC is the Shenandoah National Park – a million acres of wilderness where company spokesman Chad Rowe says they’ll encounter plenty of wildlife: black bears, bobcats, fox, eagles, wild turkeys and herds of white tailed deer.
The firm owns cottages and a lodge in the Homestead Preserve, offering fishing, hiking, trail bikes and other adventures, as well as the chance to soak in natural pools of warm water or to view a somewhat endangered species, the small American town. Natural Retreats has purchased about 75% of the buildings and land along Hot Springs’ Main Street to preserve and enhance what is typically American.
“That place has been underdeveloped for more than fifty years,” Rowe says. “It’s been asleep during that time. The people are wonderful, and they’re passionate about their community—passionate about their history.”
So far, the firm has opened an outfitters shop, a Starbuck’s and a real estate office for those who enjoy their American safari so much they decide to stay.