Central Kalahari or Makgadikgadi


Dec 14th, 2004, 06:13 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 32
Central Kalahari or Makgadikgadi

I was just looking for advice from you well seasoned travellers. My wife and i only have enough time (3nights) to visit either Jacks Camp or deception valley. We are planning our trip for october/november time. Any advice would be much appreciated.
photoholic is offline  
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Dec 14th, 2004, 12:23 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Either will do, and it really depends on preferences. Jack’s is the more established of two and therefore carries more prestige. Ralf Bousfield is the owner and a guide/host extraordinaire, but he’s not always around. The great attraction here is the vastness of the pans, beautiful vistas and getting to know the God’s smaller creatures. Squirrels – not lions – are the usual highlight of the day, and an entire afternoon can be spent learning about an enormous Baobab tree and its relevance to 19th century history (more fun than it sounds!)

Deception Valley Lodge is far newer and there is far more chance of seeing big game, but the main attraction is the Bushmen. The rainy season (incl. Nov) is considered the best time to visit this area, which can be a howling dust bowl for the greater part of the year. Access to the central Kalahari was very restricted until relatively recently, so although it may not feel like it, the Lodge is in fact more remote than Jack’s but the quality of service in both is first rate.

The desert experience is not about wildlife, but rather being made aware of the stark contrast in surroundings that both Jack’s and Deception provide when compared to any of the camps further north. So it all comes down to personal preference and the best thing to do is have a look at the pictures at http://www.unchartedafrica.com for Jack’s camp and www.deceptionvalley.co.za for the Lodge and see which one appeals most. But I assure that in this instance, you cannot make the wrong choice.
veldt is offline  
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Dec 15th, 2004, 09:27 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Having not been to both I can only tell you about my experience at Jack's where we spent 4 nights this June.

Main activities included an entire morning sitting, walking and photographing amidst a habituated meerkat group, an afternoon sat watching brown hyena at a den site, another drive where the highlights were an immense herd of zebra and a lingering flock of flamingoes flying above us as the sun began to set. We also loved the quad biking on the pans and the morning walk with the bushmen was also very interesting. They showed us many local plants and what they are used for, they demonstrated how to create a snare and they shared a number of their folklore stores.

Ontop of this the tented accommodation was beautiful and comfortable (wood-panelled bathroom with running hot and cold water (not a bucket shower any more) and a fully flushing toilet (not a drop loo any longer).

Meals were very enjoyable too and the public areas very attractive. I strongly recommend letting the booking agent know about any anniversaries/ birthdays that fall during your stay and asking them to ensure that the staff know about them. That's all I'll say on that matter.

The guides are mostly young graduates who have a special interest (and thorough knowledge of) animals, geology, anthropology and birding and our guide, Graham Bowles, is absolutely excellent. Hugely informative, very enthusiastic, excellent attention to detail and a lot of fun too.

The camp also have lots of other little treats up their sleeves to make your stay magical but to find out about those you'll just have to visit.

I'd recommend 3 nights here, not 2.
Kavey is offline  
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Dec 17th, 2004, 04:49 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 330
I'm like Kavey and have 'only' been to Jack's Camp. It was absolutely unique with very high quality guides and managers. Game included plenty of zebra, wildebeest, bat-eared foxes, and jackals to name a few. The landscape itself is worth the trip. The ATV ride into the salt pans is not only fun but takes you out into a surreal world you won't see anywhere else, where the sunset and the stars are incredible. The atmosphere was very cool and different from the Okavango camps. As Kavey says, there will be once-in-a-lifetime experiences that you will remember in your dreams forever. Don't want to spoil it for you, so I advise you to go to Jack's!
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