Only in Africa can you spend a night in the bush, under the stars in a wilderness area teeming with dangerous wildlife. Treehouses, sleep outs and star beds in Africa are becoming the most sort after experience, especially for the romantics and the brave.
Many of our favourite properties offer this unique experience, so you stay for a few nights and one of those is spent in the ‘wild’. No level of comfort is compromised at many of them, the luxury is in the setting and you still get ensuite bathrooms, luxury linens, romantic beds draped in mosquito netting, mini bar and picnic hamper for dinner.
Others are more basic for the adventure seekers. What is constant though is your level of safety and the experience. Remember wildlife at night can get noisy, so it’s not always going to be a quiet evening. Lions roar to gather their pride, nocturnal animals forage for their food and larger animals like Elephant continue to roam.
There is a cheat sleep out option too if you don’t want to venture far away from your luxury. Some properties offer rooftop platforms where your bed is simply rolled out for an evening under the stars.
Anything is possible in Africa, so if this experience is something you want to try out for yourself, simply let your specialist know during the safari briefing.
When to Go
For obvious reasons, we always prefer sleepouts in the warmer months. Winter can get very chilly. Having said that, the camps do provide you with ample blankets and hot water bottles to see you through the night comfortably. The activity is always weather dependent, so if it does rain, they return you to the main camp or lodge for a dry night’s sleep.
Good to Know
Before you say yes to a night in an African treehouse or sleep out platform, it’s worth knowing what you can expect. Typically, you will be transferred late afternoon to the place that will be home for an evening and here, enjoy sundowner drinks and dinner. The guide and staff will then say goodnight and leave you in peace with essentials including toilet, insect spray, two-way radio and water not to mention comfortable bed! Next morning as the sun rises, you’ll be greeted with tea or coffee of your choice before venturing back to camp where you can prepare for your next safari activity.
Tswalu Kalahari, South Africa
This is the ultimate WOW factor when it comes to landscapes, sunset and sunrise because you are in a private 100,000 hectare reserve that is the largest in South Africa. It’s a very comfortable deck with king size bed beautifully adorned with duvet and blanket, table and chairs, lounge and even a thatched roof just in case it does rain. There is also toilet, washbasin, shower plus fluffy towelling robe and slippers.
Lake of Stars, Mozambique
Whilst this Lake (Lake Malawi) is more famously located in Malawi, Mozambique is on one of its borders and so too is our favourite beach sleep out. Nkwichi Lodge has two opportunities for guests, a beach star bed right on the sand or a private rock island. Your bed is an impressive wood framed bed and lanterns are positioned all around for the romance!
The Nest, Kenya
High in an Elephant Pepper tree (Warburgia) overlooking the Mara River sits The Nest. This is a sensational sleep out experience fitted with state of the art night vision cameras, lovely bedding, ensuite bathroom and ideal for adventurous families with kids or honeymoon safari goers. There are two double nests and space for a couple more bedrolls.
Abu Camp, Botswana
One of Africa’s premier luxury safari camps, Abu has become famous for its herd of habituated elephants that move silently through the bush day and night. Equally impressive is the sleep out here which is well positioned beside the elephant enclosure. Whilst we don’t usually advocate animals in captivity, these elephants are free to roam and it is truly magical hearing their rumbles through the night.
A great name for a fantastic property, Flatdogs Camp is located in South Luangwa and also home to Jackalberry Treehouse. This is a fantastic sleep out where guests can stay multiple nights in a secure space with two bedrooms, bathrooms and sitting area with deck all positioned in an enormous tree that’s a favourite with the resident elephants. It is our favourite for families.
Lion Sands, South Africa
Leaving our favourite until last, Lion Sands Game Reserve offers three sensational tree houses, each with a different style and appeal. What they all have is elegance, comfort and safety to ensure you a magical experience sleeping under the stars in Africa. The tree houses include Chalkley’s, Kingston and Tinyeleti. The first two are in private reserve Sabi Sand and the latter is located in Kruger National Park.
The sound of the night from your treehouse.