There are so many ways to experience Africa aside from your traditional safari, and our expert Alex has sampled pretty much all of them (we’re particularly excited about her new riding itineraries, with the chance to race with giraffe and come eye to eye with elephants!) Sometimes, however, the most magical way to experience Africa is from the comfort of your own bed...
We’ve picked our top 5 African sleep-outs: beneath a canopy of stars, immersed in the rustles and roars of the bush, and lost in endless desert plains.
1. Star Bed at Loisaba, Kenya
With open-air bubble baths, and a renowned spa, Loisaba couldn’t be more relaxing. But forget the spa treatments for a minute; as far as we’re concerned, there’s no better salve for the soul than a night beneath the equatorial sky.
2. Return to the Wild with Norman Carr Safaris, Zambia
Get back to the days of Safari pioneers, and bed down with nothing but a mattress roll, mosquito net, and storm lantern. As the lights go out on Zambia’s dry Luwi river-bed, the night will be punctuated by the shrill cry of the African Cops Owl, and shadowy creatures slinking across the sand.
3. Star Bed at Nkwichi, Mozambique
Lulled to sleep by the waves of Lake Niassa, this is one of the most romantic sleep-outs we can think of (almost worth getting hitched, just so you can spend you’re honeymoon here!) But it’s not just the setting that makes Nwkichi so unforgettable: it’s the people who work here, and the locals who are some of the friendliest you’ll ever meet.
4. The Chalkley Tree House at Lion Sands, South Africa
The Chalkley Tree House at Lion Sands is the perfect place to re-live your childhood (although with a canopied bed, and even a loo, it’s a tad more luxurious than most tree-houses you will have experienced!) At sunset, you’ll be taken to the ancient Leadwood tree for drinks and a picnic – on the same site that Guy Aubrey Chalkley once clambered and set up camp away from resident lions – before being left alone for the night...
5. Wolwedans Dune Lodge, Namibia
Wolwedans Dune Lodge has its own star bed lost amongst the endless dunes of the Namibian desert, but for classic ‘Out of Africa’ experience, the safari camp itself is just as special. Another way to experience the incredible lunar landscapes is by hot air balloon: drift off at sunset, and watch as the orange sky dissolves into the desert.