Rating: Deluxe Price from: £735 pp full board
A luxury tented camp in the wilderness of Botswana's Makgadikgadi Pans.
San Camp is a unique romantic camp made of the Stewart Granger Memorial Collection of 1940s safari tents. They are en-suite with hot and cold running water and flush toilets. They have four poster beds with mosquito net canopies. There is no electricity but there are paraffin lamps, giving a comforting glow at night. There are six of these tents in white canvas and set in a complete wilderness location in Makgadikgadi.
The camp is in a private area overlooking the vistas of the open salt pans, dotted with tall palm trees and endless views of grasslands which were formed 5 - 7 million years ago. This is now the site of fascinating fossils and ancient baobab trees.
The Kalahari desert region is home to fascinating species such as the Brown Hyaena, meerkats, ostrich and Gemsbok Oryx. Guests venture onto the pans on quad bikes so as not to disturb the surface of the ground with larger vehicles. Once out on the pans, there is nothing .... no noise, no trees, just the crunch of your boots.
The emphasis of a visit here is to understand this fascinating eco-system and learn from the guides and the bushmen about the desert adapted animals, tracking them and learning about the fossils and ancient lands.
Open: San Camp is open from 16 April to 15 October.
Location: The camp is on the edge of Ntwetwe Pan adjoining Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. The nearest airstrip is Tsigaro, about an hour’s flight from Maun, and from here it’s approximately a half hour drive to the camp.
Rooms: There are 6 guest tents, made up of 4 twins and 2 doubles. They are vintage, 1940s style, with 4-poster beds, hurriane lamps, fabric-lined walls, woven rugs and personal butler service. The en-suite bathroom is reached through the rear of the bedroom and has a bucket shower with solar-heated water, hand basin and flush toilet. The tents are set well apart from each other, all facing the pans, and at varying distances to the central area, with the furthest being about a 10-minute walk away
Activities: You can go on walks with one of the camp’s resident guides and a San Bushman, viewing game and finding out how the San survive in this apparently harsh environment. Game drives in 4x4 vehicles by day and night are available to venture further from the camp. It is also possible to visit Chapman’s Baobab, reckoned to be one of the largest and oldest trees on the continent, although in 2016 this mighty tree fell to the ground. You can take trips to observe a group of habituated meerkats as they emerge from their burrows in the morning before they set off foraging for food. In the dry season, July to October, you can explore the salt pans by quad bike, though no safety helmets are provided so we would not recommend this activity.
Facilities: The camp has a mess tent where meals are served, which has a library, small natural history museum and a lounge-bar. There’s a tea tent cum lounge for unwinding in style, and a separate yoga pavilion. The camp fire is situated in front of the main area. There is a laundry service.
Dining: Most meals are eaten together as a group around the long table in the dining tent.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. Families with children under 13 must book private activities.
Health: This is a malaria area.
Communication: There is no internet access or mobile reception. The camp communicates with head office using a radio.