In bed near the elephants

Wilderness Safaris: spending the night away from the lodges

Visitors stopped by at night and made themselves comfortable in the bushes, not far from the platform with the canopy bed. There was only a crackling and creaking noise at first. Then at some point, an elephant clears its throat before finally trumpeting. Coincidentally, the sun is rising on the horizon and driving away the thin morning mist over the savannah: what a night, what a dawn! Closer to Africa than this – that’s impossible.

‘Star Beds’ is what Wilderness Safaris calls these new private platforms in the midst of nature, away from the lodges: in the branches of trees, on stilts above the traditional sleeping areas of elephants, as a lookout by the waterhole. There are currently seven of them in Botswana and three new ones in Zimbabwe. The beds are always out in the open and at a safe height – surrounded only by white mosquito nets. As an added bonus, they provide the best view of the starry sky over Africa, on these many spots shining over the continent’s wildest regions. What does all this do to you? It will never let go of you.

Photo: © Dana Allen