“The game drive vehicle twists along the tree lined road and the anticipation is building within me. I know what is coming, but I am not prepared for the sight that greets us. Somehow larger than life and welcoming at the same time, the wooden structure is surrounded by glowing lanterns. Our guide escorts us along the gang plank and we’re left breathless by the view that greets us. A quick tour, the bubbly is opened and the guide departs, leaving us to simply stare at one another, in awe of the moment. Salute!
We watch the sunset and as the light fades to welcome the night, we open our picnic basket. The food is delicious but it’s the magic of the moment that steals the show. After dinner we sit back and simply gaze at the stars and listen to the sounds of the bush. The velvet sky is dotted with shimmering stars, the Milky Way clearly visible on this cloudless nights. In the distance, a “whoooooooop” – the hyenas calling in the night.
It’s time for bed and we climb under the soft duvet of the extra large bed, surrounded by a mosquito net. The moon is high and our eyes close as sleep welcomes us in our comfortable cocoon under the African sky. Dawn breaks and we’re awakened by the choir of birds starting their day. In the early morning light, the bush comes to life and we have a front row seat to watch it happen. The water in the flask is still warm and we prepare a coffee. In the quiet around us, we hear the landrover before we see it. Our guide is here to collect us and we join the rest of the guests on safari. “Did you sleep well?” we’re asked. A little lost for words, it seems inadequate to simply say “yes”. We leave with a memory of something special – our night under the stars, in a Treehouse, just the two of us.”
The Lion Sands Treehouses are the ultimate bush bedrooms. Arrive at sunset to a scrumptious picnic dinner, and spend the hours of dusk fully appreciating the vastness of the bushveld as it transforms from day to night. Slumber directly beneath the Milky Way where you may well lose count of the shooting stars.
The Treehouses, including Chalkley’s Treehouse andKingston Treehouse (Sabi Sand), and Tinyeleti Treehouse (Kruger National Park) are booked in conjunction with your accommodation. Pack an overnight bag with your essentials, while leaving your other belongings back in your room at camp.
The Treehouses at Lion Sands are for the hopeless romantic (ideal as a wedding or anniversary treat), the adventurer, the person who needs a complete disconnect and digital detox, or the wildlife enthusiast who prefers the bush au-natural.
All of the Treehouses are securely constructed above the ground, where animals will remain at a safe and comfortable distance. Our Field Guide will provide a full orientation when he drops guests off before sunset, and will remain on call via the radio left behind until it is time to leave the following morning after sunrise and a good cup of coffee!
ANIMAL SOUNDS YOU ARE LIKELY TO HEAR, AND WHY:
- Hippos Honking and Screeching: Although gregarious, Hippo males are fiercely territorial and protective over their pod (collective for a group of Hippo). When encountering another male within their territory, more often than not, a fight will ensue that will be both noisy and protracted.
- Lions Roaring: At night male Lions roar to advertise their presence to would be interlopers, be they nomads passing through or the neighbouring pride hoping to extend their territory. These roars send the message that all is well with the pride and that the males are still active and ready to defend their domain. The thinner night air enables these roars to be carried over several kilometres.
- Leopards Sawing/ Coughing: Leopards are solitary, and their distinctive call, which sounds like a cross between sawing wood and a hoarse cough, is used to advertise their presence. Being solitary, Leopards are constantly messaging other Leopards as to their whereabouts, for the purpose of avoiding each other. Females also call when in oestrus and seeking a mate to breed with.
- Hyenas Whooping or Cackling: The Hyena tends to forage at night either individually or as a small group of a few individuals. They tend to whoop, keeping in touch with the rest of their clan, and sometimes you may hear a burst of maniac cackling. This happens when Hyenas come across strange individuals from another clan encroaching in their territory, or a large kill made by other predators. The cackling may intimidate the other predator into abandoning their prize.
- Impalas Snorting and Kudu, Nyala and Bushbuck Alarm Barking: These animals upon sensing the presence or seeing predators, will emit snorting (Impala) or bark-like alarm calls. This reaction serves the purpose of alerting other members of their herd, intimidating the predator or letting it know that it has been seen and that it is pointless to try and catch alert prey.