Jack’s Camp: Our View
Jack’s Camp is located in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the remnants of an enormous super-lake that used to cover most of Southern Africa. This distinctive landscape of space and remoteness, and spectacular, otherworldly vistas, as well as unique desert wildlife, creates a safari experience that is unlike any other on the continent.
Jack’s Camp recently underwent a complete renovation/rebuild and pays homage to the property’s enduring, much-loved 1940s old-world glamour camp style.
The nine guest tents, each measure 270 square metres in size and all have ensuite bathrooms as well as indoor and outdoor showers. Outside, each tent has its own veranda with a private plunge pool. The interiors are opulent and embellished with rich textiles from around the world. Natural History Museum cabinets, as well as an overhead bed cooling system are to be found in each room.
The large mess tent is spectacular with the renowned Natural History Museum, library, antique pool table, and a well-stocked drinks chest. Guests can also enjoy their afternoon tea and sweet treats in the very unique nomadic Persian tea tent.
When visiting Jack’s Camp one can truly feel and experience the desire to preserve and see local fauna and flora flourish. This is mirrored in the camp’s excellent guiding, along with the staff’s caring, passionate and dedicated attitude. So quite frankly you cannot go wrong with Jack’s Camp.
Price wise Jack’s Camp is positioned amongst the more expensive luxury camps in Botswana. That said it is truly unique and is in our opinion certainly worth a visit.
Jack’s Camp: Quick Facts
- 9 luxury tents, 7 twins, 2 doubles
- Rooms are an enormous, at 270 sq metres: 135 sq metres indoors and 135 sq metres outdoors, all have ensuite bathrooms with indoor & outdoor showers, private plunge pools, and bed cooling systems
- Swimming pool pavilion
- Persian tea tent
- 24-hour electricity in the tents (100% solar-powered)
- game drives (day & night), game drives in the Makgadikgadi National Park during longer stays
- Habituated Meerkat visits
- bush walk with Zu/’hoasi Bushmen
- Excursion to the site of the historic Chapman’s Baobab
- Helicopter flip
- Horseback rides (suitable for all levels of riders)
Jack’s Camp: The Details
Jack’s Camp is named after the crocodile catcher and legendary hunter Jack Bousfield who set out on a trapping expedition in the desolate Makgadikgadi Pans in the 1960s and stumbled upon a site that so captured his imagination that he set up a camp in that very spot. Jack passed away in a plane crash in 1992, and Ralph, Jack’s son, along with his partner Catherine, established the Uncharted Africa Safari Company in homage to his father’s vision. Jack’s Camp was refurbished in the nostalgic 1940s style we know today, but kept as authentic and genuine as possible: no electricity, steaming water in gleaming copper jugs, and showers under the stars.
Jack’s Camp is a year-round destination, yet the two seasons couldn’t be more different. The dry season, from April to October, is the desert as one expects it: a shimmering whiteness envelops the scorched landscape, like a mirage floating over the crusted salt, and you’ll spot nomadic herds in the distance, as if an illusion. This is the time of year for whizzing across the pans on the back of a quad bike, sleeping under the stars, and enjoying the pans in their most iconic state.
When the rains start to fall in November, the Makgadikgadi Pans are transformed. It’s a time of plenty (even in the desert), and the salt flats are turned into watery grasslands, almost unrecognisable from the previous months. A layer of emerald-green grass stretches out in every direction, pink clouds of flamingo and flocks of migratory birds arrive to nest, and Africa’s second largest mammal migration of wildebeest and zebra floods the plains. This is called the “green season” in the desert, one of Africa’s great and unpredictable spectacles, and truly a magical time to visit. The safari activities during this period are similar to other months in this area. Although you usually won’t travel as far; on many days you can see the wildlife directly from your veranda. This green season continues until mid-April and corresponds with the off season for tourism in Botswana, making it a slightly cheaper time to travel.
As mentioned before the safari expertience here is unique to the African continent. 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. You may be lucky enough to see the brown hyena during your game drives. There are only 8000 of these special scavenge/hunters left in the world, and there aren’t many other places you’ll encounter one. Other unusual and rarely spotted carnivores include aardwolves and bat-eared foxes, honey badgers and the black-maned Kalahari lion. Then there’s aardvark, gemsbok, springbok and black-backed jackals to look out for whilst on game drives, and perhaps even an elephant or two. And last, but definitely not least, the meerkats. Jack’s Camp has 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.