Although the wildlife in Kenya is second-to-none, the stargazing experience is definitely worth mentioning. On a clear night, the stars in the sky are crystal-clear and quite often constellations can be seen. It is said that a naked eye can see up to 2000-3000 stars at a time when you gaze into the sky. In remote parts of Kenya, with no city lights or pollution nearby, it may feel like you can see almost double that amount.
There are several ways you can sleep under the stars in Kenya. Some luxury camps and lodges have ‘sleep out’ facilities. These can be areas of the camp or lodge that allow you to sleep under the stars, such as a balcony or private veranda. There is also an option to do fly camping. This term, regularly used in the safari industry, is a unique experience where you sleep in the wilderness under a mosquito net.
This fly-camping experience will often be close to the main camp so that guests can return to their room if they wish but, the majority of people embrace the adventure and fall in love with the star-filled sky. Here are a few of the best places to sleep under the stars in Kenya:
Segera Retreat, Laikipia Plateau
As part of Segera Retreat in the heart of the Laikipia Plateau in central Kenya is their one-of-a-kind Bird Nest. Sat amongst the treetops, the Birds Nest is a double bedroom for couples or friends to enjoy a unique experience. It is designed to replicate a birds nest – with makuti and branches pointing upwards and creating a messy but beautiful ‘nest’. At night, the birds nest will be lit up by candlelight and lanterns, and as you are escorted to the nest, you will enjoy views of the Laikipia plains, along with the star-lit sky. The Birds Nest is part of a larger conservation project called the Zeitz Foundation and your stay here is donated towards the land conservation and wildlife protection programs in this area of central Kenya.
Loisaba Starbeds, Laikipia Plateau
As part of the Elewana Collection, Loisaba Starbeds is a unique property in the Laikipia Plateau in central Kenya. This area is famous for its vast landscape and expansive views. Loisaba Starbeds is made up of just three ensuite double rooms and one family room with an interconnecting walkway. Because of its size, this lodge has an inviting and intimate feel to it, especially with the roaring fire lit in the communal lounge area at night. But it is the rooms themselves that make this lodge so special. Each room has a four-poster bed with wheels. Every night after you are ready and tucked into bed, a Masai will come and wheel your bed out onto a private veranda. Here, you will be able to sleep under the stars from the comfort of your cosy four-poster bed which is surrounded by a mosquito net. Fall asleep staring at the sparkling sky and listening to the animals across the valley.
Cottars Camp, Masai Mara
Located in its own private conservancy in the Masai Mara Greater Reserve in Kenya is an iconic camp named Cottars. Although Cottars has three camps (1920’s, the bush villa and the conservation camp), we are focusing our attention on the stunning 1920s camp which is a step-back in history. The camp is designed in the style of the bygone era of the 1920s. Everything in the camp – from the old-fashioned suitcases to the chandeliers – screams of luxury chicness. The reason we have included Cottars Camp in this list is that they have a copper bath which you can bathe in and star-gaze at the same time. This baths have become iconic during your stay at Cottars and, on a conservancy of over 7000-acres, you have more than enough privacy.
Saruni Samburu, Kalama Conservancy
Saruni Samburu is one of the most breath-taking lodges in all of Kenya. Located outside of the Samburu National Reserve on its own conservancy, the lodge boasts expansive views over the Kalama Conservancy and Mount Kenya. The design of the lodge is completely unique and one of a kind in Kenya. It is built within the volcanic rock face, with rooms, viewpoints and lounge areas carved delicately around the rocks. Being perched up on a rock face is beneficial because the views are simply stunning. Furthermore, the stars from an area that is simply so untouched by human presence are so bright and impressive. The lodge is all open to the element, so you can enjoy the stars from all areas in the lodge.
Angama, Masai Mara
Angama is certainly a wow-factor lodge in the Masai Mara. In Swahili, the word ‘Angama’ means to be ‘suspended in mid-air’, and they could not have chosen a more appropriate name for this incredible lodge. Angama sits on the very top of an escarpment, overlooking the iconic game-filled plains of the Mara Triangle. With many lounge areas around the lodge, including an amazing veranda with a firepit and bar area, you can enjoy the sunshine during the day, and the stars during the night. Although the lodge itself is quite lit up, the stars above the Kenyan plains are so bright. Between the months of August and October, you can even see both 2 million stars in the sky, and 2 million wildebeest on their annual migration.
Sabuk Lodge, Laikipia Plateau
Sabuk is another lodge in the Laikipia Plateau which offers a truly unique experience sleeping under the stars. The lodge is amongst remote wilderness, and overlooks the Ewaso Ngiro River. The main area is impressive, with tall makuti-style roofs and a viewpoint open to the elements. In fact, all of the rooms are very open, bringing the outside in. In some rooms, there are beds on the private verandas, so you can sleep under the stars and fall asleep to the sound of the flowing river. This lodge offers a wealth of activities to do during your stay, including camel and horse riding, game drives, walking safaris and tubing on the Ewaso Ngiro River.
Graham Carter is the Director of Unforgettable Travel Company. Unforgettable Travel Company is a leading tour operator that designs immersive and unforgettable trips across the world, following its slogan of Why Do Ordinary.