Sleeping in an open-air room with nothing but the starry night sky above you in Africa is possible in a very special type of bed, called star beds or sleep out. When I finally had the chance to stay at Skybeds I was beyond impressed with how great sleeping in the African bush was, with only a mosquito net between the stars and me.
It takes around two hours to arrive from the closest lodge to the camp, Hyena Pan. Skybeds is on a private concession in the Okavango Delta, Khwai Concession. The lodge is used as a one night experience from neighbouring lodges only, as the attractiveness of the experience is to simply to sleep there, and a 1 night stay gives you the perfect amount of excitement.
Arriving at the lodge after around two hours of driving and safari and seeing the four chalets for the first time will put a wide smile on your face.
About the lodge
Your first impression will be one of surprise as the car pulls up and stops in front of the main area chalet, one of the four, and you climb up to the first level, where you can find a big wooden deck with the bathroom and a big table for communal eating.
Staying at Skybeds is a one-night experience so the main area is formed by only one chalet with two different levels and a fire pit next to it. On the second level of the chalet we find a small bar and another deck used as a viewing deck. In front of the lodge, about 150m from the chalets, there’s a waterhole where you can watch the animals drink, especially the elephants.
Staying at Skybeds: the rooms
There are three Skybeds rooms (2019) located on the left hand side of the common area. They all face the waterhole. The sun sets behind the waterhole too, making it a great sunset spot to observe wildlife.
Each Skybed is a freestanding chalet built with wood. The living area is 10 stairs high from the ground and the Skybed has two different levels.
On the first level you can find the bathroom, made from wood and canvas on one side. There is a shower (only hot on request or in the morning) as well as a sink and toilet. On the second floor (which is actually the third if you count the ground) you can find the room.
The Skybed room has a four-posted double bed with mosquito net surrounding it, as well as a little bench on the foot of the bed with pillows. There’s also a stepped section in the deck that can be used to sit on or as a table.
Your Skybed experience starts at one of the neighbouring lodges, the farthest away is Sable Alley and the closest is Hyena Pan. If you are coming from Sable Alley you will be driven to Hyena Pan after your morning game drive to arrive there around lunch time, approximately 2h.
After lunch you will drive to Skybeds while on safari, stopping at a waterhole hide (a covered room at almost water level) where one can observe the animals come and go for an hour or so.
You will arrive at Skybeds lodge before sunset, and will have plenty of time to enjoy sunset with a cold drink from the main area.
At night, a fire is cracking and you can talk with your fellow travellers or staff, sharing stories around the fire or at the dining table.
The next morning there’s a walking safari offered before breakfast and then the drive back to your lodge starts.
Check out the cinematic travel video of the stay below!
What I loved the most
The experience. It is without a doubt one of the top 3 most magic sweet dreams places where I´ve had the pleasure to sleep. Hearing the bush sounds with only a mosquito net around you makes for a great experience, knowing how safe you are in your Skybed nest.
Also waking up with the excitement to look up and see if you see any animals coming to the waterhole as the sun is rising.
Staying at Skybeds is definitely an experience for the bucket list!
What could be improved
Not really an improvement but it is worth noting the distances travelled that day. From Sable Alley, the farthest away lodge, you will drive around two hours on a game drive to get to Hyena Pan. From there, there´s another two hours to Skybeds, and the next day you repeat.
Even though you see animals it is more of a transfer than a game drive, the ranger is not trying to track footsteps as you have a place to get to. Being informed about the driving times is the single most important thing for this experience.
Would you dare sleep in a room surrounded by wild animals with only a mosquito net between you and the stars? Tell me in the comments below!