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Botswana Safari

San Camp

Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana

San Camp, The Makgadikgadi Pans
Return to Map of Makgadikgadi

View images of San Camps: San Images
View Camp Layout Map of San Camp: San Map

SAN CAMP RATES: San Camp Rates

Classic white tents stand majestically, perched on the shore of an enormous sparkling salt pan, each sheltered by a cluster of stately desert palms. Spectacular vistas, soothing and serene - Pared down safari elegance with minimal ecological impact, it is the nothingness that attracts…

San Camp also runs almost entirely on solar energy, thus dramatically reducing the use of fossil fuels. Expert guiding, incredibly friendly habituated meerkats, unique desert species, old-world safari styling and superb cuisine all come together to create an experience that is completely different to any other. The perfect place to relax, unwind and retreat.

A visit to the area is essential for anyone interested in evolution and the origins and explanation of the Okavango Delta and Botswana’s big picture. It is also a complete desert experience focusing on species unique to the area such as Gemsbok, Brown Hyena and Springbok, as well as the geology, archaeology and anthropology of the Kalahari and Makgadikgadi. Jack's and San Camp are the only places where guests are practically guaranteed to see the rare and elusive Brown Hyena in the whole of Africa.

San Camp is situated on the edge of the vast and mysterious Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the remnant of an extinct super lake that once covered most of Botswana. The Makgadikgadi Pans are in the middle of the Kalahari Desert – which extends across 80% of Botswana.

Accommodation            For images of San Camp, click San Images              For Layout map of San Camp, click San Map
A maximum of 12 guests are accommodated in 4 Twin and 3 Double tents with en-suite bathrooms and spacious verandah. Tents are spacious and stylish.  Beds are replete with cool and crunchy cotton sheets, feather bedding and hot water bottles.

Note: San Camp is only open during the Dry Season.
Winter 16th April – 31st October/30th November. Opening dates & activities are weather dependent.

The wet season is generally from late November through March and into April. Activities during the wet season include game drives in open 4x4 vehicles custom designed for the terrain to experience the enormous herds of the annual Zebra and Wildebeest migration. Bird walks to observe migratory waterfowl (flamingos, storks, Wattled crane, ducks, terns, etc.) and their breeding and feeding sites are another option. Depending on the amount of recent rainfall, guests will have usage of 4WD quad bikes and vehicles on the salt pans, an exhilarating way to see the area.

Night drives to view migration and unique desert wildlife (Brown Hyena, Aardvark, Aardwolf etc) are a special favorite. Game walks with Bushman trackers to observe the desert wildlife such as Gemsbok, Meerkat, and Springbok are a great way to learn how the indigenous San people survive in this seemingly inhospitable land. Finally, a visit to the historic Baobab Trees are always on the agenda (the campsites of Livingstone, Selous and Baines).

The dry season accommodates much more extensive use of the quad bikes out on the pans. All other activities are available as well. The camps also operate a 5-day fly camp option to Kubu Island (weather permitting) with quad bikes for parties with at least four guests.

Kubu Trips       
A fantastic opportunity to combine three nights at San Camp with an epic quad bike journey across the pans and two nights spent sleeping out under the stars near Kubu Island. This crescent shaped island has terraced slopes with fossil beaches of wave-rounded pebbles, providing startling evidence of the prehistoric lake's former water levels. Crowned with an array of ancient, gnarled baobabs and surrounded on three sides by a vast grey emptiness, Kubu has a unique atmosphere, and is one of the most graphically beautiful spots in Botswana.

The five day minimum is a set itinerary, spending two nights/one day in San Camp in traditional but comfortable safari tents experiencing the surrounding area. Take game drives into the Makgadikgadi National Park to learn how the Kalahari Desert was formed as well as how the unique desert species are adapted to living in this sometimes extremely harsh environment. These activities are conducted in luxuriously appointed customized Land cruisers, or on foot with a Bushman Tracker.

On the morning of your second day in camp, depart on the quad bikes across the main pan en-route to Kubu Island. The journey to and from Kubu is extremely interesting as it includes a very ancient defence fortification which was only discovered three years ago. The next two days/two nights are spent exploring Kubu Island and the surrounding area. The last night will be spent back at either San Camp depending on how bookings are in either camp.

Kubu itself, a granite extrusion island studded with baobabs, is of course one of the most graphically beautiful spots in Botswana and is full of intriguing detail, such as ancient walling and European trade and Bushman beads. It is also close to what is probably the biggest greater and lesser flamingo breeding site in the world. 30,000 flamingo fledge there when water is good and although the mud mound nests are deserted at the times of the year when we are able to visit Kubu, they are still very interesting to visit. Many chicks are left to die if they hatch too late to be able to join the incredible march across the Pans that the young flamingos undertake in search of water. Their remains lie on the pan surface almost petrified by the salt. Unhatched eggs also remain in some of the thousands of abandoned nests.

While in this fascinating area, you will have the opportunity to visit the extinct mouth of the Zambezi which together with various other rivers, once flowed into the Pans. The remaining beach is covered with beautiful water-worn pebbles amongst which you can find semi- precious stones such as garnets and cornelians.

Accommodation is in canvas bedrolls which are laid out under the stars. There are no dangerous animals as such and as the Makgadikgadi is one of the most perfect places to stargaze, a starry sky makes the perfect ceiling! Hot showers and a long-drop loo are provided, and delicious meals are served on damask tablecloths set with bone-handled silver as in San Camp.

On the morning of your last day, you depart from Kubu, once again setting off across the Pans on the quad bikes to reach San Camp in time for tea.

The most important aspect of these trips is that it gives us a chance to truly understand the Pans, how they were formed as well as the history, both 'recent' (ie. Livingstone etc.) as well as stone age. You will experience a sense of true adventure, active involvement as well as the sense of space that can only be felt upon reaching your destination after driving across white pans with absolutely nothing else in sight for several hours! The Pans are the size of Switzerland, a fact that is difficult for many to comprehend. This trip goes some way towards explaining the many mysteries of this fascinating and still very much unknown area.

Top           Return to Map of Makgadikgadi

Water / Land Activity Table for Botswana camps:  Water/Land Botswana
Flying Times between Botswana camps:  Fly Times Botswana

For further information about the Makgadikgadi Pans, click More Makgadikgadi
For further information about Botswana, click More Botswana

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