Loisaba Star Beds

Loisaba Star Beds: Our full report

Rooms
4
Children
Best for 10+
Open
All year

Loisaba Starbeds, formerly known as Kiboko Starbeds, is a camp built near a dam in the Loisaba Conservancy, and is one of the oldest locations for this kind of camp in Kenya. While the beds on wheels are the same as when the camp was first set up, today it has a central dining and lounge area and the rooms can be used even if you decide not to sleep on the deck under the stars.

This small camp consists of a cosy, thatched central area, built of stone, and four separate rooms – three with one double bed and one with twin beds – each built on a raised platform looking out towards the nearby Kiboko dam. If you're not familiar with the concept of a 'star-bed', it's simply a frame bed mounted on robust car wheels, equipped with a mosquito net, which can be rolled out onto the deck for a night under the stars.

Most visitors spend a night here during the course of a stay at the main Loisaba Tented Camp, and the infrastructure at the main camp supports the star-beds camp. Typically you might arrive after lunch, settle in, then go off for a game drive. Coming back at dusk, you'll have dinner with other guests and senior staff at a communal table in the dining area before retiring to your platform.

The rooms at Loisaba Starbeds are simple stone and plaster affairs, with wooden floors, thatched roofs and open fronted deck areas looking out towards the dam. Rustic deadwood has been used to create the framework for half-walls, and to screen the shower and toilet areas, while some are built around the natural rock faces. Toiletries, towels and all the usual facilities are provided, but the furniture is relatively simple, and the whole set up is rather ‘rustic luxury’ in comparison with the very modernistic tented rooms at Loisaba Tented Camp. The key piece of furniture, the star-bed itself, is a substantial affair – a natural wooden frame, with plenty of blankets and pillows (and hot water bottles are added by the staff to ensure a cosy night), and a mosquito net around the sides and across the top. It is rolled out by the staff, or kept inside under the thatched roof if you prefer. It’s worth noting that the height of the bed means that it is a little tricky to get in and out of, so those with limited mobility that would like to stay should speak to us to ensure a plan can be made to make the beds accessible.

All the safari activities you can do at Loisaba Tented Camp can be done while staying at Loisaba Starbeds, but if you were thinking of sitting on your deck (or indeed lying in bed) while watching animals drinking at the dam, it's only fair to point out that the dam is around 400m away, not right beneath you.

When we last stayed at the starbeds, in November 2018, we found the experience to be very enjoyable and a unique way to spend a night in the bush. Despite it being a cold night, the beds were incredibly warm, the stargazing was completely unimpeded by the mosquito nets, and we could hear elephants, hippos, lions and hyenas through the night. In the morning, we were greeted by elephant and kudo right up by our room, having an early morning browse of the vegetation while we enjoyed our wake up call coffee.

Our view

We think for a night or two the camp has strong appeal for anyone with a romantic streak. The dam is too far for animal-watching, but wildlife does venture up and below the camp, and the stars in this remote part of Laikipia can be remarkably bright, making the experience of sleeping out under them, in comfort and security, a truly delightful one.

Geographics

Location: Laikipia, Kenya

Ideal length of stay: 1–2 nights

Directions: The starbeds camp is a 30-minute drive from the main camp.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Loisaba Conservancy

Staff: Usually managed buy Magie Guthue, assistant manager at Loisaba Tented Camp.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Food standards at Loisaba Starbeds are similarly high to those at the main camp, generally with some dishes of Italian influence at each course.

Breakfast is usually had out in the bush, but if in camp there is the standard selection of cold buffet choices, as well as a full cooked breakfast.

During our stay in 2018, for lunch out on the deck, we had lasagne with a selection of salads: chicken noodle, nicoise and green salads. Mango sorbet followed.

Dinner was hosted by the camp manager and started with butternut squash soup and fresh bread rolls, then red snapper with chunky chips and a side dish of vegetable pasta in a broccoli sauce. It was all delicious and very plentiful. We finished our meal with passion fruit cheesecake.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: House soft and acoholic drinks are included in the rate. If you want something special it will need to be brought from the main camp.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: None.

Special activities & services: There are board games in the main area, but little else to keep children occupied in camp. The experience is focused on activities out in the bush (the same as on offer at Loisaba Tented Camp) and being able to sleep under the stars.

Equipment: None

Notes: The camp is fenced but smaller wildlife can still wander through camp, so children should be supervised at all times. The decks of the rooms are not securely fenced so not suitable for very young children.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: Lights are available 24 hours in the rooms but charging of batteries needs to be done in the main area.

Communications: WiFi is available throughout the camp but strongest in the main areas.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: The bathrooms are fully plumbed and filtered drinking water is provided.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: First aid kits are available. Kimanjo and Nanyuki Cottage hospitals are the nearest good facilities.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: Askaris (security guards) protect the camp 24/7. The camp has an electric perimeter fence to keep out big game.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the rooms and main area, as well as a fire break around the camp.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Not possible.

Money: Digital safes are provided in every room.

Accepted payment on location: Foreign exchange services are not available, but they do take credit cards for payments at the main lodge, and with no surcharge.

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