Starlight or star bright is the only illumination guests may need for an African safari sleepout. The idea of bedding down outside, literally ‘bush camping,’ is an experience to relish at African Bush Camps’ (ABC) Somalisa Concessionin Zimbabwe and Linyanti Expeditions in Botswana’s Linyanti Wildlife Reserve. The camps’ attentive staff and thoughtful designs ensure safety in environments where wildlife roam. How to sleep soundly under the stars in the African wilderness? Read on.
ABC’s Ray’s Pan Sleep-Out Deck in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.
Decked Out for Sleep
Nestled in the heart of Hwange National Park in northwest Zimbabwe, ABC’s award-winning Somalisa Concession recently unveiled Ray’s Pan Sleep-Out Deck, offering the opportunity of sleeping amid the golden savannah plains. Located 20 minutes from Somalisa’s Main Camp, Ray’s Pan accommodates two guests in a comfortable king-size bed supported by frames of repurposed rough-hewn wood and draped with mosquito netting from posters at each corner. Reached by stairs, the bed is set high above the ground on the upper level of a wooden deck built into a Leadwood tree next to a watering hole. The open space beneath the deck is surrounded by a border of logs. Ray’s Pan Sleep-Out Deck is outfitted with a wooden table and chairs for guests to enjoy wine or cocktails as the sun sets and self-serve coffee or tea at dawn.
A guide is always close by within earshot of guests and radio contact with the camp. If guests feel even the tiniest bit uncomfortable, they are welcome to return to their tents at Somalisa’s main, Acacia, or tented camps. Transportation to the camps is available via private vehicle at an additional charge. Access to the sleep out is seasonal and weather-dependent. Available for ‘exclusive use’ via advance reservation for guests staying a minimum of three nights at one of Somalisa’s camps, all signs point to Ray’s Pan being a popular experience, with private vehicles near fully booked for at least the next two months.
Linyanti Expeditions’ “Star Suites” in Chobe National Park in northern Botswana.
Suite Views of the Stars
Situated in a private concession bordering the wildlife paradise of the Chobe National Park in northern Botswana, Linyanti Expeditions is an intimate expeditions camp that exudes an era of safaris gone by. It’s a preferred destination for travelers seeking an authentic and adventurous African experience. Every traveler can sleep outside at Linyanti Expeditions: The boutique camp has space for 12 guests in six canvas tents. Each tent is firmly rooted on the ground for a feel of being connected to nature. The tent’s interiors are arrayed with en-suite bathrooms, eco-friendly chemical toilets, and al fresco bucket showers.
The tent’s exteriors include gazebo extensions – also known as “Star Suites” – and beds can be moved for guests to immerse themselves in the sights, sounds, and scents of nature while dozing under a blanket of dazzling stars. The main tented area invites guests to dine by an open fire overlooking the vast Linyanti wetlands. Adventure opportunities are aplenty, with guided walking safaris providing an exciting avenue to see abundant wildlife. This includes large herds of elephants and buffalo, open 4×4 vehicles for game drives, and mokoro (dugout canoe) safaris on various waterways.
The Sleep-Out Deck overlooking Ray’s Pan, a water hole in Hwange at night.