Visualize falling asleep with the sound of a lion roaring off in the distance. What looks like something that could only happen in a daydream is really a reality at one safari in Zambia, offering people the chance to get as close to wildlife as humanly possible.
The Sleepout Under the Stars experience, offered as an add on to a jungle safari with Time + Tide at numerous different camps throughout Zambia, is what nature visions are made of: stay the night on a bedroll under a net or a two-person hammock lifted up in the air, bounded by nothing but pure views of the African countryside around you.
Mindy Roberts, Time + Tide’s chief marketing officer, stated, that for one night, visitors are offered the chance to redefine what luxury means. (Not to mention Zambia was called one of Travel + Leisure’s 50 best places to travel in 2018).
Visitors head out for the sleepout after a spot of evening tea at one of Time + Tide’s high-end campgrounds, walking to their sleeping spot for the night. And while you may be giving up some of the luxuries of the camp itself, you’re not entirely roughing it: a private chef goes with you.
“It’s an exclusive experience where you are hearing hyenas, you are hearing lions. We like to say you’re taken out of your world and put into theirs. This is the animals’ home… and we’re the visitor,” Roberts said, adding: “Isn’t luxury just being able to appreciate the simple things in life and having a moment of peace and calm?”
Sleepout Under the Stars was primarily launched 10 years ago at the company’s camps in South Luangwa National Park. Now, they’ve expanded!
In the last few months, Time + Tide started offering the experience at their other camps in Liuwa Plain National Park and Lower Zambezi National Park. And in the next year, Roberts said the idea to launch the experience by their campsite in Madagascar (their resort Miavana was called of Travel + Leisure’s editors’ picks of the best new hotels in the world for 2018).
Several people, still, are nervous about the idea of pushing nothing but a net between them and the wild animals — and only about 10 per cent of the camps’ guests take benefit of the package. But Roberts said that all tend to change when people get to the campsite (the sleepout, though, must be booked in advance).
“This is really a moment, a reconnection in a way, you don’t get in many other places,” Roberts said. “There’s a magic that’s almost indescribable.”
The Sleepout Under the Stars is an add-on to a stay at one of Time + Tide’s camps and is an extra charge of $275 per individual with at least of two people. You must be at least eight years old to take part.