Camp Kalahari

Simple Style in the Kalahari

The laidback little sister of Jack’s and San Camp, Camp Kalahari is our understated and affordable base in the heart of the great Kalahari. Set amongst the waving palms and acacia trees of Brown Hyaena Island, the 11 funky Meru tents are perfect for families, groups and couples, and are an ideal base for discovering the charms of the desert and the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, a landscape that’s as surreal as it is sublime, and as mysterious as it is magical.

And if you’re looking for adventure, then look no further! We’ve got quad bike adventures, across the otherworldly salt pans, walks with the Zu’/hoasi bushmen to discover the amazing creatures that somehow manage to survive (and thrive) in this harsh environment, and our very own ‘’Kalahari cool cats,’’ the habituated meerkat family who like nothing more than to use unsuspecting guests as lookout points. Come for a day, and you’ll be wowed by the landscape and the people; stay for a few days and you might never want to leave…

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From $ 560 PER PERSON

Interested in learning more about the prices? View Rates

Details, Details

Why Book this Camp?

  • Camp Kalahari is one of only three camps in a one million-acre private wildlife reserve, with just ten, Meru-style tents set amongst the palms.
  • There’s a veritable blockbuster of activities to get stuck into, including quad biking, horseback riding, bushman walks and traditional game drives.
  • CK is great camp for families. It’s unique, fresh, and affordable, children from all ages are welcome, there’s a dedicated family suite and a fence around the camp too.
  • Watch 50,000 zebra and wildebeest migrate through the area from January to April.
  • Enjoy lazy siestas in the swimming pool pavilion and, in the dry season, watch the ellies come to drink at the water – a memory you won’t forget in a hurry!

At-a-Glance

Accommodation & Amenities

  • 11 tents: 6 twins, 4 doubles, 1 family
  • Ensuite bathrooms with indoor showers
  • Swimming pool
  • Wifi available: No
  • Hairdryers: No
  • Battery charging facilities: In the mess tent
  • Complimentary laundry service
  • Child policy: We welcome all ages
  • Disabled access: Please enquire with reservations

What’s included?

  • All meals and local drinks; activities (NB some activities at an extra surcharge)

What’s not included?

  • Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; insurance

Camp dates

Camp Kalahari is open all year round

Green season: 10th January to 31st March

Shoulder season: 1st April to 14th June; 1st November 9th January

High season: 15th June to 31st July; 1st September to 31st October

Peak season: 1st – 31st August

camp kalahari pool
camp kalahari quads

Activities

Year Round

  • Up-close encounters with our habituated meerkats.
  • Join the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen on bush walks through the desert.
  • Take game drives and night drives in custom built 4x4s to see the unique desert wildlife.
  • Embark on an adventurous half day or full day horseback safari (for all levels of riders; additional charge, but included if staying for three nights or longer).

High Season (April 16 – October 31)

  • Quad bike across the salt-crusted pans.
  • Lie out on the pans as the sun sets, and watch the planetarium of stars unfold.

Green Season (January 1 – April 15, November 1 – December 31)

  • Witness the second largest migration of zebra and wildebeest in Africa (and it’s also the last remaining one in Southern Africa).

Location

All of our camps surrounding the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park support the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative, a project aimed at creating optimal conditions for the mammal migration through the area. What is believed to have been Africa’s greatest large mammal migration used to occur here and, over the last decade, we’ve seen its gradual return. But since the migration last occurred (pre-1960), the landscape has changed considerably. This has led to land use incompatibilities primarily due to livestock and fencing, and the safe passage of the migration is not guaranteed. The Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative therefore aims to address human-wildlife conflict around the park through community-informed land use planning and the introduction of sustainable economic incentives for wildlife-friendly land use practices.

 

drinks on pans

When To Go

In the desert, rain is everything. When the drops start to fall, the transformation of the desert around Camp Kalahari is remarkable – the words chalk and cheese spring to mind! From November onwards, the cycle of life is stimulated, and algae blooms, crustaceans breed, and clouds of flamingo descend. Then comes the rumble of Africa’s second largest ungulate migration; epic herds of 30,000 zebra and wildebeest chased by black-maned lion, cheetah, wild dog and leopard. Dramatic to say the least.

