January 14th, 2020

Africa's Top 5 Safari Sleep-outs

Written by:

Toby Pheasant


The Insider


‘Sleep out?’ we hear you say. ‘With all the lions, leopards and hyena in the middle of the African wilderness?!' 

‘You’d be mad not to!’ we'd retort. 

If you have the opportunity to sleep out when on safari in Africa, with nothing between you and the endless blanket of stars above, don't miss out. 

Away from the hum of fans and air-con, and without access to WiFi and phone reception, the sense of connectedness and immersion with your surroundings when you sleep out is indescribable.

Don’t worry though, all sleep-outs are safe! Depending on how brave you're feeling, there is a set-up for everyone - from raised platform structures to a simple mattress on the ground. 

These are our Top 5: 

Sand Rivers Selous

Selous Game Reserve - Tanzania 

Set upon the dry sand-banks of the Rufiji River in Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve, the Sand Rivers sleep-out is about as wild as it gets. 

As you drift onto the river bank you'll be blown away by the romance of the scene set out before you. Flickering lanterns dot the perimeter of your home, with a few deck-chairs circled around a camp-fire to cook this evening's meal.

Sand Rivers Selous

Tswalu Malori

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve - South Africa 

At Tswalu it’s all about the endless landscapes and rich colours. 

Arriving at the Malori sleep-out deck in time for sunset is a must. You’ll have time to enjoy the South African sun slowly dipping below the horizon filling the sky with deep reds, oranges and purples as you sip on a celebratory bottle of bubbles (Grapetizer works just as well). 

The deck is more permanent than that of Sand Rivers, but still beautifully open. 

Tswalu Malori

Serian 'The Nest'

Mara North Conservancy - Kenya 

Whether you’re a kid that has never grown up, or you're travelling with actual kids, look no further than the Serian’s 'The Nest' in Kenya. This is a treehouse to rival those of Peter Pan and Swiss Family Robinson.

As you set off on foot for the treehouse, practise your spear-throwing skills with your Masai Olympic guide (fear not, you won’t need this skill for self-defence). The treehouse overlooks the banks of the Mara River near to a shallow hippo pool, the residents of which lull you to sleep with their bellowing laughter. 

Serian 'The Nest'

Sky Beds

Khwai Private Reserve - Botswana

Deep in Botswana’s Okavango Delta tower Natural Selections four Sky Beds.

Enjoy an afternoon in a sunken hide watching herds of elephant come to drink and play mere trunk lengths away, before taking a short walk to Sky Beds

There are 5 high rise platforms, one for dining and watching the sunset and four for sleeping, perfect, in other words, for families or couples not wanting to be completely alone. Listen out for the roars of lions and the whoops of hyena!

Sky Beds

Little Kulala

Sossusvlei - Namibia 

When it comes to sleeping out under the stars, well, nowhere can compete with Namibia

The density of stars above you is almost so bright you think someone must have left a side-light on. Brush up on your constellations and keep your eyes peeled for hundreds of shooting-stars. 

The sleep-out at Little Kulala is directly above your room, so if the experience is all a little too much you can easily nip-down into your room for the rest of the night.

Little Kulala

Rooftop Tent

On Top of Car - Anywhere

We couldn’t resist adding one more... For the real adventurers out there, there is little more exhilarating than exploring the wilds in your own 4x4 with a tent on top!

After a day discovering uncharted territories, stop, pop open your roof-top-tent and get ready for a night out in the wild. To make this even better we recommend throwing in a few nights of luxury here and there too. 

Self-driving through Namibia

There we have it, our top 5/6 sleep-outs in Africa! 

There are, of course, many more fantastic options to choose from, so if this is something that interests you and we will make it work for you. 

Snuggle up

Thanks for reading,

The Bonamy Travel Team

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