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A Safari Under the Stars in a Luxury Treehouse

Words by: Michelle Loewenstein Source: More Family Collection

“A distant whooshing sound distracted me from taking in the uninterrupted views of the African bush around me. From my vantage point above the treetops, I looked down to see the flapping ears of an old bull elephant as he cooled himself alongside a younger male. I watched in awe as he used his huge tusks to snap trees in half as though they were twigs.”

As the sun set after a scorching day in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, the landscape slowly started to come alive with the sound of night-time’s creatures.
And so, began the ultimate girls’ night – Our Safari under the stars!
When I heard that my travel partner and I would be spending the night in Kingston Treehouse at Lion Sands Game Reserve, I was excited but nervous. What if some animal chooses us for dinner? What if it rains? What then?
Our guide had obviously heard these questions many times before. He reassured me that the Lion Sands River Lodge team were just a radio call away. Should the heavens open, they would whisk us back to our rooms at the Lodge. As for the animals, the treehouse is built above the ground with special consideration given to the safety of guests.
After a quick briefing on the features of the treehouse and all safety measures that have been taken, our guide was off, leaving us with a picnic basket full of goodies, an iPad for stargazing, a two-way radio and enough gin to see us through the night (and a few days had we needed it)!
Kingston’s Treehouse is covered, so a rainstorm was a welcome sight after a hot day spent on safari. As the warm water rinsed away the remnants of the day’s adventures, we were once again struck by the beauty of the treehouse’s remote location. Standing in the bathroom, you feel like you’re in the most secluded and private spot in Africa.
About halfway through our first G&T, our favourite sound in the world began – the distinctive whoops of hyenas that are synonymous with night-time in the bush.
More elephants visited us later in the evening and we could hear them crunching their way happily through the bush as we enjoyed dinner ‘together’ – theirs, a mixture of branches and leaves, and ours, a full 3- course dinner packed into the picnic basket that was fast beginning to seem like Mary Poppins’ bottomless carpet bag.
By the fading light of day, we paid homage to a sunset that literally left us silenced, before the darkness transformed the world into a planetarium! Lying beneath the stars – we counted 7 shooting from heaven to earth – in the dark, with the amplified sounds of the wildlife, this was hands-down one of the rawest and most profound experiences of our lives.
Somehow the coffee packed for us stayed hot until morning, and as we enjoyed it while watching the sun rise, a cheeky monkey hopped on our table and made off with a sachet of our sugar. We started to tuck into our breakfast snacks, and all too soon our guide arrived to fetch us. Then it was back to the comfort of our Suite at Lion Sands River Lodge, with what felt like an award for my night out in Africa tucked into my experience archives forever.