Located an hour away from the Luxembourg border, the Domaine des Grottes de Han is what you might call a classic tourist attraction in Belgium. There’s hardly a child born in Wallonia who has never been there, be it with parents, grandparents or during a school trip.
As its name indicates, the area is well known for its caves which were dug out by the local river, the Lesse, and encompass over 14,000 metres of tunnels taking you on a real trip to the centre of the Earth. The caves are one of the oldest attractions in Belgium, open to visitors since 1895 (although their discovery goes way back).
A Unesco Global Geopark
Other activities have been added to the offer over the years, including PrehistoHan, a museum that showcases objects found in the caves and the Lesse. The Han 1900 museum retraces life to a small village more than a century ago. And a wildlife park opened in 1970.
"The aim of the latter was to preserve the massif that overlooks the caves," explains Magali Nicolaï, the estate's communications manager. “We set up a park there as a refuge for animal species found in Europe. Bisons, wolves, brown bears and others have found a place there.”
The Domaine des Grottes de Han is now a Unesco Global Geopark (as is the Mullerthal in Luxembourg).
Tents in the trees and glamping
“About ten years ago, we had a cabin, called the 'trapper's cabin', which was located near the area reserved for bears. It was used for certain events, before it was rented out as accommodation.” There was a lot of interest, says Nicolaï, giving the park the idea to add more options for an overnight stay.
In 2018, the "Tree Tents" appeared--tents perched in the trees, three metres high and offering an opportunity to spend the night suspended between the trees, with a view of the animals frolicking in the great plain. All this with a certain comfort, since these tents (which can accommodate two to four people) are equipped with a large bed, a small terrace, two seats and a table, allowing you to observe deer, fallow deer, aurochs, Przewalski's horses, mouflons and many more in complete peace.
The experience costs €149 per adult and €89 per child. For this price, you get one night's accommodation, a full evening meal (in the form of a barbecue), drinks (including the estate's own beer, "Blonde de Han"), a breakfast basket, a ticket for all the attractions, and a private walk on the plain to meet the animals with a ranger.
Hear the deer bellow
The eight available "Tree Tents" are so successful that a "glamping" site was added this summer, camping in a luxury location where you have all the necessary facilities.
The so-called Cocoon Village has about thirty tents with all the comforts, for two, four or six people. Not to mention the exclusive activities and entertainment included in the price. The price may vary according to the period. But for a weekend, the price is around €170 for an adult and €85 per child.
The site was affected by the floods in the Rochefort region in July, but everything is now back in order. And the end of the season (set for the beginning of October) comes with bellowing deer to attract a mate. "With us, you won't just be listening to it. You should also have the chance to see the deer," says the head of communications.
For more information: https://grotte-de-han.be/
This article was originally published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.