Was this your first experience of sleeping under the stars? We have slept under the stars during a camel trek in Northern Kenya, which was very basic and pretty rustic. The sleep-out in the Hide at Morukuru Family Madikwe, overlooking a waterhole from an elevated platform, was a very different and much more enjoyable and comfortable experience, thanks to the soft bed, thick duvet, warm blankets and hot-water bottles!Everyone should try this because...it enables you to forget about the rest of the world entirely and experience the “here and now” without any distractions. It’s peaceful, quiet and very relaxing.
Sightings at the waterhole are unparalleled - what did you spot? As we drove up to the Hide, a large elephant bull walked away from the waterhole. Shortly after we arrived, a white rhino came to drink and at first light the following day; we saw four spotted hyenas, zebra and Impala. We slept so well. We did not even hear the herd of buffalo that came to drink (judging by the tracks the next morning). There is nothing like the peace of the bush - what did you hear? Anything unusual or never-before-heard? We were very lucky with the weather; it was a clear and cool autumn night, with no wind at all. That means sound carried, and in the distance, we heard lions roar and hyenas cackle. We also caught the sounds of nightjars and bats. Listening to absolute silence is also a unique experience. The next morning the various birds started calling one by one, which combined with the spectacular colours of the sunrise, made for the best wake-up call ever!
We often forget about scent - can you sum up the smell of the bush for us? It’s that earthy smell of dust, combined with some very fragrant plants like wild sage, potato bush and a few others. We enjoyed the pure, fresh air.
The stargazing was glorious because ... there is absolutely no light pollution in the area, and there was no moon either. That means the Milky Way was visible in all its glory, as well as the Southern Cross, Scorpio and a few other constellations.
What do you think the perfect nightcap is - to enjoy under the stars? We opened a bottle of red wine, Cabernet Sauvignon. We sat in darkness, admiring the stars, listening to the sounds of the night and occasionally scanning the waterhole with the LED spotlight. Magical!
Sleeping under the stars is good for you because... it restores your inner soul and allows you to reconnect with nature again. Switch off from the rest of the world and your daily worries, take a deep breath and relax. It’s almost a healing experience and reconnects you with what is important in life.
Did you indulge in Amarula Coffee in the morning? That would most certainly have been possible, as our guide kindly provided us with a box that (besides the bottle of wine, soft drinks and beers) also contained a flask with hot water, teas, coffee, hot chocolate and indeed a bottle of Amarula too. However, I opted for a Rooibos tea while watching the zebra and impala drinking at the waterhole. Would you agree that this is quite an intimate experience...and did you feel a greater sense of reconnection to nature? 100%! It is quite an exceptional experience to arrive at the Hide in the dark, well after dinner, and the guide leaves you alone and goes back to the house. It did make us feel reconnected with our surroundings. We enjoyed the absolute silence, the darkness, the sensation of not knowing what will happen and the excitement and anticipation of perhaps seeing animals coming for a drink at the waterhole during the night. Feeling the slight breeze on our faces when lying in bed, being woken up by birds the next morning and, through the mozzie net, see the sky slowly change colour and getting brighter as the sun is about to pop up over the horizon. It is a truly magical experience that I would love to do again—highly recommended!