The Best Treehouses to Sleep Under the Stars and Above Spectacular Wildlife in Africa

Idaho offers rapids suited for every skill level, and visitors are sure to see breathtaking scenery along the way, particularly on the Salmon and Snake rivers. Most local rafting trips take place during the summer and span five days, navigating through canyons, wildlife corridors and untouched wilderness. Plan on hiring an experienced river guide through an all-inclusive company like Idaho River Adventures or Mountain River Outfitters, and expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500 per person, depending on the trip duration, river, distance traveled and amenities highlighted in your specific itinerary. Most guide companies and rivers can be reached easily from Boise.
Photo: Andy Cochrane
Slide 1 of 7: What better way to see galloping giraffes, browsing elephants, elusive hippos, and other spectacular wildlife than from above? In Africa, luxury treehouses are booming in popularity. Tourists crave vantage points up among the trees, overlooking the plains and water holes. Better yet, they want a front-row seat right from their very own room. And many lodges and camps are accommodating to that desire with one-of-a-kind experiences and rooms.


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Here are six stunning treehouses, from Kenya to South Africa, that bring you as close to the wilderness as you’ll ever get.
Slide 2 of 7: After a Cruise along the Okavango Delta’s lagoons on a locally made dugout canoe, known as a mokoro, you can seek regufe in one of five treehouses located in Sanctuary Baines’ Camp. They’re raised on platforms, perched above the Boro River. Take in the evening sunset in the soaking tub on your private wooden deck. The camp will even wheel your four-poster bed out here so you can slumber and wake to the sounds of Africa’s wilderness. Inquire about a visit to the Living With Elephants Foundation, where you can mosey along with two orphaned elephants as they ramble about.
Slide 3 of 7: Tanzania’s lush Tarangire National Park is lauded for its huge number of elephants, ancient baobab trees, and rare tree-climbing lions. Located within the park, the Elewana Collection features an elevated lodge—enveloped by a thousand-year-old baobab tree—and 20 treetop guest rooms as part of its Tarangire Treetops. The guest rooms are massive, measuring 65 square meters, with an open-air balcony overlooking the plains. Hungry? Dine in a traditional boma, an enclosure made of sticks close to camp, as the sun sets. Or, eat next to the pool and watch as animals flock to the water hole. 
Slide 4 of 7: In the Khwai Private Reserve in northwest Botswana, you’ll find three-story Skybeds towering above the bush. The treehouses line a local water hole frequented by elephants, lions, hyenas, and other wildlife. To keep you connected to the wilderness, there’s no electricity. Your Skybed is illuminated by small lanterns and meals are cooked over a fire (there is, however, a flushing toilet on the second level). On the top floor, you can retire to a double bed dressed with a feather duvet and mosquito net.  
Slide 5 of 7: You’ll find Singita Lebombo Lodge tucked away in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Designed by the Cécile & Boyds architecture firm, the seven suites feature bright interiors inspired by nature. A neutral palate and loads of windows welcome natural light, and punches of color—drawing inspiration from chameleons and birds—add a bold energy. The lodge was sculpted as a treehouse suspended above the N’Wanetsi River in Singita’s privately leased, 33,000-acre concession. It boasts a Tesla Powerpack system, which adds storage capabilities to Singita’s existing solar project, providing a stable source of energy. Join in on a cooking class, swim laps in the main pool set alongside the Sweni River, and stargaze at night. 
Slide 6 of 7: After taking in wildlife on a game drive, touring Victoria Falls by helicopter, or learning about Zambia’s rich culture at The Livingstone Museum, settle in at Tongabezi’s Tree House. The open floor plan of the treehouse overlooks the Zambezi River, and the front is totally open, so you can see flitting kingfishers and hear grunting hippos. Enjoy a sundowner next to the plunge pool, then feast by candlelight. 
Slide 7 of 7: The NAY PALAD Bird Nest at the Segera Retreat seems to blossom right out of the  heart of Laikipia, Kenya. It’s situated close to the Segera River, where giraffe and elephants refresh themselves, and was made to give the impression of “sleeping like a bird.” You have unobstructed views of the surrounding woodlands inside the “nest.” The interior suite features a fully equipped bathroom with running, solar-heated water, and a flushing toilet. Settle in as the sun sets with a glass of champagne. In the morning, rise with the sun and stirring animals, then enjoy a picnic breakfast. 

