Any visit to the bush is a magical experience but nothing is quite as magical as being able to experience the sights and sounds of the bush while sleeping under the stars. Of course, the minimalist lifestyle isn’t for everyone and while some would love to spend the night sleeping on a rock wrapped up in nothing but a sleeping bag, others prefer a little bit of luxury when they’re in the great outdoors. Trust us, we don’t blame you! Which is why we’ve put together a list of some of the best ‘sleep-outs’ and ‘star beds’ in South Africa. These unique accommodation options allow you to spend the night under the stars, complete with a luxurious bed and other amenities, in the bush and really immerse yourself in the experience. Here are 10 of the most amazing star beds and bush sleep-outs in South Africa!

1. The Lion Sands Treehouses at Ivory Lodge – Sabi Sands Game Reserve

Lion Sands Game Reserve

Chalkley’s Treehouse, Lion Sands Game Reserve

The Lion Sands Treehouses are the ultimate bush bedrooms. Guests arrive at sunset to a scrumptious picnic dinner, and spend the hours of dusk fully appreciating the vastness of the bushveld as it transforms from day to night. And, when you’re ready to hit the hay you can sleep directly beneath the Milky Way where you may well lose count of the shooting stars. This unique experience is the perfect romantic getaway and is ideal as a honeymoon or anniversary treat. But, before you think you’re going to be left all alone you can take comfort in the fact that all three of the treehouses are securely constructed above the ground, where animals will remain at a safe and comfortable distance.

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2. Rhino Post Safari Lodge Plains Camp – Kruger National Park

Rhino Post Plains Camp, Kruger National Park

Rhino Post Plains Camp, Kruger National Park.

No visit to Kruger is complete without a visit to the Plains Camp at Rhino Post Safari Lodge. Guests wanting to enjoy a unique experience will be able to walk out to the ‘sleep-out’ camp to spend the night on elevated wooden platforms with unrivaled views of the park. While it is no means as romantic as The Lion Sands Treehouses this spot is a must-visit for those wanting an incredible bush experience with family and friends. Guests walk to the platforms in the late afternoon and arrive just in time for a braai and sundowners overlooking the watering hole. You will sleep under a lightweight mosquito net but that is all that will come between you and the bush.

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3. Tswalu Kalahari ‘Malori Sleep-out Deck’ – Kalahari

Tswalo Malori sleep-out

Tswalu’s Malori’s sleep-out deck.

Tswalu Kalahari’s Malori sleep-out deck gives guests the opportunity to sleep in a luxury king-size bed on a raised deck in the middle of a game reserve, surrounded by the calls of nocturnal animals, with nothing between you and the brilliant stars of the Kalahari night sky! The beautiful and luxurious deck boasts a raised platform with a thatched overhang for protection n case of rain. Guests can choose to sleep under the thatch or further along the deck where it is completely open. And, of course, there is no compromise on luxury when sleeping under the stars at Tswalu – the bed is dressed with exquisite Aldona linen, luxury towelling robes and slippers are provided and an adjacent outdoor toilet, basin and shower are just a short distance away along a lighted walkway. Guests are escorted to the sleepout by a guide on a game vehicle from either The Motse or Tarkuni Private Villa. On arrival, the guide will introduce you to the facilities and help set up drinks and snacks and a pre-prepped dinner.

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4. Tanda Tula Machaton Hide – Timbavati Game Reserve

Machaton Hide Tanda Tulu

The Machaton Hide at Tanda Tulu.

Tanda Tulu overs guests a unique Overnight Walking Safari experience to allow visitors the opportunity to experience the beautiful African wildlife on foot and up close and to sleep under the stars. Each Walking Safari itinerary is individually tailored to suit guests’ requirements. A four-night walking safari package is generally recommended, with two nights spent at the base Tanda Tula Safari Camp and two nights in the bush at the remote Machaton Hide. The secluded Machaton Hide is located high up on a platform on the banks of the Machaton River. overlooking a popular watering hole. The Hide is rustic yet fully equipped with all the necessary creature comforts of camp beds, linen, mosquito nets, oil lanterns, bush showers and a loo. An intimate group of a maximum of six people per walking safari can be accommodated, making the experience ideal for families, friends and couples travelling together.

