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Unusual places to stay in Africa

Not just any old bedroom…

Sleeping on safari is one of the best parts of the day – and no, we’re not being lazy! Drifting off in an impeccably-styled safari bedroom is all part of the bush experience and being cocooned in the softest of sheets, listening to the sounds of the wildlife is magical. But just imagine if that bedroom was high up in the trees, alongside the birds? Or if your bed was inside a shipwreck, strewn along a remote beach in northern Namibia? Welcome to our list of unusual places to stay in Africa, where there’s not a canvas wall in sight…Pelican Point Swakopmund Namibia - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Sleep on a sandbar in the ocean at Pelican Point

Walvis Bay, Namibia 

The first thing that will strike you about Pelican Point is the setting, an impossibly remote sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean, crashing waves on the right and the shimmering waters of the Walvis Bay Lagoon on the left. The second thing that will make you sit up and take notice is the accommodation itself – an old harbour control station in the shadow of the iconic, candy-striped Pelican Point lighthouse. All nine of the ocean-inspired suites inside are beautiful, but for a real treat book in to the Captain’s Cove Suite. An open-plan conversion of the control tower, the 360-degree views allow for seal and dolphin-spotting straight from your bed.

Skybeds Okavango Delta Botswana - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Get closer to the stars at the Skybeds

Okavango Delta, Botswana

One of the best ways to see the African bush is from above, particularly if it happens to be from one of the beautiful Skybeds in the Khwai Private Reserve in Botswana. Each ingenious platform is three storeys high, providing an ideal vantage point to watch the comings and goings at the waterhole below, keeping you perfectly safe and secure at the same time. When darkness falls, the open-air bedrooms on the top floor make the perfect theatre from which to view the sparkling celestial show above – but remember to keep an eye out for any late-night visitors below too…

Kagga Kamma Cedarberg - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Cosy up in a cave at Kagga Kamma

Cederberg, South Africa 

At Kagga Kamma Lodge, tucked into the Cederberg Mountains just a few hours north of Cape Town, rocks play the starring role. Each of the suites is chiselled into the glittering sandstone, blending into the arid landscape with only a hint of window giving away their astonishing location. Book a Cave Suite and live like Fred Flintstone for the night (with a few more luxurious extras!) or choose the romantic Star or Outcrop Suites complete with open-air bedrooms and bathtubs under the stars for a true wilderness experience.

Shipwreck Lodge Skeleton Coast Namibia - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Sleep in a shipwreck (sort of!) at Shipwreck Lodge

Skeleton Coast, Namibia 

A strong contender for the most unusual place to stay in Africa, the brand-new Shipwreck Lodge is a feast for the eyes. Inspired by the ancient shipwrecks scattered on the mist-enshrouded Skeleton Coast, the 10 cabins are as unique and distinctive as the landscape yet look entirely at home amongst the rolling dunes. It’s not just the accommodation that should put this remote slice of wilderness on your travel list either; activities include dune hiking and excursions to the geographically-remarkable Clay Castles, as well as all-day adventures in search of desert-adapted wildlife, all topped off with a hot toddy in front of the fire back at base.

Planet Baobab Botswana - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Discover your inner wild-child at Planet Baobab

Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

Not only is Planet Baobab one of the coolest, funkiest lodges we’ve ever come across, it’s also located in one of the most bizarre parts of Botswana, the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. A lunar-like landscape where the average age of each tree is more than 4000 years, it’s a surreal and mysterious sort of place where anything seems possible. Continue the magic by staying in one of the Bakalanga Huts at Planet Baobab: each is designed in the same style as the traditional houses of the Batswana people and inside you’ll find vibrant murals, sunny patchwork quilts and a variety of eccentric trinkets that won’t fail to make you smile.

Tarangire Treetops Tanzania - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Spend a night in the trees at Tarangire Treetops

Tarangire National Park, Tanzania 

If your childhood was spent dreaming of sleeping in a treehouse, then book a night at Tarangire Treetops, pronto. Set on the edge of Tarangire National Park, the 20 spacious suites are balanced amongst extravagantly-shaped baobabs and perched in the boughs of marula trees. That’s probably where the similarities to your childhood abode end, however. Each platform is a lesson in sumptuous, safari-chic – think King-sized beds atop polished floors and glam ensuite bathrooms with double showers, all topped off with camera-bending views across the scenic landscape.

Blue Train South Africa - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Rock yourself to sleep on the Blue Train

Pretoria to Cape Town, South Africa 

Everything you thought train travel in 1920s Africa would be like is alive and well on the glamorous Blue Train. Harking back to a time when travel was about the journey itself, a night on the hotel-on-wheels is all about high teas and aperitifs, starched linen and fine wines, white-gloved butlers and impeccable service. Watch the ever-changing countryside flash by from a leather armchair in the sophisticated Club Car or over tea and scones in the Lounge Car and come nightfall, sink into bed and the let the train gently rock you to sleep…

Chongwe Sleep Out Zambia - Unusual places to stay in Africa

Sleep in the middle of the bush at Chongwe River Camp

Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia 

We’ve had treehouses and now it’s time for tree-tents in the new sleep-out experience from Chongwe River Camp in the Lower Zambezi. Your sleeping abode is a mattress strung between the trees, a metre off the ground, with only a fluttering mosquito net and the cosiest of blankets for company. For the faint-hearted it is not, but if you’re looking for an unusual place to stay in Africa, it ticks all the boxes. And really, what could be better than falling asleep to the calls of the wildlife and waking to dawn breaking over the rugged Zambezi Escarpment ahead?