The mystical setting of a tree house you may have sought refuge in as a kid is now a trend-setting place you can escape to for a vacation.
The wide variety of tree houses in Southern Africa offers travellers a real choice: from adventure in rustic surrounds, to romance among branches illuminated by candlelight, or indulgence of five-star luxury on a treetop. Whatever your preference, these tree houses give you a unique way of seeing Africa: a new angle, with stunning views.
Here are 7 extraordinary tree house accommodations:
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#1 Tongabezi Lodge’s Tree House: Zambia Couples looking for a swoon-worthy stay should look at Tongabezi Lodge’s newly rebuilt Tree House. A Zambian hideaway on the banks of the Zambezi River – just upstream of World Wonder Victoria Falls – the tree house is constructed around the branches of a riverine Ebony tree at the end of a hidden path. If the sensation of floating isn’t from cloud nine, it may be because part of the tree house is suspended over the water. Romance in a nutshell is a perfectly positioned claw footed bath that affords views of the river while bathing: sunset, candles and flower petals.
#2 Lion Sands Private Game Reserve’s Chalkley Treehouse: South Africa Every fairytale begins with “Once Upon a Time”. This one begins with those four magical words and ends with Lion Sands Private Game Reserve’s Chalkley Treehouse. Once upon a time, Guy Aubrey Chalkley set up camp in a majestic centuries-old Leadwood Tree to escape predators roaming the plains below. This fairy godmother of a tree that saved Chalkley was chosen to become an exquisite sanctuary for all travelers just outside South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Completely open, the present-day tree house is a lavish platform under the African stars with all the comforts that you can experience at a five-star safari lodge. You are guided to the tree house at sunset where a picnic dinner awaits. And, as sunlight turns to moonlight, this protective tree holds you high above the predators of the night as you are free to take in your magical surroundings.
#3 The Hide’s Dove Nest: Zimbabwe Many are filled with child-like glee as they board a plane, knowing they are going somewhere special. That child-like feeling never leaves when you arrive in Hwange National Park to stay at The Hide’s Dove Nest (thehide.com). The multi-level tree house emanates a fort you may have played in as a kid, including a wooden stairway and trap door. (Who was lucky enough to have a tree house fort with a trap door?!?)Positioned in a leadwood tree, the first floor is a viewing platform, the level from which a visitor will need your permission to enter the higher level bedroom. (Or, would you require a password?) While staying here, swing lazily in the hammock as you keep an eye out for any of the 100 plus mammal species that live in the park.Photo credit: The Hide
#4 Tsala Treetop Lodge: South-Africa If you’re looking for an experience fit for a king, ultra-luxury and fine fare can be found at five-star Tsala Treetop Lodge (tsala.hunterhotels.com). This architectural masterpiece offers world class service and breathtaking views in the Western Cape. All accommodations blend into a forest canopy, ranging from 10 Treetop Suites with a private deck and infinity pool to six Treetop Villas with the aforementioned, along with two en suite bedrooms.Eat, drink and sleep in treetops – it’s the epitome of a forest palace. Elegant sitting rooms, fireplaces, floor heating, 24 hour room service, complimentary Wi-Fi and the option of enjoying your meal from a dining deck suspended above the forest floor. The list goes on and on – you will want for nothing.Photo Credit: Dook Photography
#5 Lake Manyara Tree Lodge: TanzaniaAs one of only two lodges inside Lake Manyara National Park, andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (lakemanyara.com) is cradled within the boughs of an ancient mahogany forest, offering the privacy and connection to nature needed to obtain inner-peace. Tucked away in the park, you are far from the busy main park gate.There are 10 stilted tree house suites that master the delicate balance of stylish comfort and seamless amalgamation with the surrounding bush. Aside from spacious rooms, lounge area, and en-suite bathroom, large windows and generously-sized decks allow you to take in your secluded sanctuary: leafy greens of the mahogany, wild mango and fig trees and, everywhere around you, the call of the wild. It’s just you left to contemplate the unknown.Photo Credit: andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
#6 Tarangire Treetops: Tanzania All accommodation at Tarangire Treetops are tree houses (there are 20 in total), all managing to capture a home away from home feel. Maybe it is due to the fact that each tree house boasts one of the largest bedrooms to be found in any camp or lodge in East Africa – 64 square meters – complete with double shower en suite bathroom; the use of local, natural materials embellished with modern decor; and an open-fronted room design with views from a large private balcony. The host of smiles from the local Maasai and the comfort in accommodations emit a welcoming warmth. You’re in another world, views stretching across the Maasai land, the Tarangire plains; and yet, you feel completely at ease, nowhere near homesick and hoping you’ll never have to leave.
#7 Chole Mjini Lodge: Tanzania Chole Mjini Lodge’s seven tree houses are located on Tanzania’s tropical Chole Island, just off the coast of Mafia Island. Open to the elements, your elevated room is set on ancient baobabs, allowing you an almost bird’s-eye view of mangroves and the the crystal blue ocean. As you sit on your king size bed, your face takes in the soft breeze from the coast as heat encompasses your body. And when you’re back on the ground, sand envelops your feet as the sandy paths lead through the vegetation. As you take in your surroundings, alight your taste buds with the flavorful spicing in your food thanks to a strong Swahili influence. Even as you drift off to sleep, listen to the tide trickling back through the mangrove roots and the murmuring ocean as the fireflies light the black sky.