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Unique night experiences in Africa

Written by  Julie Graham

Ker & Downey Africa > Journal > Unique night experiences in Africa

Night time in Africa offers travelers a plethora of unique experiences.  

When the sun sets and night falls upon the African bush, the landscape transforms. The pitch black skies become bedazzled with a blanket of stars, shimmering down on the trees and reflecting in the rivers and lakes. The sounds of the bush start to change as some animals take rest for the night, while others are just waking up. The nocturnal sounds of hooting owls, cackling hyenas, grunting hippos and bellowing lions are heard amongst the singing of frogs, crickets and other critters. 

There is so much magic to experience in the bush when the lights are out. It is an opportunity to spot the more elusive animals, like genets or even the rare aardvark. It is both a reflective and thrilling time, filled with opportunity and potential. And there is no better place to be when night falls, than right in the thick of it.  

Here are some of our top night experiences in Africa to have when darkness falls on the bush, located at some of our favorite luxury safari lodges and camps:

Stargazing at andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

Stars in the sky on a night safari in the desert with Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in the background.

A blanket of stars fills the sky at andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge | Image credit: Jack Alexander & Fox Browne Creative

Experience a truly remarkable smorgasbord of stars in the clear Sossusvlei Desert sky each night at the ultra-exclusive Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. Located deep in the world’s oldest living desert, this stargazing paradise borders the International Dark Sky Reserve of the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia.

An astronomer with a telescope showing guests the stars in the sky during a night safari andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.

 Guests are invited to celebrate the magnificent skies with a resident astronomer.
Located deep in the world’s oldest living desert, this stargazing paradise borders the International Dark Sky Reserve of the NamibRand Nature Reserve.

This prestigious status is given to a select few regions in the world where the skies are void of light pollution and boast the most extraordinary stargazing on Earth. A sophisticated on-site observatory, state-of-the-art  Celestron CPC 1100 GPS (XLT) computerised telescope and a large stargazing skylight above your bed are all available. Guests are encouraged to get lost deep in the secrets of the sparkling African skies each night – an unrivalled experience that is hard to find elsewhere in the world.

Night Safaris at Sanctuary Baines’ Camp, Botswana

People alongside a body of water watching the sun set and having drinks before a night safari at Sanctuary Baines’ Camp.

Sundowners before a night game drive in the Okavango Delta.

Sanctuary Baines’ Camp is an intimate safari camp situated on a private concession bordering the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Renowned for its diverse wildlife species, it is known as one of the premium destinations in the world for a dynamic safari experience. The camp is named after the famous 19th century explorer, Thomas Baines, and there is an adventure to be had around each corner.

After an exciting evening out on safari, the adventures continue with an indulgent soak under the stars in your own private star bath.

A sunset bubble bath with candles after a nights safari at Sanctuary Baines’ Camp.

Each luxury suite at Sanctuary Baines’ Camp features an outdoor star bath on a private balcony.

Teeming with wildlife, the Okavango can either be explored by morning and evening game drives, or mokoros (or dug out canoes). Seasonal night drives are a thrilling experience where guests are able to spot some of the nocturnal animals and birds that aren’t visible during the day. After an exciting evening out on safari, the adventures continue with an indulgent soak under the stars in your own private star bath. Each suite also features a mobile four-poster bed which can be wheeled onto the private balcony for a night under the star-studded sky.

Fly-camping at Nomad Sand Rivers Selous, Tanzania

A man, woman and tent next to a river with a boat in the background on a night safari at Sands River Selous.

Arriving at the camp after a walking safari at Nomad Sand Rivers Selous

Sand Rivers Selous, located high on a rocky peninsula in the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania were some of the first to introduce the idea of fly-camping to the world. Essentially, fly-camping involves sleeping out in the wilderness with minimal facilities. It is the ultimate form of connecting to the African bush and exploring deep into off the beaten track spaces.

Three people sitting around a table alongside a river with a campfire at Sands River Selous during a night safari.

A guide chats to his guests as they prepare for dinner under the stars.
Evenings are best enjoyed around a crackling fire under a blanket of stars listening to the nocturnal calls of the bush.

This bucket list experience at Sand Rivers Selous typically involves a walking safari during the day, observing large and small animals on foot. A comfortable tent, hot water bucket shower, and delicious meal awaits at the end of the day and your adventure deep into the wilderness. Evenings are best enjoyed around a crackling fire under a blanket of stars listening to the nocturnal calls of the bush. There is nothing quite like it in the world.

Treehouse Experience at Serian The Nest, Kenya

A gas lamp and bed in a treehouse overlooking a river during a night safari.

Sunrise overlooking the river after spending the night at The Nest.

Unlike fly-camping, a starbed or treehouse experience is a more permanent structure, but with the same concept: to get as deep into the wild as possible, and sleep under the stars listening to the sounds of the African bush come alive at night. Located in one of the most game-rich regions of Kenya, the great Masai Mara National Park, Serian The Nest perched high in the trees.

A Maasai guide will escort you to the treehouse on a walking safari in the day, and leave you overnight to sleep under the stars to the sounds of grunting hippos below.

Maasai guides armed with bow and arrows walking ahead to The Nest.

Situated on the western side of the great Mara River, the treehouse is only accessible by foot. A Maasai guide will escort you to the treehouse on a walking safari in the day, and leave you overnight to sleep under the stars to the sounds of grunting hippos below. The Nest comes well equipped with a flushing toilet, bucket shower, meal service, infrared spotlight and even a night-vision camera to capture the thrilling action of the night!

Get in touch with our expert team today to experience a night safari that places you in the very heart of the African bush!