An African safari can take you to some of the most remote wilderness destinations the continent has to offer. But wherever you are in Africa the skies at night provide the most incredible views of the galaxies you will ever encounter. For a true lifetime experience, a star bed in Africa and sleeping out under the stars simply cannot be beaten.
There is something absolutely magical about lying in your bed and listening to the night sounds. There is so little noise or light pollution that your ears start to pick up the slightest crackle of leaves, the sound of a twig breaking as something wanders past. Predators are completely silent, they have to be, but Hippo can be easily heard as they chomp on grass and Elephant feeding can be quite noisy too. The grey shapes melt and appear in the bush around you despite your eyes having adapted to the darkness. If you are very lucky you will hear Lions roaring in the distance or the rasping sound of a Leopard calling for it’s mate close by. You get the picture, the experience is one you must have when in Africa.
Find your perfect star bed…
Forget the roughly hammered together tree houses of your childhood. These star beds are the ultimate bush bedrooms. A comfortable bed made up with crisp, white linen and a down duvet, a bathroom with a toilet and possibly a shower too that ensures you’re completely comfortable during the night.
Imagine just you and your partner under the brilliant blaze of the Milky Way. Snuggled up in bed, your ears tune into the grunts of Hippos, perhaps the roar of a Lion or the eerie whoop of a Hyena. Your morning alarm call is the twittering of birds and your day begins by watching the sunrise as the colors light up the landscape below you. Hot water was brought to us that morning and we enjoyed a steaming cup of coffee in bed watching as the bush came alive for another day of wildlife action.
Here are a few of our favorite star beds in Africa, read on and be tempted!
Little Kulala – Namibia
Little Kulala is the epitome of a luxurious, tranquil and remote desert lodge. This is a place in a league all of its own. While the desert was astounding in it’s shimmering heat and myriad adapted creatures the star beds are the most exquisite. We were incredibly fortunate to spend a night under the stars here and we would gladly go back again!
Staff at the lodge made the bed on the flat roof of our cottage, with lanterns and champagne and extra blankets. The skies here are perfectly clear, there is no light pollution and the stars seemed to fill our souls. The silence is also something to behold. But for the barking of Gecko’s, Owls hooting and the occasional jackal it is completely silent. Despite our busy day at Dead Vlei and the Sossusvlei Dunes the experience was too magical for just sleeping. We sipped champagne, whispered about sounds and marveled at the heavens. Truly a unique star bed of Africa.
Rates at Little Kulala start from $820 per person and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, park fees’, laundry, twice daily game activities and Tourism Levy.
Ol Donyo – Kenya
Ol Donyo is a Relais & Chateaux property. Nestled on the lower slopes of the Chyulu Hills the lodge commands panoramic views over the 275,000 acres of wilderness between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks. An exquisite lodge with 10 private cottages, each with a roof terrace where you can ask the staff to set up your safari star bed or simply enjoy a candlelit dinner for two.
No two of the lodge’s suites is exactly the same, but what is consistent is the view to Mount Kilimanjaro and the lodge’s famous waterhole. Animal sightings at the water are common and the night we spent under the stars a Lion roared for nearly an hour! The morning serenade of birds in the trees’ surrounding our suite was a perfect way to start our safari in Kenya.
Rates at Ol Donyo start from $750 per person and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, game drives, horse back rides, conservation fees’, laundry and airstrip transfers.
Three Rivers Camp – South Luangwa, Zambia
Three Rivers Camp is set at the confluence of the Luangwa, Kapamba and Lusangazi Rivers in South Luangwa, Zambia. The stylish tents lie under shady sausage trees and are facing either the Luangwa River or the game-rich lagoon.
Three Rivers Camp is exquisitely intimate with just 5 spacious tents which are elegantly decorated with natural materials and earthy hues. Large gauze windows embrace extensive views of the Luangwa River and the nearby lagoon. Each tent has its own wooden deck with comfy chairs to enjoy the surrounding vistas.
The distinctive feature of each guest room is its private elevated platform, safely connected to the tent for convenient access day and night. The star bed platform lets you absorb the stunning views during the day or sleep under the stars surrounded only by the sights and sounds of the African bush.
Rates at Three Rivers Camp start from $570 per person and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, twice daily game drives, walking safaris, night drives, laundry and return transfers from Mfuwe Airport.
