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UNUSUAL PLACES to stay

Lodges and tented camps have their own appeal but they’re not the only option. We put our heads together to collate a list of some of Africa’s most unconventional boltholes. Compiled by Henry Bevan
JIMMY NELSON

Sleep in a bird’s nest

Segera Retreat, Laikipia, Kenya

One of the best ways to see the African bush is from above. At Segera, you can sleep high in the air in the lodge’s unique NAY PALAD Bird Nest. Twisted branches resembling a nest surround the viewing platform, and the fully furnished room is built with wooden slats for 360° views of the plains and wildlife that roam here.

A TENT WITH A VIEW

Sleep on a Land Rover

Northern Serengeti, Tanzania

Height changes everything. Stand up straight and everything looks, well, exactly as we expect it to, but try lying down in the grass and your view of the world is that of a tiny mouse. Everything looks big, scary and daunting. But what if you viewed the world from on high? Sitting on the balcony of my Bush Rover Suite, looking down across corn-tinged savannah and the swirling Mara River of Tanzania’s northern Serengeti, I was starting to get a completely new angle, a giraffe’s-eye view, on these grasslands that I thought I knew so well.

The Bush Rover concept is essentially a normal, deep-green Land Rover, which, with a few clever twists and turns, morphs into a luxury, raised tent — equipped with a double bed, wardrobe, sofa, balcony and, down below in what would normally be the back seats of the vehicle, a wood-panelled bathtub and sidemounted shower. And where the passenger seat should be — well, that’s the toilet. Complete with magazine reading material.

Of course, a ‘tent’ like this is designed to be nomadic and the Bush Rovers never spend long in one place, and what’s quite amazing about the whole thing is that it all quickly and easily folds back in on itself and can be driven to a new destination. They follow the migrating wildebeest in a great circle through the Serengeti. Whereas many companies offer mobile safari camps, these tend to move only twice in a year, whereas the Bush Rovers move four times in a year and this means that guests always have a front row seat to the migration drama.

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