In the dry season (May to October), normal, desert duties are resumed on the Makgadikgadi Pans. A haze settles above the salt, and the sun shimmers on the scorched, dry ground. And those photos of us racing across the landscape atop roaring quadbikes? This is the perfect time of year to try it out.

Camp Story

In the 1960s, crocodile hunter Jack Bousfield crossed the mysterious Makgadikgadi, armed with a ragged map and not much else. Struck by the eerie emptiness of the pans, he rolled out his sleeping mat in a peaceful spot beneath the mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, and drifted off to sleep. A few decades later, we built Camp Kalahari in this exact spot in homage to Jack. We wanted a camp that made every guest feel like an explorer, and so came the traditional design and style that evokes memories of old. What we didn’t want was a camp that dominated the landscape and instead, the buildings celebrate the rugged beauty of the surroundings.

While Jack was one of the first foreigners to cross the Makgadikgadi in a century, Zu’/Hoasi Bushmen called the area home long before. They are the true legends of the pans, and find opportunity in the queerest of places. For an insight into their incredible way of life, join the Bushmen on a morning walk or multi-day adventure – you might just come to appreciate this otherworldly landscape from a different perspective.

Why Book this Camp?

  • Camp Kalahari is one of only three camps in a one million-acre private wildlife reserve, with just ten, Meru-style tents set amongst the palms.
  • There’s a veritable blockbuster of activities to get stuck into, including quad biking, horseback riding, bushman walks and traditional game drives.
  • CK is great camp for families. It’s unique, fresh, and affordable, children from all ages are welcome, there’s a dedicated family suite and a fence around the camp too.
  • Watch 50,000 zebra and wildebeest migrate through the area from January to April.
  • Enjoy lazy siestas in the swimming pool pavilion and, in the dry season, watch the ellies come to drink at the water – a memory you won’t forget in a hurry!

At-a-Glance

Accommodation & Amenities

  • 11 tents: 6 twins, 4 doubles, 1 family
  • Ensuite bathrooms with indoor showers
  • Swimming pool
  • Wifi available: No
  • Hairdryers: No
  • Battery charging facilities: In the mess tent
  • Complimentary laundry service
  • Child policy: We welcome all ages
  • Disabled access: Please enquire with reservations

What’s included?

  • All meals and local drinks; activities (NB some activities at an extra surcharge)

What’s not included?

  • Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities; insurance

Camp dates

Camp Kalahari is open all year round

Green season: 10th January to 31st March

Shoulder season: 1st April to 14th June; 1st November 9th January

High season: 15th June to 31st July; 1st September to 31st October

Peak season: 1st – 31st August

camp kalahari pool
camp kalahari quads

Activities

Year Round

  • Up-close encounters with our habituated meerkats.
  • Join the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen on bush walks through the desert.
  • Take game drives and night drives in custom built 4x4s to see the unique desert wildlife.
  • Embark on an adventurous half day or full day horseback safari (for all levels of riders; additional charge, but included if staying for three nights or longer).

High Season (April 16 – October 31)

  • Quad bike across the salt-crusted pans.
  • Lie out on the pans as the sun sets, and watch the planetarium of stars unfold.

Green Season (January 1 – April 15, November 1 – December 31)

  • Witness the second largest migration of zebra and wildebeest in Africa (and it’s also the last remaining one in Southern Africa).

Conservation

All of our camps surrounding the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park support the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative, a project aimed at creating optimal conditions for the mammal migration through the area. What is believed to have been Africa’s greatest large mammal migration used to occur here and, over the last decade, we’ve seen its gradual return. But since the migration last occurred (pre-1960), the landscape has changed considerably. This has led to land use incompatibilities primarily due to livestock and fencing, and the safe passage of the migration is not guaranteed. The Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative therefore aims to address human-wildlife conflict around the park through community-informed land use planning and the introduction of sustainable economic incentives for wildlife-friendly land use practices.

