What is a sleep out deck or star bed?
In a 2019 travel trend report found that 80% of Earth’s land mass suffers from light pollution, while for 99% of people in Europe and the USA the night sky is obscured by artificial lighting. More people are travelling solely to see the night sky in all its starry splendour.
This recent rise in astrotourism has seen some star-savvy destinations set up outdoor decks and snazzy open-air bedrooms that allow guests to savour the Milky Way. Often, these are set in wilderness areas away from main lodge buildings and their bright lights.
Here in Southern Africa, we’re blessed with crazy constellations and soaring stars that flood our skies once the sun dances back down below the horizon every evening. Whether you’re after starry-eyed romance or an off-the-grid adventure, these epic overnight stays are sure to seduce.
Namibia’s Best Star Beds
Namib Dune Star Camp. Solitaire
Star-studded skies aren’t hard to find in the Namib Desert. With a bed built onto wheels designed to roll out beneath the Southern Cross, these simple suites definitely do not distract from the night sky. Situated on the crest of ancient sand dunes, Namib Dune Star Camp consists of just nine cabins that each face out into the delicate desert environment. Oryx often trot across the view and an early morning stroll will deliver countless desert delights, such as the scurrying sand-coloured lizards.
The details: Namib Dune Star Camp is an eco-friendly camp situated in the same area as Sossusvlei. Solar panels on the cabins provide hot water and lights, and water is pumped from a nearby borehole. Get the Gondwana Card to qualify for SADC discounts.
Tok Tokkie Trail. NamibRand Nature Reserve
Ok, this one requires some legwork, but the rewards are all worth it. This two-night slackpacking trail will have you sleeping out in one of just 11 Dark Sky Reserves in the world. Sleep out among the stars on cosy stretchers brimming with soft linen and experience the different faces of the Namib up close. Feel the rugged mountainous terrain and soft sandy dunes, and discover the unusual Fog-basking Tok Tokkie beetle, after which the hike is named.
The details: The three-day, two-night Tok Tokkie Trail will have you sleeping under the stars on stretcher beds in a bedroll. Bathroom facilities comprise a long-drop toilet, hand basin and bucket shower. Don’t let that fool you though. This is a luxurious hike with three-course dinners, luggage transfers and great guides. Again, more affordable SADC rates apply.
A star-studded night is absolutely a grand idea, so don’t wait too long to experience it in Namibia.
Writer: Melanie Van Zyl creates well researched, beautifully photographed travel pieces for both print and online platforms. She is based in Johannesburg and is a regular contributor to South Africa's oldest travel magazine, Getaway and platforms such as Culture Trip. Her proudest features are about South Africa's best night-sky destinations, how to see the best of Botswana in 10 days, Mauritius' foodie backstreets in Port Louis, camping my way through the Kruger National Park, 4x4ing across the Namib Desert, sailing by dhow across Mozambique's Bazaruto and tripping over elephants on a wild journey through the Zambezi Region in northern Namibia. She is also an Advanced Open Water PADI Diver, Accredited 4x4 Driver and Level 1 Field Guide and use these skills as a photographer and story-teller to share the thrill of adventure. So, please do enjoy the complete blog by clicking here: Southern Africas Star Beds.
Where would you like to sleep out and experience a star-studded night in Namibia?If have experienced one before, share with us why it is an extraordinary experience.