Africa has some of the most romantic and evocative places to enjoy sleep-outs on safari. "Sleep-outs” are also known as “star beds”.
What is a Sleep-Out?
Broadly speaking, there are two types of sleep-outs. Some safari lodges offer you an opportunity to sleep out under the stars for the night. The exact format varies, but the basic concept is the same – you head off to the sleep-out platform in the late afternoon by foot or by vehicle. At some sleep-outs, it is just one couple, either alone or with a game scout nearby. At other camps, it is offered to more people so that it is quite a festive atmosphere, though less romantic. The second option is less scary to the uninitiated, as your suite has some sort of an outdoor ‘sala’ (sleeping area) where you can sleep under the stars but still within the confines of your accommodation.
Is it for you?
This is something only you can answer. Some people love to do it, others do not. It is worth considering how comfortable you are likely to feel sleeping out in the bush. You do not want to head out to the sleep-out only to feel terrified and ask to be collected three hours later. Chances are that this will not be the soundest sleep you have ever had. Do not underestimate how loud the bush sounds can be, or how close an animal can seem, especially lions roaring to gather their pride. Of course, for others this is exactly the appeal. The level of comfort will vary from one place to the next - do not hesitate to check that it suits you.
There are various options and places to pick from but here are a few to give you an idea of how beautiful this experience can truly be!
Nkwichi Lodge, Lake Malawi, Mozambique
The star-beds are all located in stunning and remote areas around Lake Malawi. With virtually no civilisation around, you get a clean, unpolluted view of the night sky and crisp silence, except for the sound of waves lapping at the shore. Make sure you catch the sunset over the lake and mountains; the colours are extraordinary. The lodge also has plenty of other activities devoted to stargazing, which include night cruises and private dinners for two under the stars.
Tswalu Malori sleep-out, Tswalu Game Reserve, South Africa
This is another luxurious option with its large deck, stunning panoramic views over the vast game reserve and shower facilities. The Malori deck boasts a raised platform with a thatched overhang for protection should it rain. Guests can choose to sleep under the thatch or further along the deck where it is completely open. The quaint bush suite also has weatherproof blinds which can be rolled up or down according to preference.
Sleep-out at Kapama Private Game Reserve, South Africa
The Kapama Romantic sleep-out offers a million-star overnight experience. Sleeping in the open air on the reserve, elevated high above the ground under the African night sky is a uniquely romantic experience. The raised platform is furnished with an oversized bed festooned in white linen and billowing mosquito netting. It is completely safe yet surrounded by only wilderness and wildlife. You will arrive before sunset to watch the changing colours of evening and sip a sundowner followed by a five-course dinner served to you by a personal chef at an intimate table for two on the platform. Alternatively, you can enjoy dinner at the lodge and arrive at your romantic sleep-out venue afterwards. By night, it will be encircled by a ring of golden lantern light.
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