 

drinks on pans

When To Go

In the desert, rain is everything. When the drops start to fall, the transformation of the desert around Camp Kalahari is remarkable – the words chalk and cheese spring to mind! From November onwards, the cycle of life is stimulated, and algae blooms, crustaceans breed, and clouds of flamingo descend. Then comes the rumble of Africa’s second largest ungulate migration; epic herds of 30,000 zebra and wildebeest chased by black-maned lion, cheetah, wild dog and leopard. Dramatic to say the least.

In the dry season (May to October), normal, desert duties are resumed on the Makgadikgadi Pans. A haze settles above the salt, and the sun shimmers on the scorched, dry ground. And those photos of us racing across the landscape atop roaring quadbikes? This is the perfect time of year to try it out.

Camp Story

In the 1960s, crocodile hunter Jack Bousfield crossed the mysterious Makgadikgadi, armed with a ragged map and not much else. Struck by the eerie emptiness of the pans, he rolled out his sleeping mat in a peaceful spot beneath the mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, and drifted off to sleep. A few decades later, we built Camp Kalahari in this exact spot in homage to Jack. We wanted a camp that made every guest feel like an explorer, and so came the traditional design and style that evokes memories of old. What we didn’t want was a camp that dominated the landscape and instead, the buildings celebrate the rugged beauty of the surroundings.

While Jack was one of the first foreigners to cross the Makgadikgadi in a century, Zu’/Hoasi Bushmen called the area home long before. They are the true legends of the pans, and find opportunity in the queerest of places. For an insight into their incredible way of life, join the Bushmen on a morning walk or multi-day adventure – you might just come to appreciate this otherworldly landscape from a different perspective.

Accommodations

Laidback and understated, nothing is overly elaborate at Camp Kalahari. Instead, you’ll find 11, Meru-style canvas tents filled with fresh textiles, Moroccan kilims and funky four-posters. Shower alfresco in the open-air, ensuite bathrooms (there’s definitely no one around to disturb your privacy here!), and there’s plenty of hot and cold water available throughout the day. If you’re travelling with your brood, choose the interconnecting family tent; with a bathroom linking the space for children and adults, it’s ideal for families and groups.

The common areas include a central library and a living and dining area, festooned with an eclectic mix of original African furniture and colonial antiques. Meals are refreshingly simple and wonderfully tasty, and served, family-style, at the long table. There’s also a thatched swimming pool, providing the perfect place for a refreshing dip on a hot afternoon – just watch out for the eles who might pop in for a quick drink too. We’ve kept our use of electricity to a minimum too; there are electrical lights in the bedrooms, but when night falls, the majority of camp is lit by twinkling paraffin lanterns (but camera batteries and other appliances can be charged in the safari vehicles when required).

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Wildlife

Brown Hyaena Island, the palm dotted island that Camp Kalahari calls home, took its name from (can you guess?), the brown hyaena. Bashful yet brilliant at foraging and scavenging, this is the third rarest large carnivore in Africa, and an animal that’s virtually impossible to see elsewhere on the continent. But that’s just the beginning of what you might see in the Makgadikgadi: look out for bat-eared foxes, aardvark and aardwolves scampering across the salt, elephant plodding through on their nomadic journey (our swimming pool is a welcome refreshment stop!), and dazzling numbers of zebra and wildebeest. And where there’s a zebra, a predator will never be far away, so keep an eye out for cheetah and lion, close on the hooves of the herds. Not to be forgotten are our cheeky, habituated meerkats, a constant source of amusement and a regular feature of a safari at Camp Kalahari.

 

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The Landscape

Camp Kalahari sits amongst the acacias and mokolwane palms of Brown Hyaena Island, on the edge of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans and adjacent to the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans National Park. So, what on earth does that mean, we hear you cry? It means that you’re surrounded by dry savannah and the semi-arid Kalahari Desert. The salt-baked, sun-scorched pans are clear of vegetation, quite simply because it can’t grow, but around them are glittering grasslands and profusions of enormous baobabs. It doesn’t get much more dramatic than that.

bushman walk

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