What could possibly be more exotic than falling asleep under a sky ablaze with falling stars?

Nothing.

Unless…

Are we allowed to call it a tie with waking up to heart breakingly clear blue skies in the morning?

The idea of abandoning your super comfortable lodge accommodations for a night sleeping in the wild might be a thrill too far for some and for others the practicalities of it all may simply be a little too daunting. It is Africa after all. And Rothschild Safaris tend to operate in areas where the Big 5 run free. With ‘Big 5’ being a label invented by the ‘Gentlemen Hunters’ of a bygone era for the animals they feared the most. Most of us will agree that the lions we positively seek out by daylight very few of us would volunteer to meet in the small hours of the night.

Sleep out because,

it is a very limited offer usually only for one night during your stay to experience a remote location.

There is no better way to connect with the essence of wild Africa—without removing yourself from civilization or signing up for reality TV.

And here is the thing: when it comes to this adventure in the bush the odds really are forever in your favor. Because your hosts will have thought of (almost) everything!

If it will help you take the plunge and opt for a night out we will let you in on some of the insider’s tips and tricks of the trades here.

Lion Sands (Sabi Sand Game Reserve)

Guides

You will either have guides sleeping nearby or have an easy way to summon a guide quickly. The company will know exactly how much space will be safe to allow between your bed and the closest staff member.

Lights

You will be provided with lights – battery operated and maybe lanterns – with clear operating instructions. If you are thinking of sleeping out you might want to plan your safari around the full moon. In the African bush it is quite possible to spot animals by moonlight but if you are keen to spot stars instead you will be better off during the dark moon time of the month. Consider the fact that you will be able to see the stars better once your eyes become accustomed to the dark. And while it takes human eyes between 20 and 60 minutes to adjust fully to dark mode it only takes a second of light to reverse the process.

Sanctuary Makanyane

Snacks

It might be best to enjoy a good dinner and then wait until breakfast before you indulge again. Snacks in your luggage can attract anything from pesky insects to early rising birds and monkeys.

Shoes and crawlies

It is always a good idea to check your shoes for little lodgers on safari. Especially on a night out. If you ever worry about bugs finding their way into your shoes under your bed at night a great trick is to save a couple of cheap shower caps to slip your shoes into.

Zips

Keep everything zipped up and closed if you take bags with you.

Tswalu (Kalahari Game Reserve)

Pajamas

If you feel the cold you could cheat a little and wear long pajamas that can simply stay on underneath your safari clothes during the inevitable early start the next morning. That way you don’t have to expose skin to early morning air and can enjoy a warm shower or bath during siesta when you return to camp after the first game drive or walk of the day.

The Comfort Break

Camp will have your back here. The system might differ from area to area, but it will all be perfectly explained well in advance. All you need to remember is to keep shoes and lights where you can find them.

Rules

… were made to be broken. Especially on sleep outs in the African bush. The rule you must break is that ‘rules were meant to be broken’.

When it comes to wild animals it is easy to become complacent. A Safari might even lull you into a sense of being very at ease with all the wildlife. This is a complete fallacy and matters can get out of hand frighteningly quickly far from real civilization. So. Follow all the instructions you have been given to the letter. Ask all the questions (trust me there is nothing they haven’t heard before).

When in doubt. Don’t.

Half way beds

Some properties have star beds that you can access from your room. A bed on your roof perhaps? This way you can spend some time lying out at night, enjoying the night sky before returning to your own bed to sleep. It might be worth enquiring beforehand if this is something that sounds right up your safari street.

Relax

The most important tip of all.

People sleep out in the African bush every night of the year. Under normal circumstances wild animals do not consider you food any more than you look at your dog or cat and think dinner.

Loisaba Starbeds (Laikipia, Kenya)