A luxury Masai Mara treehouse offers you the chance to sleep under the stars in the middle of the African bush and experience the wild savannah in its intoxicating, night-time incarnation.
It’s one of the most romantic things I’ve ever done: sleeping under the stars in a luxury Masai Mara treehouse. We arrived at the treehouse on foot from the main camp. From a distance, it looked like a giant eagle’s nest in the top of an old tree. The delightful structure was perched on a platform among the branches of a lone warburgia overlooking a bend in the Mara River.
The tree trunk was scarred with the marks of leopard claws. Branches enveloped us as we climbed to our leafy eyrie. There was a nest-shaped bed, an open deck and the wide expanse of Kenya‘s Masai Mara stretching out before us. It was just perfect.
We enjoyed a simple meal under the stars to the sounds of harrumphing hippo … and then to bed with my partner in this place of amazement. There was enough space in our Masai Mara treehouse for a second bed and a few bedrolls to bring along the kids. It certainly had the whole Swiss Family Robinson thing going for it, but I’m glad it was just the two of us – the romance of the spot was entrancing.
The sounds and smells, the feeling of sheer wildness, are unforgettable. It was snug and warm under the duvet, and yet our bed was open to the elements. The scent of the earth’s muskiness, a sickle moon casting its pale light, the trilling of crickets. It was mysterious, comforting, beguiling.
Here we were, just the two of us, sleeping out of doors in the heart of the African wilderness … and perfectly safe. Just think, there could have been lion, hyena or even elephant just a few metres away, yet we were hidden in our idyllic treetop eyrie.
We stared and stared at the night sky: a satellite, the occasional shooting star. A word about those stars: I had never seen the sky so bright, so clear … the stars so incandescent. The city sky is a pale, muted thing by comparison. It was hard getting to sleep, such was their splendour and my intoxication with them.
Just 50m from us lay a stretch of water filled with raucous hippo that woke us every now and then with their amiable honking. The plains beyond thronged with masses of wildebeest and the air hummed with their insistent ‘gnuing’, a bit like a swarm of bees on steroids. But it was a strangely soothing sound.
We got up a few times during the night to see whether there was any action along the river banks. Night-vision cameras had been installed on our platform, so we could monitor the coming and going of wildlife.
‘Look!’ my partner whispered, aiming the camera at a nearby bush. I peered through the lens and saw the dark, speckled shape of a hyena loping along the bank, up to some mischief no doubt. Later, we spotted a pair of timid jackals coming down to drink, all fleet-footed and flighty. Then it was back to bed, serenaded by the cry of a fiery-necked nightjar and the occasional baritone hoot of an owl.
We woke at dawn to the twitter of birds all around us, as though we were in a giant aviary. The sun lifted from the horizon and we sat on our bed wrapped in a red Maasai blanket and drinking coffee as the world came alive. It was quite magical. Game began coming down to drink. First, a herd of wildebeest, then lines of zebra, followed by a rowdy bunch of elephant that trumpeted and cavorted about in the water like naughty school kids. The hippo honked back in a delightful cacophony. It was better than a symphony orchestra!
I didn’t really want to get out of bed and could probably have lain recumbent in our nest all day. But there was a game-drive vehicle waiting and a morning of safari activities in store. The day ahead promised plenty of adventure, rounded off with drinks by the log fire, sharing tales of the African bush, with the tale-telling continuing over a delicious dinner.
Sleeping in a Masai Mara treehouse on our luxury Kenyan safari had added a new and unforgettable dimension to our luxury safari experience, and the kind of close and personal engagement with the night-time wilderness that few tourists ever encounter.