Cardamom Tented Camp is an eco-friendly retreat in Botum Sakor National Park with luxury, safari-style glamping tents …
Cardamom Tented Camp is an eco-friendly retreat in Botum Sakor National Park that lies seven kilometres from the nearest house or road, so it’s fair to say we’re deep in the jungle. The camp is set right next to the beautiful Prek Tachan River and is surrounded by wildlife. This is a major selling point as Asia is a fairly noisy part of the world, so a lot of people come here to escape the everyday hubbub.
The Wildlife Alliance bought this area of land on a 50-year lease in an effort to preserve some of the park after the government put almost 90% of it up for sale in 2008. Our eco-resort, which we built here in 2017, is unique in that we’re a non-profit project and the camp is paying for the protection of the area. Our aim is to become completely self-sustaining within five years and make sure this biodiverse landscape doesn’t get destroyed by loggers, poachers and sand dredging.
We have nine luxury safari-style glamping tents with wooden decks where you can soak up the scenery. For me, the river is the most beautiful part of the area, as we get to see wildlife such as birds, otters and gibbons there and I never get bored of watching the early morning sun shine off the water. Guests love the tranquillity, wildlife spotting opportunities and generally being out in nature. Highlights include our 75m zip-line across the river and a floating pier where you can relax or take a tubing or kayaking trip. We also offer the chance to trek with the Wildlife Alliance Rangers to learn about their work and take part in conservation activities like tree planting and setting camera traps.
I’m very proud of how low our carbon footprint is. A judge from the World Travel and Tourism Awards visited us in 2019 and said that we were one of the most eco-friendly resorts he’d ever seen. We run entirely on solar and have power 24/7. The camp also has water filtration to eliminate plastic bottles and a wastewater treatment system that cleans water before it goes back into the soil. All of our toiletries are eco-friendly, plus we recycle everything and reuse as much as possible.
This eco-friendly ethos is how I’ve led my life and I try to instil these ideas in my staff. I employ about 13-15 Khmer people, around half from the local villages and the rest from all over Cambodia. We plan to hire more staff as we add features like a butterfly house and increase the size of the garden. We’re also hoping to deliver educational sessions at the school in the local village, Trapeang Rung, in the future.
Our garden is entirely organic and is slowly providing more food for guests and staff. Most of our fixed lunch and dinner menus feature Khmer dishes but we offer western sweets and breakfast options too. Our chocolate lava cake and ice cream is always very popular. The rice we serve is organic and comes from a fantastic project in northern Cambodia called Ibis Rice which helps protect the national bird, the Giant Ibis, whose numbers have dwindled to less than 300.