Stargazing could be the highlight of your safari

Silence: Fall asleep surrounded only by flickering lanterns at South Africa's Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge.
Silence: Fall asleep surrounded only by flickering lanterns at South Africa's Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge.

When most people think of a luxury safari holiday, the term 'under the stars' is not typically the first thing that springs to mind. But what could be more luxurious and exotic than reclining under a glorious canopy of stars with a G&T in hand?

Luxury traveller provider Sanctuary Retreats firmly believes that a holiday shouldn't stop when the sundowners run out, which is why they are pleased to share their top five picks for activities to enjoy in the starlight.

South Africa's Sanctuary Makanyane Safari Lodge, for instance, offers guests an unforgettable experience - falling asleep surrounded only by flickering lanterns while listening to a lullaby of roaring lions, crying jackals and laughing hyenas.

Table for two: Perhaps the definition of romance - bush dining under the African stars with Sanctuary Retreats.

Table for two: Perhaps the definition of romance - bush dining under the African stars with Sanctuary Retreats.

The rustic double-storey structure is tucked away in a secluded part of Makanyane Safari Lodge's private grounds, and overlooking a waterhole with spectacular views across the Madikwe Game Reserve, making it the perfect retreats for romantics with a sense of adventure at heart.

At Sanctuary Swala Camp in Tanzania intrepid guests can venture into the Tarangire National Park under cover of darkness. As the sun sets on the savannah, Africa is completely transformed, and those who take a night safari are given the chance to meet some of Africa's remarkable night crawlers.

Romantic: An indulgent dinner on the Okavango Delta.

Romantic: An indulgent dinner on the Okavango Delta.

Search for rarely seen animals such as the bushbaby, african wild cat, or the bat-eared fox. With Sanctuary Retreats' specialised lighting you may even catch the excitement of a lion hunt.

Not to be outdone by its stunning safari lodges, Sanctuary Retreats' river cruises also offer guests the chance to dine under the stars in some of the most magical locations.

A particular favourite is the Sandbank Dinner experience offered on the Sanctuary Ananda where guests dine under a blanket of stars on the banks of Myanmar's Irrawaddy River.

As stars glisten overhead and pagodas shine in the skyline, guests enjoy Burmese delicacies created from a live wok station surrounded by lanterns and traditional parasols.

Relax: Soak those aching muscles in a Sanctuary Baines Camp opulent star bath in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

Relax: Soak those aching muscles in a Sanctuary Baines Camp opulent star bath in Botswana's Okavango Delta.

After a day spent on a Botswana safari in the wetlands of the Okavango Delta, what better way to soak those aching muscles than in Sanctuary Baines Camp opulent star bath?

Hidden on your own private viewing deck, this indulgence is not to be missed as guests relax and unwind from the day's events surrounded by twinkling lanterns and shining stars.

While many come to Africa for the dramatic landscapes and plentiful wildlife, what they don't expect is the dazzling night sky.

With hardly any light pollution in such remote locations, guests with Sanctuary Retreats are treated to the ultimate stargazing experiences - and one of the best is on offer at Tanzania's Sanctuary Kusini Lodge.

Sit atop the kopje (small hill) above the camp as the camp manager takes you on a spectacular cosmic safari, unveiling the mysteries and beauty of the universe.

For details on all these offers, visit www.sanctuaryretreats.com.