Calling all romantics, adventurers and solitude seekers alike. Discover the magic of a night out in Africa sleeping under the stars.
Whether you're looking for a romantic treehouse, a remote skybed or a secluded forest suite, there are many opportunites for you to add a night sleeping under the stars into your itinerary to feel totally immersed in the wonder and romance of Africa.
We love to arrange safaris that get you right out into the wilds of Africa yet still in comfort with great food and guides. The sounds of Africa are all around you. You look up into a huge starry sky and are lulled to sleep to the distant call of the leopard.
Whatever type of sleepout experience you seek, one thing is certain: there’s no better place to share the dreamy African skies with the one you love. Whether you’re on a free-standing star bed in the middle of Big 5 country, or are immersed in one of Africa’s precious forests, you’ll be given the chance to connect with nature (not Wi-Fi!), listen to the quiet sounds and distant howls of the night, and watch the moon and stars travel through the sky overhead – what could possibly be more romantic?
See below for our top pick of the best treehouses, sleep-outs, skybeds and forest suites in Africa.
Poised on a rocky kopje, the Loisaba Star Beds located in Laikipia Kenya, command sweeping views over an undulating valley and a permanent waterhole, frequented by resident wildlife.
The Loisaba star beds are instantly recognisable. Handcrafted four-poster wooden beds sit on raised wooden platforms jutting out from a thatched-roof accommodation and are rolled out each night for guests to enjoy the most memorable sleep under the endless African sky. Both are located at some distance from each other and from the lodge’s main house.
This star bed experience is organised as a whole “expedition” which includes a journey on a horseback or on a camel (or by 4×4). A team of traditionally dressed Maasai, who guide and host the guests, prepare a barbeque style dinner and roll the beds out onto the wooden platforms.
The Lion Sands Luxury Treehouses are the ultimate bush bedrooms. A treehouse offers big views of remote landscapes, globed by even bigger star-strewn skies, their lights twinkling down to the horizon. Below, the stillness is punctuated by animals’ whistles, huffs, growls…carried on the wind. There are few such experiences left on earth that capture the romance of the untamed and untainted. Lion Sands were pioneers in offering rather beautiful sleep-outs in a platform set high up in a tree. You are taken to the sleepout at sunset where drinks and a delicious picnic dinner await you. Once you are dropped off, with mosquito repellent, torches, lantern and a two-way radio, you are on your own until dawn.
Some of our favourites include the MORE Collection of luxury treehouses:
- The original Chalkley Treehouse, Sabi Sand - A secure and lavish platform under the stars, the treehouse has all the 5-star comforts, but affords an experience as wild as the animals that roam beneath it.
- Kingston Treehouse, Sabi Sand - Positioned to enjoy sweeping views and sunsets in the west, this treehouse is constructed entirely from wood and glass and, unlike the other Lion Sands treehouse suites, it has a roof so you are ensured your night in the wilderness regardless of the weather.
- Tinyeleti Treehouse, Kruger National Park - An overnight wilderness experience that has no match. Watch the sun dip beyond the horizon as you sip on a cocktail or a glass of bubbly.
The treehouses at Lion Sands Game Reserve are as wild as Mother Nature could wish…here are unobstructed bush views, sweet African air and walk-in appearance by some of the continent’s most impressive animals ~ Condé Nast Traveller
Located deep within the Khwai Private Reserve in Botswana, these fabulous Skybeds offer a truly unique way to spend time in the bush. Each “room” is actually a three-story raised platform, overlooking the wildlife-spotted plains of Khwai. The platforms overlook a waterhole (the only permanent water source for 50,000 acres), frequented by 400 bull elephants, along with lion, leopard, eland, zebra, and more, making for some pretty outstanding game viewing, straight from your platform.
Charmingly rustic yet perfectly stylish, you’ll find a bathroom with flushing loo on the first floor, a dressing area, and the ultimate cherry on the top floor, an enormous double bed, draped in white linens and a feather duvet and completely open to the stars. These skybeds are not just for couples. Small groups can book the camp on an exclusive basis and families are welcome with older children (age 12 and over).
Guests staying at Skybeds always spend a night or two at one of its sister camps: Sable Alley or Hyena Pan, You’ll usually start out from one of these on your afternoon game drive, arriving at Skybeds in time to watch the sun set from the “drinks” platform. Then spend the evening and night there, and return to your main camp after your morning game drive. Or stay longer if you wish!
