Awakening Wonder: Sleepout Under the Stars with Time+ Tide Safari
Join us on an African Safari Adventure, as resident photographer and explorer- Andrew Macdonald sets up the Safari Connect Tree Tent in its element- the wild savannahs of Liuwa plain, Zambia, at Time & Tide Africa's luxury camp! He paints a vivid picture of sleeping out under the stars, exploring ruggedly beautiful landscapes and being in harmony with the country's most iconic wildlife.
Walking across the Liuwa Plain in Zambia, it’s easy to feel like you and your group are the only people on earth. In every direction as far as the eye can see, grassy savannah stretches to the horizon, dotted with solitary trees and grazing wildlife. Like a dream in the mind of Stanley Livingstone, a swollen sun sinks through a coral sky as a flock of crested cranes takes to the sky.
A wisp of campfire smoke rises from a distant point, hinting that you may not be the only people after all. As you approach, the smell of meat grilling on the braai welcomes you into camp. A campfire crackles happily, surrounded by a crescent of folding canvas chairs. Just beyond your very own suspended Tree Tent sways gently in the breeze. This elevated form of safari fly-camp strips back the wilderness experience to the bare essentials, allowing for a pure and authentic connection with the natural world around you. This is your home for the night.
While the cook tends the meat sizzling over the flames, your guide passes around cold beers and gin and tonics – the perfect complement to an African sunset. Just like the sleepout adventures of your childhood, there is a carefree ease and joyful comradery to the group. The only worries you have now are when the braai will be ready. As the sunset fades to an apricot orange and creamy blue, the campfire tales begin to fly. A tradition older than time, the stories become ever more outrageous as the beer flows and the competition for most unbelievable adventure grows. ‘Trust me, you had to be there’ becomes the mantra of the night.
When the last chargrilled morsels and larger-than-life tales are finished, you retreat to your tents. Clambering in and zipping the flap shut, your Tentsile becomes your own private treehouse. You know you should sleep, but you’re far too giddy, feeling like you’re floating on air and awakening that childlike sense of wonder that once was your modis operandi. A stretch of sturdy canvas and cosy bedding beneath you, and a dome of gossamer mesh above you…this is the life. Overhead the Milky Way arches like a midnight rainbow across the indigo skies. A warm breeze passes through your tent, continuing onward to faraway lands. A chorus of chirping insects serenades you, punctuated by the distant calls of roaring lions and whooping hyenas. Tonight, you’ll dream of cosmos and lions and sailing through the endless skies.
As the first glow of sunrise warms the horizon, the smell of coffee beckons you out of your cosy cocoon. You pull your covers up to your chin, not wanting to leave the comfort of your tree tent. A fine layer of morning dew glistens on the mesh, smelling of petrichor and new adventures. Finally, the promise of caffeine and tracking those lions you heard all night lures you out of your new home.
The chef picks up a cast iron carafe from its spot nestled in the coals and pours you a mug of steaming coffee. You all sip the strong brew in silence, no one quite ready to break the early morning reverie. As the first sun rays illuminate the feathery tips of the grass, the night watchman ticks off the list of visitors the camp had overnight. A handful of curious hyenas, a honey badger, some nightjars, an owl and even an elusive serval cat, he ticks off on his fingers. A good reminder of just how wild the Liuwa Plain really is.
The perfect blend of comfort and adventure, the Time + Tide Sleepout Under the Stars is the ultimate adventure in one of the world’s most wild places. Offered across all four of Time + Tide’s destinations in Zambia and Madagascar, you can explore some of the most extraordinary, untouched corners of the world. With simple comforts and only a see-through veneer between you and the wilderness, you will feel like one of the early explorers first striking out across Africa.
Count the stars, listen to the lions, feel the vibrant night-time air. Come, adventure awaits.
all photo credits: Time+Tide Africa
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