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5. Makanyane Safari Lodge Star-view Sleep-out – Madikwe Game Reserve

Makanyane Safari Lodge Star-view Sleep-out

Makanyane Safari Lodge Star-view Sleep-out.

Spend a night out in the open, quietly listening to the sounds of nocturnal animals surrounding your cozy bed secretly hidden next to a waterhole in the middle of the bush. This luxury spot located on a raised platform in the middle of the private Madikwe Game Reserve is illuminated with lanterns, allowing for stunning views during the day and uninterrupted star-spotting before you dose off to sleep. Here you can also enjoy dinner out in the bush, sheltered only by the starlit sky. Relax and enjoy the ambience of a flickering firelight as you chat away over drinks and nibble on culinary delights.

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6. Outcrop Open-air Room at Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve – Cederberg

Outcrop Open-air Room - Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve

Outcrop Open-air Room at Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve.

Just 250 km from Cape Town, Kagga Kamma offers guest the opportunity to sleep under the stars in an intimate bedroom setup. Situated on a remote rocky outcrop far away from the Lodge, this idyllic space offers a luxury double bed, basic bathroom amenities, lanterns, and a glowing fire where you can sit and chat the night away over drinks. With the typically crisp, clear night skies of Kagga Kamma guests love to lay back and watch shooting stars at night and in the morning be slowly awakened by the rising sun. Its beautiful, romantic setting and feeling of being in splendid isolation makes the Outcrop Open Air Room the perfect spot for honeymooners and couples that love nature. Expect fresh air, magnificent views, and no pollution to spoil the starlit skies above.

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7.  Leobo Private Reserve Hippo Camp – Waterberg

Leobo Private Reserve

Leobo Private Reserve.

Located in the malaria-free Waterberg area, Leobo Private Game Reserve offers a wonderfully romantic star bed which overlooks the lily pad covered hippo dam. Guests staying in this truly magical accommodation option often give reports of seeing giraffe eating around the elevated star bed and of course, are awoken by the sound of hippos entering the dam after a long night grazing.

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8. Garonga Bush Bath and Sleep-out – Hoedspruit

Garonga Bush Bath and Sleep-out - Hoedspruit

Garonga Bush Bath and Sleep-out.

Take time out for yourself and take a bath in the bush when you spend the night at Garonga’s sleep-out deck. Here you can spend the night on your own on a beautiful deck with stunning views overlooking the veldt. A mouth-watering picnic hamper, a drinks box, and hot drinks are left for you at the deck. The deck boasts a king-size bed, table and chairs, lanterns as well as a wash basin and toilet close by. The sleep-out is a 20-minute drive from the main camp and is said to be a truly magical experience!

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9. Mashovhela Lodge Waterfall Hammock Camp – Makhado

Mashovhela Lodge Waterfall Hammock Camp

Mashovhela Lodge Waterfall Hammock Camp – Makhado

If it’s rustic you want then head to Mashovhela Lodge in Makhado for a truly unique night under the stars. The lodge offers a hammock camp where adventurers can sleep under the stars, around a fire, in comfy hammocks. Guests staying for 3 nights or more have the option to use the Hammock Camp at no extra charge during their stay. Here you will get the opportunity to take in unrivaled views of night sky while listening to the sounds of the African bush. Guests leave the lodge for the camp, with a guide, after dinner and head out with a head torch and a backpack with their hammock, sleeping bag and essentials. The camp, which is a short distance from the Lodge, but far enough away so that the lodge lights and activities aren’t noticed, has its own bush shower and toilet facilities. Coffee and rusks can be enjoyed early the next morning.

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10. The Treehouse Africa on Foot – Kruger National Park

10. The Treehouse Africa on Foot - Kruger National Park

The Treehouse Africa on Foot.

Guests staying at Africa On Foot can choose to sleep in the beautiful semi-open Treehouse during their stay. This unique accommodation option is located a few hundred metres from camp and is basically a wooden structure reaching up into the trees with a game-viewing platform and a top deck with a bed and a view to be remembered. In summer it is warm and beautiful – perfect for fearless romantics! All game moves freely throughout the Great Kruger area where the lodge is based, but the reserves in the Greater Kruger are private meaning that the guests get an unbeatable safari experience.

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