Jacks' Camp (Makgadikgadi Pans) Botswana
We wouldn’t be surprised if you’d heard the name ‘Jack’s Camp’ bandied around before, for it truly is one of the most legendary and iconic camps in Southern Africa. Founded by explorer Jack Bousfield in the 1960s, the camp sits in a striking spot on the edge of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans, gazing over glittering salt pans and shimmering expanses of sun-scorched earth. It’s an oasis of style and old-world glamour in a landscape of savage beauty, and more elegant and enchanting than you could imagine in such a remote landscape.
So far, so intriguing – and the surprises don’t end there. Firstly, there’s the camp itself, with its quirky, Forties-style interiors, decadent furnishings, and sleek swimming pool pavilion. And then, there’s the activities. If walking with San bushmen, getting up close and personal to a group of wild meerkats, and game drives in search of intriguing desert-adapted species don’t set your heart racing, we’re not sure what will…
WHY BOOK THIS CAMP?
- Jack’s is one of Africa’s most storied and iconic camps and just one of just three in a one million-acre private wildlife reserve.
- The only camp in Africa with a swimming pool tent – and a tea tent!
- A blockbuster of activities, including quad biking, horseback riding, bushman walks, traditional game drives and meerkat encounters with some of the best and most experienced guides in Botswana.
- 50,000 zebra and wildebeest migrate through the area from January to April.
- Year-round wildlife includes zebra, wildebeest, springbok, steenbok, elephant, brown hyaena, oryx, Kalahari lion and cheetah.
- The camp has one of the most comprehensive collections of ancient artefacts in Botswana, collected by the Bousfield family over decades.
Accommodation & Amenities
10 tents: 7 twins, 3 doubles
Ensuite bathrooms with indoor & outdoor showers
Swimming pool tent
Wifi available: No
Battery charging facilities: In the mess tent
Complimentary laundry service
Child policy: We welcome all ages
Disabled access: Please enquire with reservations
All meals and local drinks; activities (NB some activities at an extra surcharge)
What’s not included?
Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; insurance
Jack’s Camp is open all year round
Green season: 10th January to 31st March
Shoulder season: 1st April to 14th June; 1st November 9th January
High season: 15th June to 31st July; 1st September to 31st October /
Peak season: 1st – 31st August
There aren’t many camps in Africa quite like Jack’s. The ten, Bedouin-style tents are scattered below a soft canopy of molokwane palms, each one an ode to safaris of old. Expect Persian rugs atop polished floors, vintage lithographs and muslin-draped walls, and the comfiest four-posters we’ve ever slept in. Outside, private verandas and velvet-clad chairs look out over the ethereal landscape, where glittering salt and sun-baked plains stretch as far as the eye can see. And then there’s the bathrooms. As exquisite and quirky as a bathroom can be, you’ll find free-standing, copper bathtubs, splashy sinks, and wooden throne toilets.
At the mess tent, a museum of vintage artefacts, maps, photos, and manuscripts all collected by the Bousfield family, is the centre piece of the 1940s-style canvas pavilion. Separate tents contain an antique pool table, library, and a bar with an excellent selection of fine wines. And if you weren’t already completely and utterly blown away, wait until we mention the sleek swimming pool tent, and the fact that it’s the only one of its kind on the continent. We did say there was nowhere quite like it!
Jack’s Camp is a Kalahari Desert camp, located in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the remnants of an enormous super-lake that used to cover most of Southern Africa. Jack Bousfield himself described the area as the “savage beauty of a forgotten Africa”, and truly, the Makgadikgadi is like nowhere on earth.
It’s a landscape of space and remoteness, and the spectacular, otherworldly vistas, unique desert wildlife, and old-world glamour of Jack’s Camp all come together to create an experience that is unlike any other on the continent.
The desert is never a place of abundance. But we’ve spent many years here (not quite as many as Jack, but a good number!), and it still surprises us. The Makgadikgadi is full of elusive species and desert-adapted animals and the perfect complement to Botswana’s traditionally game-rich areas, like the Khwai Private Reserve and the Okavango Delta.
The brown hyena is a symbol of what’s to come in the Makgadikgadi. There are only 8000 of these special hunters left in the world, and there aren’t many other places you’ll encounter one. Other carnivores that know how to eke out their survival here include aardwolves and bat-eared foxes, honey badgers and black-maned Kalahari lion.
Then there’s aardvark, gemsbok, springbok and black-backed jackals to look out for on game drives, and perhaps even an elephant or two. And last, but definitely not least, the meerkats. We’ve been busy pioneering a meerkat habituation project with some of the world’s pre-eminent researchers. The cheeky creatures are still very wild, but they do enjoy coming to say hello.
• Game drives in open 4x4 Landcruisers – the camp has 3 custom designed vehicles with 2 rows of seats behind the front row thus seating max. 5 guests when allowing each guest an outside seat • A morning spent with the Suricate (Meerkat) • Bird walks to observe migratory waterfowl breeding / feeding sites. • Very limited usage of 4WD quad bikes and vehicles on the pans – weather permitting and if the pans are dry • Night drives to view migration and unique desert wildlife. • Game walk with Bushman trackers. • Visit to Chapman’s Baobab (the campsite of Livingstone, Selous and Baines) • Visit remote area dwellings / cattle posts to gain insight into local tribal tradition and culture. • Explore undocumented archaeological sites to search for stone tools and fossils of extinct mega fauna left in the area by early settlements, weather permitting.
• Extensive usage of 4WD quad bikes • Explore undocumented archaeological sites to search for stone tools and fossils of extinct mega fauna left in the area by early settlements, weather permitting. • Night drives to view unique desert wildlife. • Game walk with Bushman trackers. • Visit to Chapman’s Baobab (the campsite of Livingstone, Selous and Baines • A morning spent with the Suricate (Meerkat)
Accommodation Rates:- From $1,290 per person per night sharing. Please contact us for a quote and suggested itinerary.