July 2014 – Wilderness Safaris offers a range of “sleep-out” options to suit the discerning tastes of all travellers – from luxury-seeking honeymooners to adventurous family groups. Gently drifting to sleep with nothing between you and the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere is the purest way to appreciate the nocturnal sights and sounds of the bush.
For those seeking the ultimate immersion experience without having to compromise on comfort, the Star Bed at Abu Camp in Botswana’s Okavango Delta is a must. Overlooking the elephant boma, the double-storey platform includes a bathroom with shower, toilet and basin on the lower level, and a permanent queen-size bed with draped mosquito netting above, where guests are lulled to sleep by the contented rumbling and low snores of the elephants.
Others may prefer the simplicity of a “sleep-out” platform. These tend to be located a short drive away from camp in spectacular settings, accommodating between four and eight people each. Guests typically spend the night either on a bed, or a comfortable bed roll, with basic ablution facilities nearby. At all sleep-out decks, a highly-qualified guide is on standby to ensure guests’ safety at all times and in case they need assistance during the night. In Botswana, this option is available at Jao, Little Tubu, and Tubu Tree camps in the Okavango Delta, and at DumaTau and Savuti camps in the Linyanti. In Zimbabwe, a sleep-out deck is also offered at Ruckomechi Camp in Mana Pools, and construction of a platform at Hwange’s Madison Pan, a 20-minute drive away from Little Makalolo is nearing completion.
For those who want to experience the thrill of sleeping under the stars without having to wander too far away from their creature comforts, several Wilderness Safaris camps have added private Star Beds onto the guests’ rooms. In Namibia, both Little Kulala and Kulala Desert Lodge in Sossusvlei have decks located on the flat rooftops of each unit, while at Doro Nawas Camp in the Damaraland region, guests can roll their beds out onto their patio to appreciate the star-studded skies from the comfort of their very own space. A similar experience is on offer at Kalahari Plains in Botswana, with a sleep-out area on the roof of each of the 10 canvas units.
Another elegant option is found at Segera Retreat in Laikipia, Kenya. Here, guests can spend a romantic evening outdoors on romantic lantern-lined swing-beds suspended under the six timber and thatch villas.
These sleep-out experiences are a magical, unique way for guests to experience the African bush and get closer to nature while on safari.