Spending a night in a star bed, with nothing between you and the night sky, has become increasingly sought after as travellers search for authentic, unfiltered experiences immersed in nature. Star beds and sleep-outs are now offered at many authentic and luxury camps throughout Africa and these experiences come highly recommended.
I have been fortunate enough to spend many a night beneath a blanket of stars during my time as a guide and I can tell you that there is something very special about having very little between you and mother nature. To be fully immersed in an experience like this where one hears every footstep of the elephant herd approaching the waterhole or the distant (or not so distant) roar of a male lion proclaiming his territory is quite something.
Whilst most of my sleep-outs involve little more than a fire and a sleeping bag there are far more comfortable ways for you to get a very similar immersive experience.
Whilst the location and standard of accommodation may vary, the experiences are all very similar in that the overnight stay culminates with wholesome breakfast treats accompanied by warming mugs of coffee, tea or hot chocolate before you head out on your morning game drive.
If this sounds like something you'd love to include in your next safari then we'd like to encourage you to draw some inspiration from our favourite Star Beds and Sleep-outs.
The Ngala Treehouse | &Beyond Ngala, South Africa
Experience the romance of Africa under a blanket of stars in the luxurious Ngala Treehouse, a remote, yet safe retreat in the middle of the reserve, far from Wi-Fi and artificial light.
The treehouse features two sleep levels including a covered and weatherproof space with a king-size bed, hot running shower and flushing toilets. An elevated sleep-out platform allows you to slumber al fresco under a retractable screen. Enjoy sundowner drinks and snacks on the upper deck, a picnic and midnight treats. Completely off the grid, this treehouse promises luxury and comfort while offering the most exclusive wilderness experience.
The Ngala Treehouse Experience is only available when booking one or more nights at either &Beyond Ngala Safari Lodge or &Beyond Ngala Tented Camp,
Scott's Pan & Linkwasha Star Bed | Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Linkwasha’s Star Bed is positioned right in the middle of the action where the animals come to drink at Scott’s Pan and is a wonderful addition to a safari experience in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park.
In the dry season, the magical elephant experience will be taking place all night long, in front of and all around the Star Bed – offering a life-changing experience for guests who want an authentic wildlife adventure.
Situated a short drive away from Linkwasha Camp, the Star Bed is built on a platform raised a few metres off the ground. All the bedding and comforts will be set up specially for guests requesting a sleep-out. The bed will be surrounded by a mosquito net but is otherwise open to the beautiful southern skies; basic ablution facilities are available nearby. A highly-qualified guide will accompany guests, sleeping a little further away to be on standby should they require assistance during the night.
Naledi Star Bed | Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa
Naledi, which means ‘star’ in the local Tswana language, is Tswalu’s back-to-nature star bed experience in the Korannaberg mountains. Elevated above a valley with wraparound views, Naledi is for the true adventurer who yearns to sleep beneath the southern Kalahari’s brilliant blanket of stars in safety and seclusion.
Naledi is designed as a romantic sleep-out experience for two adults, but is also ideal for a family of four. Everything has been carefully considered so that guests have everything that is needed for a comfortable stay. Camping stretchers are layered with luxurious bed linen and there are extra throws and blankets should the night turn chilly. Your summer dinner is a cold picnic-style supper of your choice.
The Chalkley Treehouse | Lion Sands, South Africa
Guy Aubrey Chalkley once set up camp in a majestic ancient leadwood tree to escape the wildlife roaming the bush below. This, of course, would be the ideal place to build the ultimate tree house bedroom, and so came to be The Chalkley Treehouse.
The Chalkley Treehouse is a secure and lavish platform under the African skies, the romantic treehouse has all the 5-star comforts, but affords an experience as wild as the animals that roam beneath it.
Doro Nawas in-room Star Beds | Damaraland, Namibia
For guests who want to experience the thrill of sleeping under the stars without having to wander too far away from their creature comforts, several camps have incorporated the star bed experience into guests’ rooms.
Doro Nawas Camp in the Damaraland region allows guests to roll their beds out onto the patio to appreciate the star-studded skies from the comfort of their very own space. Being a desert there is very little chance of rain but, given how easy it is to move the beds, one can opt to return to the more traditional room environment at any stage of the evening.
The Umlani Treehouse | Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, South Africa
If you're visiting Umlani Bushcamp in the heart of the Timbavati private Nature Reserve you must take advantage of the Treehouse which overlooks Marco's Dam.
Whether you opt to spend the night here or simply want to chill out in the middle of the day with a cooler box watching animals come to quench their thirst - this is a must.
Falling asleep in the open air with a clear sky filled with stars and being woken up at the crack of dawn by hyena calls in the distance is, in my opinion, the best way to disconnect completely and enjoy the beauty nature has to offer.
Typically your guide will take you to the treehouse after dinner and leave you with some drinks and snacks and a radio to reach out the the camp (10 minutes away) should you feel uncomfortable at any stage throughout the night.
Whilst the winter evenings can get very cold, the volume of game that comes to the waterhole during the evening in winter is quite special. The treehouse is also available in-between drives and is a great way to spend the middle part of the day between game drives.
As you've probably gathered, a night spent beneath the stars certainly doesn't have to be a rough and wild adventure. There are so many options when it comes to luxurious and Star beds and sleep-out experience to compliment your safari experience.
Our custom travel team knows just the spot to include in your bespoke travel itinerary if this experience sits on your bucket list. Get in touch and allow us to help you craft the ideal itinerary which can easily be build around including your very own star bed and sleep-out experience.
Plan Your Ideal Itinerary
Our team of experienced tour planners will work with you to build a custom travel plan tailored to the destinations you would like to visit, the amount of time you’d like to travel for, your group size and of course, your budget.
Whilst there are many great examples of travel itineraries which generally combine the most popular attractions in a region, there will never be a package which has the ideal duration, combination of destinations or price that suits everyone. We will work with you to customize everything from the price and level of accommodation, to the destination and areas to visit in order to maximize the potential to see and experience as much as possible.