Skybeds: Our full report
Skybeds lies deep within the varied 2,000km² Khwai Private Reserve, in the north-east corner of Botswana's ...... Okavango Delta. But this is no ordinary camp. Opened in 2016, and renovated in 2019, it has accommodation on three-storey, tree-house style platforms open to the stars, just 70m or so from a well-used natural waterhole. Skybeds is a unique activity, offering guests an intimate opportunity to sleep under the stars.
It's important to note that Skybeds is available only to guests who first stay at one of its sister camps, Sable Alley Camp, Hyena Pan, The Jackal & Hide or Tuludi. All are in the same Khwai Private Reserve, which borders Moremi Game Reserve and Khwai Community Reserve to the south, and Chobe National Park to the east.
The area around Skybeds has a rich diversity of land- and waterscape, supporting an array of wildlife that you can see from many vantage points. There are seasonal waterholes and permanent channels, mopane woodland and riverine forests, with the occasional very tall ancient baobab.
Skybeds offers a very different safari experience to any other camp in Botswana. Each charmingly rustic tree house is a three-storey raised platform looking out over the wildlife-rich reserve. With just three of these, accommodating up to six adults, Skybeds offers seclusion and intimacy. As the platforms are well spaced out, each Skybed affords complete privacy, and there is a gate at the top of the first flight of stairs to keep out unwanted visitors. Your guide and camp hands sleep nearby, so you will not be alone!
Elevated 5m off the ground, and accessed by a wooden staircase, the top storey of your tree house is an open bedroom where you'll sleep under the stars in a four-poster bed draped with a mosquito net. Thick duvets and hot-water bottles will keep you warm at night, while electric storm lanterns provide a romantic ambience. Surrounding the sleeping area is a waist-high wall made from horizontal wooden poles, so you can enjoy the views from your bed, but do note that this is fairly low, so caution is needed, especially at night when lighting is dim.
On the level beneath your sleeping platform is an enclosed bathroom with a shower, basin and flushing toilet – and even enough space to change.
The Skybeds are open only in the dry winter season, from 1 April to 31 October, so there should be very little chance of rain. If it does happen to rain when you are there, they'll raise the canopy over your platform to keep everything dry, and they also have a dome tent on the ground as a contingency.
Skybeds' communal area occupies a fourth tree house, which is used for sundowners, and a central meeting point where guests can mingle. Enjoy a gin and tonic or simply something light and fresh, along with nibbles (on our first visit we had delicious home-made crisps and biltong), as you watch the animals – elephant, buffalo, roan, kudu, giraffe and more – come to quench their thirst at the nearby waterhole. Meals are prepared either over an open fire or in a simple bush kitchen, and everyone dines together at one long table, either close to the campfire, or up on the deck.
One of the camp's main features is the opportunity for good game viewing from the vantage point of your Skybed. Just settle down high up on your platform and watch kudu, roan and other antelope wander through camp, while – if you are lucky – larger species such as giraffe and the predators come to the waterhole. On our most recent visit in November 2019 we saw a healthy herd of approximately 30 eland. While we were unable to stay in November 2019 on a previous occasion we were entranced at sunrise by the sight of wild dogs at the waterhole below.
Spending a night at Skybeds is an activity in itself. To get here from one of its sister camps – Hyena Pan, Sable Alley, The Jackal & Hide and Tuludi. – you have two options: a leisurely afternoon game drive, or a drive combined with a guided walk with a qualified armed guide. Both usually involve a visit to Hyena Pan's eye-level hide. Set alongside a pumped waterhole that comes into its own when natural water sources have dried up, this is an amazing place to spend an hour or two watching the animals at eye level, and a fantastic photo opportunity. We were entranced by a small herd of zebra, as well as a very thirsty elephant that was drinking directly from the pump: why wait for it to trickle into the waterhole?
Skybeds is a very simple concept that will not appeal to all – especially if you like walls to your rooms and a bit of luxury. But for those who want to combine a grassroots safari with a true wilderness experience, close to nature, this is a wonderful option. Sleeping under the star-laden sky, listening to the sounds of the African bush, is a magical experience. It's perfect for a couple seeking old-style romance but would also be great for small groups, who can have sole use of the camp.
- Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
- Ideal length of stay
- We'd suggest a stay of one night at Skybeds, combined with two or three nights at one of its sister camps, Hyena Pan, Sable Alley, The Jackal & Hide or Tuludi.
- It's a 35-minute flight from Maun to Khwai private airstrip, then a one–two-hour drive to your first night’s camp: Sable Alley Camp, Hyena Pan, The Jackal & Hide or Tuludi. From each of these camps, it is either a game drive or a combined game drive and walk to Skybeds.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- When we first stayed at Skybeds, in October 2017, the food was wholesome and tasty, and entirely cooked over an open fire. By the time of our latest visits, in 2019, the camp had a small bush kitchen, and food can now be prepared on gas stoves as well.
Breakfast is usually a buffet of porridge, cereals and toast, with hot choices of eggs, bacon and sausage.
As you may only stay for one night at Skybeds, you'll have lunch back at your main camp: Hyena Pan, Sable Alley, The Jackal & Hide or Tuludi.
Dinner is a very sociable occasion. We enjoyed a tender beef stew with rice, green beans and carrots, followed by a lovely sticky date pudding.
- Dining style
- Group Meals
- Dining locations
- Outdoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Filtered drinking water is provided in reusable glass bottles. A small selection of soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits cost extra and need to be requested in advance.
- Wildlife safaris
- Overlooking a waterhole in a private reserve, Skybeds is a superb place for a wildlife safari in Botswana. Watching wildlife from on high – even from your bed – or at eye-level from a sunken hide for a wholly different perspective makes this a special place to stay.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Skybeds welcomes children of 15 years and above.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Minimum age 15 years.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- For adventurous older children this could be a fun camp.
- The camp is unfenced and dangerous wildlife wanders through fairly regularly. The Skybed platforms are raised high off the ground with relatively low wooden railings. All children would need to be closely supervised by their parents/guardians at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Skybeds
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Skybeds have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- Battery charging facilities are in the game vehicle.
- There is no cellphone reception, no direct phone or email. Communication is maintained with the other camps in the reserve via radio.
- TV & radio
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- There is hot and cold running water in the bathroom and a flush toilet.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The nearest doctor is in Maun. Management and guides are first-aid trained and there is a nurse on call (via radio) 24 hours a day in Maun. Medical evacuation by air is available in case of emergency, but please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours, as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests are escorted to their "rooms" after dark as dangerous wildlife is known to wander through the camp.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers in the kitchen and dining areas.
Guided walking safari
Sleeping under the stars
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- There is no laundry service at Skybeds.
- There are no safes at Skybeds, so any valuables would need to be left with the manager at either Sable Alley, Hyena Pan, The Jackal & Hide or Tuludi.
- Accepted payment on location
- Skybeds cannot accept payments, but there should be any need for paying for any extras here.
Other lodges in Moremi Game Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.