Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
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SAN CAMP RATES: San Camp
- MAKGADIKGADI PANS, BOTSWANA
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
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
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.
For images of San Camp, click San
Images For Layout map of San Camp, click San
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
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
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
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
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
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
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/ Land Activity Table for Botswana camps: Water/Land
Times between Botswana camps: Fly
further information about the Makgadikgadi Pans, click More
further information about Botswana, click More