Journeysmiths Unveils Astrotourism Destinations

Journeysmiths has introduced a new “Under the Stars” collection that takes travelers to top stargazing locales around the globe. Here's what's included: 

Atacama Desert, Chile

According to Journeysmiths, anyone interested in astrotourism should visit the Atacama Desert in northern Chile first. Here, the high altitude and clear skies produce the ideal stargazing atmosphere. Each evening as the sun sets, a vast panorama of stars and planets reveal themselves. The vista is so clear that scientists from around the world base themselves in the Atacama to study the skies.

Where to stay: Guests of Tierra Atacama can explore the Mars-like landscape during the day by visiting the Valley of the Moon. As night falls, venture out into the desert with guides and telescopic equipment to discover the wonders of the universe and photograph the desert’s landscapes after dark.

Sossusvlei Desert, Namibia

If you want to combine astrotourism with the chance to see Africa’s Big Five, head to Namibia, home to Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve. It is here that the Milky Way reveals itself as you’ve never seen it before, while shooting stars, satellites and planets creep across the skies.

Where to stay: Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has its own observatory, complete with a Celestron CPC 1100 GPS (XLT) computerized telescope. You can dine outdoors, then head over to the observatory in the company of expert guides. End the evening by opening the skylight above the king-size bed and fall asleep beneath a canopy of constellations.

Starry bonus stay: To extend any stargazing experience, Journeysmiths recommends a stay at Huab Under Canvas Camp. While accommodations are generally a simple, comfortable tent, guests can ask their guides to set up a bed outside in a dry riverbed where the stargazing is phenomenal. They will then arrange a delicious bush dinner on an open fire followed by a night sky tutorial.

Laikipia, Kenya

Lying between the Great Rift Valley and snow-capped Mt. Kenya, on the equator, at the very center of the world is Laikipia. With the nearest city hundreds of miles away, these high plains with clear skies and lack of crowds are fast being recognized as Kenya’s best wildlife and cosmic-safari regions.

Loisaba Lodge_Starbeds_Little girl & Samburu guide_Journeysmiths
Starbeds, Loisaba Lodge (Journeysmiths)

Where to stay: Loisaba Lodge features handcrafted four-poster wooden Starbeds. Housed in a traditional thatched lodge, built on raised wooden platforms, Starbeds offer all of the amenities of a luxury lodge, but as twilight approaches, the beds are rolled out onto the deck, allowing guests to stargaze in complete luxury—comfy bedding and hot water bottles included.

Pro tip: Laikipia is a place where for decades tribal communities have worked with safari lodges to conserve wildlife and natural resources on their communal land. Most recently they successfully reintroduced 21 black rhino, so it is likely that you will catch a glimpse of this highly endangered species during a guided safari.

South African Cosmic Safaris

Far from cities and light pollution, and with the help of an astro-safari guide, guests can marvel at the South African night sky as the planets, constellations and Milky Way come to life.

Where to stay: Set within a 20,000-acre estate in South Africa’s Waterberg Mountains is the private Leobo Lodge, which features an observatory with a telescope and automated revolving dome. Let Journeysmiths reserve a professional astronomer for a private, cosmic safari.

For an off-grid celestial retreat: Bliss and Stars is an eco-farm located in South Africa’s Cederberg Mountains. The owner-run retreat offers tailored wellness experiences including meditation, movement, breathwork and stargazing using South Africa’s largest privately owned telescope as well as a large collection of telescopes which guests can use to view the stars.

Pro tip: South Africa’s dry, winter months between May and September are a particularly brilliant time for stargazing.

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