Fodor's Expert Review Jack's Camp

Makgadikgadi Pans, Central, Botswana

Rebuilt in 2020 on a grand scale, the new Jack's Camp represents a significant luxury upgrade while still maintaining its classic 1940s East African safari style and whimsical sense of adventure. Cavernous tents on decks, set in a palm grove, are lined with rose-patterned billowing ceilings and curtains, and feature Persian rugs, brass fittings, throne toilets, indoor and outdoor showers, and four-poster beds complete with cooling systems---a welcome addition for the summer months. A separate lounge area offers an array of plush seating among an eclectic mix of antique furniture, ostrich eggs, ancient artifacts, photos, and maps. Outside, on your expansive deck, a hanging daybed is suspended next to the plunge pool. The expanded mess tent comprises a bar area, complete with a snooker table, where drinks are served from a giant wooden chest­; a lounge-museum where oversized sofas and chests are surrounded by glass cases housing hundreds of fascinating natural history and anthropological exhibits; and a dining area where guests swap stories across a long single table, while savoring delicious plated meals, overlooking the surreal Makgadikgadi landscape. Afternoon tea is served in a separate cushion- and rug-laden tea tent, while a huge pool (often very cold) is housed in yet another tent. The camp's highly qualified guides are respected throughout Botswana for their love and commitment to this amazing area. Although the introduction of pumped waterholes means there is a larger resident population of zebra and wildebeest than in the past—elephants, lion, and even cheetah pass through on occasion—the focus is on unique desert-adapted animals and plants like meerkats, bat-eared foxes, brown hyenas, salt bushes, and desert palms. You can also explore the pans on quads or learn about the unique ecosystem from the enigmatic San Bushmen.

PROS

  • Exclusivity and isolation
  • Unique, alternative safari experience
  • Good chance to see meerkats

CONS

  • No Wi-Fi
  • The desert locale can be dusty
  • Not renowned for big game

QUICK FACTS

Resort
$$$$

HOTEL INFO

Phones: 27-21-001–1574-in South Africa

HOTEL DETAILS

9 tents
Rate Includes: All-Inclusive

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