“Looking into the night, I can see eyes staring back at me. In the dark, something is moving. I am afraid, but I am also happy. I have never been here before, and yet I feel like I have returned. I am at peace”.
– Kuki Gallmann, I Dreamed of Africa.
As Africa’s leading authentic and sustainable ecotourism operator, Wilderness Safaris prides itself on offering life-changing experiences that change lives. Its range of exciting sleep-out adventures offer guests an authentic wildlife experience; a unique opportunity to get close to nature and experience an extraordinary night under the stars.
Imagine going to sleep at night on a raised platform completely exposed to the night sky. It’s just you and your partner. The sky is the darkest you’ve ever seen it, and yet, it’s also the brightest you’ve ever seen the stars. The only sounds are those belonging to the calls of the creatures of the night – an elephant’s deep-bellied rumble, the whooping sound of a hyaena or the evocative call of a lion roaring.
If you’ve ever wanted to try a sleep-out in the African bush, then you’ve landed on the right page. Below are a few of our select camps where you can enjoy a night under the stars in some of the most beautiful areas on the African continent.
All our Star Beds and sleep-out platforms come kitted with everything you need for a good night’s rest. You will also sleep soundly knowing that you are safe on a raised platform, with your guide nearby (in their own accommodation), out of harm’s way.
Sleep out in Botswana
A night with elephants at Abu
For a unique experience – and an unforgettable one too – the Abu Star Bed offers guests the chance to sleep out under the stars while overlooking the boma where the Abu elephant herd sleeps. The Star Bed comprises two levels, a lower deck with ablution facilities and an upper deck where couples can rest in the comfort of a queen-sized bed.
Take in the immensity of a star-strewn sky before being lulled to sleep by gentle elephant rumbles…
Under Kalahari skies…
Kalahari Plains is located in the diverse and productive Central Kalahari Game Reserve – the largest conservation area in Botswana, and one of the largest in the world. Each of the camp’s eight en-suite units offer an unparalleled view of the night sky from the rooftop platform accessed by a staircase.
With the platform located just above your room, you can always sneak back inside if the moon gets too bright!
Hide out in the wilderness
This beautiful Okavango Delta hide, accessed by guests at both Tubu Tree and Little Tubu, offers a wonderful platform from which to enjoy passing wildlife. At night, the hide is transformed into a Star Bed that provides a unique sleep-out experience – a great way to thoroughly immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of the wilderness.
A romantic night at Jao
Newly rebuilt in 2019, Jao is set among islands fringed with riverine forests and vast floodplains teeming with wildlife. This Okavango camp offers guests the opportunity to sleep under the stars at the nearby Star Bed (roughly 20 minutes’ drive from camp). Enjoy a nightcap before slinking between the sheets and falling asleep surrounded by the evocative sounds of the night. Awake to find yourself surrounded by beautiful 360-degree views.
Stargazing at Savuti
Savuti Camp is situated in the private Linyanti Concession along the Savute Channel, famous as a sporadic and unusual watercourse. This much-loved safari camp offers a sleep-out experience at one of two platforms: Southern Cross or Orion. Lie back in comfort and immerse yourself in the many sights, scents and sounds of the night.
The platforms are located roughly 20 minutes’ from camp, and sleep two guests each.
“It was wildest, untouched Africa, and it was magic”.
– Jane Goodall
Sleep out in Namibia
A million star-experience
Doro Nawas rests on the edge of the dry Aba-Huab River overlooking ancient plains with glorious views of the rugged Damaraland area. Each of the 16 units has a deck area that also converts into a space for stargazing or sleeping out. Being far-removed from pollution and unnatural light sources, Namibia is one of the best places to appreciate the night sky.
Celebrating the night sky
Kulala Desert Lodge is situated at the foot of the majestic Sossusvlei Dunes and is the closest lodge to Sossusvlei. The camp comprises 23 thatched and canvas “kulalas” (“kulala” means to sleep), each built on a wooden platform, with a flat rooftop for sleep-outs under the stars. Enjoy a night immersed in the tranquillity of endless space and star-studded skies.
Sleep out in Zimbabwe
Where the wild things are
Linkwasha is a luxurious camp that lies in a private concession in the enormously productive south-eastern corner of Hwange National Park. At night you can opt to sleep out at Scott’s Pan, a Star Bed situated roughly 15 minutes from Linkwasha. The small waterhole, directly in front of Scott’s Pan, is a magnet for wildlife and it is not uncommon to spot animals arriving for a late night drink as you sit having a nightcap of your own. Wake up to watch the sunrise and look out to see what animals come through for a morning drink.
Unlock the treasures of the night
Like Linkwasha, Little Makalolo has a Star Bed of its own, with theirs situated at Madison Pan. From the raised deck, you can sit and look over at the passing wildlife that comes to drink. The Star Bed also has its own wood-fired oven for pizza – a delicious treat to enjoy in the middle of the bush.
Dine under the stars
Situated in a large private concession in the heart of the Zambezi Valley at Mana Pools National Park, Ruckomechi looks out from the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. Ruckomechi’s Star Bed is about 400 metres from the camp and you can request dinner or breakfast– a delightful indulgence to enjoy at this romantic and secluded spot– read more.
By: Kate MacWilliam
Post courtesy of Wilderness Safaris