There are many five-star accommodation options available on an African safari, but I’d like to tell you about a select group of so-called ‘million-star’ properties: raised platforms, star beds and treehouses where you drift off to sleep serenaded by the sounds of the African night, as stars, planets and satellites keep watch.
Enjoy dinner at your luxury lodge before your guide drives you to your new quarters, or eat a specially prepared meal out in the bush. Raised high, you’ll be perfectly safe, and most of the star beds I’ve slept in have been every bit as luxurious as the lodge I left behind, with bathroom facilities at hand.
Kenya is one of my favourite places for a safari under the stars – my first experience on a star bed in Laikipia left me completely starstruck. And when spending the night in a Masai Mara treehouse, you can count wildebeest rather than sheep to help you drift off.
Southern Tanzania has some of the best astral safari spots, and I’ll never forget snoozing in a Selous treehouse that seemed to vibrate as a lion roared across the river. It was as exciting as when I went fly camping in Ruaha. Depending on the time of year, you could have Orion as a bedfellow, while other hunters prowl nearby.
In Zimbabwe, sleeping above a waterhole at Mana Pools ensures you’ll hear plenty of nocturnal activity. Or further south, in South Africa, some sleeping decks have even become destinations in their own right, such as The Malori, under the fabled diamond skies of the Kalahari, or Kingston Treehouse, which you reach by crossing a small drawbridge in the Greater Kruger.
Zambia offers another unique overnight experience: sleeping with just a mosquito net between you and the stars when fly camping in South Luangwa. Give it a try.
Here’s to sleeping under the stars and building castles in the air…