1. Sanctuary Baines’ Camp: Botswana

After a Cruise along the Okavango Delta’s lagoons on a locally made dugout canoe, known as a mokoro, you can seek regufe in one of five treehouses located in Sanctuary Baines’ Camp. They’re raised on platforms, perched above the Boro River. Take in the evening sunset in the soaking tub on your private wooden deck. The camp will even wheel your four-poster bed out here so you can slumber and wake to the sounds of Africa’s wilderness. Inquire about a visit to the Living With Elephants Foundation, where you can mosey along with two orphaned elephants as they ramble about.

2. Tarangire Treetops by Elewana: Tanzania

Tanzania’s lush Tarangire National Park is lauded for its huge number of elephants, ancient baobab trees, and rare tree-climbing lions. Located within the park, the Elewana Collection features an elevated lodge—enveloped by a thousand-year-old baobab tree—and 20 treetop guest rooms as part of its Tarangire Treetops. The guest rooms are massive, measuring 65 square meters, with an open-air balcony overlooking the plains. Hungry? Dine in a traditional boma, an enclosure made of sticks close to camp, as the sun sets. Or, eat next to the pool and watch as animals flock to the water hole. 

3. Natural Selection Skybeds: Botswana

In the Khwai Private Reserve in northwest Botswana, you’ll find three-story Skybeds towering above the bush. The treehouses line a local water hole frequented by elephants, lions, hyenas, and other wildlife. To keep you connected to the wilderness, there’s no electricity. Your Skybed is illuminated by small lanterns and meals are cooked over a fire (there is, however, a flushing toilet on the second level). On the top floor, you can retire to a double bed dressed with a feather duvet and mosquito net.  

4. Singita Lebombo Lodge: South Africa

You’ll find Singita Lebombo Lodge tucked away in South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Designed by the Cécile & Boyds architecture firm, the seven suites feature bright interiors inspired by nature. A neutral palate and loads of windows welcome natural light, and punches of color—drawing inspiration from chameleons and birds—add a bold energy. The lodge was sculpted as a treehouse suspended above the N’Wanetsi River in Singita’s privately leased, 33,000-acre concession. It boasts a Tesla Powerpack system, which adds storage capabilities to Singita’s existing solar project, providing a stable source of energy. Join in on a cooking class, swim laps in the main pool set alongside the Sweni River, and stargaze at night. 

5. Tongabezi Tree House: Zambia

After taking in wildlife on a game drive, touring Victoria Falls by helicopter, or learning about Zambia’s rich culture at The Livingstone Museum, settle in at Tongabezi’s Tree House. The open floor plan of the treehouse overlooks the Zambezi River, and the front is totally open, so you can see flitting kingfishers and hear grunting hippos. Enjoy a sundowner next to the plunge pool, then feast by candlelight. 

6. Segera Retreat NAY PALAD Bird Nest: Kenya

The NAY PALAD Bird Nest at the Segera Retreat seems to blossom right out of the  heart of Laikipia, Kenya. It’s situated close to the Segera River, where giraffe and elephants refresh themselves, and was made to give the impression of “sleeping like a bird.” You have unobstructed views of the surrounding woodlands inside the “nest.” The interior suite features a fully equipped bathroom with running, solar-heated water, and a flushing toilet. Settle in as the sun sets with a glass of champagne. In the morning, rise with the sun and stirring animals, then enjoy a picnic breakfast. 

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