Norman Carr Safaris boasts a collection of wonderful lodges in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia. One of the most remote and back-to-basics star bed experience is the Norman Carr sleep-out. It is unique in that staff set up a temporary mattress on the riverbed, or more specifically on the white sands of the Luwi river. It isn’t just a night under the African skies, but rather a walking safari that has you overnighting in the bush between camps.
We recommend starting at Nsolo Camp and finishing in Kakuli Camp, both of which are renowned for their walking-focused activities and game viewing in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. As guests will be sleeping on the seasonally dry riverbed, this sleep-out experience is not available during the rainy season, so it’s best to visit in peak season between July and October.
Tucked away in the 37 000-hectare private Kulala Wilderness Reserve in Namibia, Little Kulala Lodge treats guests to the unmatched desert luxury. Built in the heart of the Namib, on a private 52,000-acre ranch adjoining the magnificent orange Sossusvlei sand dunes, Little Kulala Lodge is a place where people come specifically to see the stars.
Each of the eight thatched and canvas desert Kulalas (or "sleeping places") has either its own star platform, on which bedrolls can be placed for a couple of hours of nocturnal gazing, or a bed made up for an entire night sleeping out under the stars. Because there is nothing but rolling sand for thousands of miles, there is no light pollution, leaving skies absolutely clear.
Located in the Northern Frontier District in Kenya is the family-run stone lodge of Sabuk built some 500 feet above a vast river gorge. Sabuk offers one of the most luxurious ways to sleep under the stars, on enormous wooden beds erected in front of each of the five thatched guest cottages, without sight of another light.
Sabuk also arranges fly-camping trips by camel – walks with armed Maasai warriors and loaded camels to a camp on the green banks of the Ewaso Nyiro river, where guests sleep under mosquito nets beneath the African sky, eat around a campfire and learn to track, to fish and to recognise stars. Not to be missed is the chance to swim in huge pools in the river with the Maasai.
The lodge of choice for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s romantic trips to Botswana, Meno a Kwena is an authentic safari camp full of character and adventure, and positioned on a cliff edge overlooking the Boteti river.
The surroundings of this lodge make for a fantastic contrast to the scenery of the Okavango Delta, as from Meno a Kwena guests can explore the vast stretches of the Makgadikgadi salt pans, go meerkat spotting, and enjoy a sleep-out experience under the stars in the heart of the magical white pans.
Meno a Kwena is well known for its bushman walks, in which guests can head out with the indigenous locals to learn about their fascinating traditions – they might dig out a scorpion and try to pick it up by its sting, play games by catapulting arrows as far as possible on a dirt mound, or sing and dance by way of evening entertainment.
The ultimate way to savour Lake Malawi is Nkwichi’s Lake of Stars Bed.This sleepout is a unique and unforgettable experience at Nkwichi Lodge on the Mozambiquan side of Lake Malawi.
After sunset you are taken to the Sleepout which is on a private little island some 10 minutes from the lodge. Your bed is on some rocks overlooking the aptly named Lake of Stars. After a delicious supper you are left alone to enjoy the evening skies, serenaded to sleep by the gentle ebb and flow of the water. In the morning, you are collected and enjoy an amazing bush breakfast.
Set on a deserted, virgin beach surrounded by breathtaking baobabs, or on a private rock island close to the shore with Fish Eagles soaring overhead, this is the perfect way to see the wonders of an African night-sky.
Little Makalolo Camp lies in the heart of one of the best game viewing areas in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. A large number of waterholes attracts game from far and wide, and with one in front of camp, wildlife activity can even be enjoyed from the pool or breakfast table or, more intimately, from the camp’s log-pile hide.
Game drives, walks and cultural activities sometimes end at the “pizza stop” at Madison Pan, where a Star Bed is ready for your sleep out under the stars. This is a casual experience where you sleep on a bedroll draped in mosquito netting. In the morning, you can laze in bed watching elephant and antelope down at the waterhole.
Thabametsi Treehouse, at Marataba South Africa, is the newest (and most impressive) addition to MORE's Treehouse collection. Solar powered and built over two levels, Thabametsi comprises a main bedroom, shower room, lounge, and viewing decks - presenting the Waterberg Mountains and the Marakele National Park's verdant expanse in all their splendour.
Guests, delivered by safari vehicle in the late afternoon, spend the sunset hours sharing a gourmet picnic and spotting animals out on the plains, before falling asleep counting shooting stars. And they can rest easy knowing a field guide is always on radio call, should they feel they need assistance.