This ‘celestial safari’ will take you wildlife spotting by day and stargazing by night

The ‘Stargazing Desert Safari’ in Namibia combines thrilling animal encounters with star-spotting opportunities galore

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London

For some people, ruggedness is an integral part of the safari experience. Camping out in the elements, spotting some of the world’s most incredible animals from a rickety, uncomfortable 4x4 – isn’t that what safari is all about?

Not for the people over at Ker & Downey Africa. Not only does the South Africa-based travel brand offer a luxurious take on yer classic safari, its new tour combines wildlife-spotting with astronomy. The standout experience? Its ‘Stargazing Desert Safari’, which takes place in Namibia – a country that is both a hugely popular safari destination and home to one of the world’s few certified International Dark Sky Reserves.

By day, Ker & Downey Africa’s tour tracks rhinos, elephants, big cats and more across Namibia’s ancient deserts and dramatic rock formations. By night, guests can gaze up at one of the clearest skies on Earth from world-renowned observatories (with guidance from top-tier astronomers).

Luxury safari, Namibia
Photograph: Ker & Downey Africa

And that’s only scratching the surface of the stuff visitors can get stuck into. The itinerary also includes balloon rides, night safaris, sunset drives and horse riding in the desert. Over the course of the tour, attendees will visit five spectacular natural landscapes (Zannier Private Reserve, Onguma Game Reserve, Damaraland, Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert) via jeep and private charter flights.

When you’re done gallivanting through the Namibian wilderness or contemplating the Milky Way, guests will stay across a network luxury lodges that feature open-air cinemas, swimming pools and observation decks. When exactly guests are supposed to sleep is anyone’s guess.

Perhaps best of all is the fact that Namibia is currently open to tourists from all countries. If you can provide a negative Covid-19 test taken within seven days of arrival, then the country will let you in.

As you can probably guess, all of this doesn’t come cheap. Prices for the 12-day trip start from an eye-watering $12,019 (£8,918) per person. But if you are made of money? Head to the Ker & Downey Africa website for more info.

Looking for something a little less spenny? Here are 10 once-in-a-lifetime wildlife experiences that put animals first.

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