Camp Kalahari

Mystical and magical, and truly wild. This is the delightfully unusual Camp Kalahari, little sister to the legendary Jack’s and San camps. Imagine a vast, near barren landscape, dotted with a few palm fringed islands. And this simple camp. The area is actually one of those enviably dark patches on a map of the electrified world. A true privilege it is to take in the solitude, the peace, the stars, the soulfulness, and the natural beauty here.

Location

Where is Camp Kalahari? It is literally in the middle of nowhere, perched on Brown Hyena Island on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Pan. Three separate pans essentially make up the Makgadikgadi Basin – Nxai Pan in the north, Ntwetwe Pan – the famous one – and Sua Pans in the south – the one with the flamingoes and Kubu Island. Together these three pans make up the largest inland salt pans in the world – with a surface area the size of Switzerland.

You might think there is nothing here, and you’d be partially correct. But you can expect to see ellies, and lion too. Botswana’s own famous zebra and wildebeest annual migrations pass through, and other interesting animals have adapted well to this dry area – think brown hyena and black-backed jackal, and the very cute spring hare, which is not, in fact, a hare, but a rodent.

Camp

The camp is stylish and remote. We like to say that style has a wild side, and that’s certainly true of Camp Kalahari. Simple doesn’t have to be ordinary, and this camp is anything but, filled with wooden Afro-antiques set on Moroccan kilims from founder Ralph Bousfield’s travels. With a colourful, North African sensibility to the décor, you too will feel like a traveller who’s found their super eclectic, pan-African happy place. Most importantly there is an inviting pool in the main area.

Rooms

There are 12 typical safari tents, with four-poster beds and the same Moroccan feel. Four of the tents are raised on stilts and with unimpeded views over the entire landscape. Shower alfresco in complete privacy, and if you’re travelling with the fam, choose one of the interconnecting family tents; with a bathroom linking the space for children and adults, it’s ideal for families and groups.

Activities and experiences

In addition to game drives, there are a few very special included activities. Expect your brand-new safari socks to be knocked off by the Meerkat Experience. It’s an opportunity to sit with these habituated hunters, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll become a lookout as they use your added elevation to scan the pan. The other must-do is a walk with the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen. This excursion will win over the most hardened travel critic. You’ll learn how they survived for millennia off their wits, and the land, and fall in love with their humour and charm. It’s quite emotional to be amongst a community that is considered the first people of Africa. Back in the present, you’ll win the Instagram story of the day with your footage from quad biking out over the pans.

Stuff we love

The middle of nowhere

  • A great camp for families, and children of all ages are welcome as there’s a fence around the camp.
  • The breath-taking scenic helicopter flight over the pans. See the flamingos and stop on Kubu Island for brunch. (not included).
  • The stark drama of the area: horizon-wide, salt-baked, sun-scorched pans. Photo-ops for days.

Camp Kalahari in pictures

Lodge activities

Birdwatching Icon
Birdwatching
Bush Walk icon
Bush Walk
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Camp pool
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Cultural excursion
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Game Drive
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Helicopter
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Horseriding
Night Drive
Night Drive
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Quad-biking

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