Have you ever imagined sleeping under the famous African stars, completely alone out in the wilderness? I was lucky enough to stay in the star beds when I visited Loisaba Tented Camp (Star Bed Camp). It is a truly unique adventure; there really isn’t anything quite like it – it’s virtually impossible to try to explain the incredible feelings I experienced!
The star beds themselves are handcrafted, luxury four-poster beds that sit on raised wooden platforms jutted out from a thatched-roof accommodation (they are in a room which essentially only has one wall). Each night the beds are rolled out onto the balcony of the room for guests to enjoy the most memorable sleep under the epic African sky. Getting into the beds is a bit of a challenge as you have to orchestrate climbing up a little ladder and sliding under the huge mosquito net that protects you from unwanted bed companions! And, what’s more is there’s a hot water bottle for you to cuddle through the night making the whole experience feel a lot cosier.
I’ve never had an experience quite like this before, I practically had to go to sleep in my sunglasses as there was a full moon that night. Consider it like sleeping with the light on as it’s quite hard to turn off the moon! Falling asleep listening to the wildlife going about their nightly business was so peaceful and not at all frightening. The excitement of watching an amazing African sunrise was too much for me and I naturally awoke at around 4.30am. Being totally alone in this experience you really do feel at one with nature, it is such an intimate experience in a vast setting. Quite extraordinary.
I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face – it’s not often you get to fully switch off from the busy life back at home toreflex on everything, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. I spent my morning spying on a hippo down by the river meander having his morning bathe; I watched some playful young impalas in the distance as well as trying to identify as many African birds that I could. A busy morning all round. I just wish I could have recorded all the weird and wonderful sounds I had heard throughout the night and have had an expert tell me who was out and about. I do know that I heard a lion roaring – that’s for sure!
You probably have the same questions that I had when it comes to considering this experience. Is it safe? What happens if a lion comes to eat me?! What happens if it starts raining in the night? The short answers are – it is extremely safe, there is a fenced perimeter around the star camp that keeps out the bigger wildlife. The fence is electric and also monitored throughout the night by a ranger who will protect you. No lions will make it in to gobble you up! As for the rain, if it is sprung upon you during the night then the lodge staff will creep into your room and roll your bed back under the thatch roof so you don’t get sodden (or woken). This happens very rarely because usually they are very good at predicting the weather each night.
Laikipia, in northern Kenya, is home to a diverse range of wildlife. What makes this area that little bit more special is that you are fully immersed into the untamed bush; the Loisaba Tented Lodge is also a working cattle farm where lots of important wildlife research is carried out. There are no park rules; no caged animals; and because of the successful co-operation between land owners, local communities and professional conservationists the fences have been taken down – so you have a chance to see the real, rugged Africa. The area is renown for its large population of elephants and Grevy’s zebra – the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra. The area also has a very stable lion population, as well as greater kudu and some wild dog; and many, many more species.
It is a fabulous part of Kenya to visit as not only can you stay in the wonderful star beds but you have endless activities to choose from other than a game drive – including horseback safaris, walking safaris, fishing, visits to see the anti-poaching dogs, camel safaris as well as mountain bike safaris. Although the famous star beds are based here at Loisaba Star Bed Camp you can have similar experience throughout Africa, just have to ask the experts…