Victoria Falls Island Treehouse – Zimbabwe
The Victoria Falls Island Treehouses are located just upriver of the mighty Victoria Falls. As a World Heritage Site and a Natural Wonder of the World the lodge has been built on a private island in the middle of the river.
Just two of the suites have been built with an upper deck to the double story structure. The area was larger than I had imagined with a beautiful four poster bed as well as a small seating area. Views over the Zambezi River are fantastic with excellent bird life and gorgeous sunsets. The top deck is a great place with a book under the shade of the trees’.
The night under the stars was magical. Staff brought our dinner up to a beautifully laid table for two and some al fresco dining. The romance of the location is hard to beat and after a bottle of champagne it was easy for the river to serenade me to sleep.
Rates at Victoria Falls Island Treehouse start from $815 per person and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, personal butler service, return airport transfers from either Vic Falls Airport or Livingstone airport, tour of the Falls National Park, two game activities per day, sun downer river excursions, laundry and access to the fitness center.
Kalahari Plains – Botswana
Kalahari Plains lies in a remote corner of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, a place famed for vast herds of antelope followed by abundant predators – including legendary black-maned Kalahari Lions and the fearless determined honey badgers.
Eight canvas units (including one family unit) each include a sleep-out rooftop platform from which to enjoy the night skies. Daytime temperatures can be hot while the night brings relief and a cooler experience. Our night on the rooftop platform was all the better for the clear night skies. The heavens seem to press down upon you with the brilliance of the display and the vastness of the stars. Staff at the lodge kindly supplied after dinner liqueurs and we spent several hours star gazing with our binoculars.
Despite the heat of the day the night was cool and filled with the sounds of the creatures that hide during the heat. Each deck is completely private with views to the horizon that are lit up by the stars.
Rates at Kalahari Plains start from $712 per person and includes accommodation, meals, twice daily safari activities, laundry, VAT and Tourism Levy.
Olakira Migration Camp – Tanzania
Olakira Migration Camp follows the massive herds of wildebeest to two spectacular locations in the north and south of the Serengeti National Park. Olakira’s tents have been cleverly designed so that a portion of the tent boasts a 270-degree view from beneath a meshed net area. Staff will offer each night where you would like to sleep.
For our 5 night stay we left the bed in the star gazing area and not once were we disappointed. If it wasn’t the stars we were gazing at it was the slow, ephemeral grey ghosts that slipped past our tent – one so close I could have touched her. The design is simple yet highly effective and allows for easy access to the bathroom. Night sounds were constant but dominated by a Hyena kill close by that produced a cacophony of sound and kept us riveted and awake for several hours but we loved imagining what was going on.
Rates at Olakira Migration camp start from $1010 per person and includes accommodation, meals, local brand drinks, twice daily safari activities, laundry and airstrip transfers.
Tubu Tree Camp -Botswana
Tubu Tree Camp is one of the more famous Okavango Delta camps. Built within a dense stand of Jackalberry trees’ each suite has stunning views over the surrounding floodplains.
During our stay we were offered to sleep in the hide which is located near to camp. This beautiful platform is the perfect location from which to enjoy passing wildlife. At night, the hide is transformed into a star bed that offers a unique wilderness sleep-out experience. Our guide dropped us at the hide and we found dinner waiting up on the platform – what a magical retreat! The staff had packed our favorite after dinner drinks and we watched as a herd of over 50 Elephants waded through the marsh. We were both woken during the night by the sounds of Hippo splashing through the waters and could watch them below us as they went about their nightly feeding.
Rates at Tubu Tree Camp start from $1100 per person and includes accommodation, meals, twice daily game drives, laundry, airstrip transfers and park fees’.
This is definitely one of the best star beds of Africa!
Read more about the Okavango Delta and why you really should have this Africa safari destination on your bucket list.
Other star beds of Africa that we have been privileged to experience…
John’s Camp in Zimbabwe, Ngala Treehouse in the Kruger National Park, Mwamba Camp in South Luangwa, Abu Camp in the Okavango, Savute Camp in Chobe National Park, the Malori sleep out at Tswalu Private Game Reserve, Sanctuary Makanyane in the Madikwe (South Africa) and Kwando Tau Pan in the Central Kalahari of Botswana.
These are just some of the star bed experiences we have been privileged to enjoy in our travels around Africa. All of them have added a perspective to a safari that we highly recommend, grab the opportunity while at any of these African safari lodges.
For more information on any of these lodges and to book one of these get in touch with us and we will make all the arrangements for you, we are after all, the Africa Safari Experts.