Jacks Camp Makgadikgadi | Art of Safari

Jack’s Camp | Makgadikgadi Pans National Park Luxury Botswana Safari Lodge

Jack’s Camp has achieved iconic status (no mean feat in Botswana) by way of its staggering location in the Kalahari Desert (described by its founder as possessing ‘the savage beauty of a forgotten Africa’) and its own uniquely elegant style, not to mention the opportunities for exploration it offers.

The place

Arriving at Jack’s Camp, we soon discover that the terrain around it is largely flat. So flat, and so expansive, that you can see the curvature of the Earth. I’m not sure whether this is an optical illusion or not, but the camp we see before us is very real – and very wonderful.The desert breeze flutters the fronds of the mokolwane trees, and following the line of their trunks downwards, we see the first of the tents belonging to this luxury Botswana safari lodge, taut canvas rippling and doors invitingly hooked open. I turn around to take in the vastness of the scenery: the horizon seems very far away, and in the heat shimmer I fancy I see a line of antelope or people making their way towards us.The white, glittering surface of the pans reminds me of a frozen lake – and indeed it was once the bed of giant inland lake. A myth of hoofprints criss-crosses the ground, and I breathe in a deep lungful of pure, unsullied Kalahari air.

Arriving at Jack’s Camp, we soon discover that the terrain around it is largely flat. So flat, and so expansive, that you can see the curvature of the Earth. I’m not sure whether this is an optical illusion or not, but the camp we see before us is very real – and very wonderful.

The desert breeze flutters the fronds of the mokolwane trees, and following the line of their trunks downwards, we see the first of the tents belonging to this luxury Botswana safari lodge, taut canvas rippling and doors invitingly hooked open. I turn around to take in the vastness of the scenery: the horizon seems very far away, and in the heat shimmer I fancy I see a line of antelope or people making their way towards us.

The white, glittering surface of the pans reminds me of a frozen lake – and indeed it was once the bed of giant inland lake. A myth of hoofprints criss-crosses the ground, and I breathe in a deep lungful of pure, unsullied Kalahari air.

The room

Our fixed tent is almost impossibly romantic, infused as it is with the elegance and spirit of the golden age of safaris; the four-poster bed even has a canopy! Antique wildlife prints adorn the walls, and on our private verandah we find chairs and a small drinks table arranged on a Persian rug.The colours and old-school opulence of the interior are thrown into relief by the striking, seemingly limitless views. My partner has discovered the outdoor shower, and I begin to imagine ablutions by silvery moonlight.As my eyes adjust to the quality of the light, I spot another figure wobbling towards us, the heat haze giving it the ability to float. As it draws nearer, it resolves itself into a smiling waiter, bearing a silver tray and two glasses of homemade iced tea, already beaded with condensation despite the tea tent being only a minute away.

Our fixed tent is almost impossibly romantic, infused as it is with the elegance and spirit of the golden age of safaris; the four-poster bed even has a canopy! Antique wildlife prints adorn the walls, and on our private verandah we find chairs and a small drinks table arranged on a Persian rug.

The colours and old-school opulence of the interior are thrown into relief by the striking, seemingly limitless views. My partner has discovered the outdoor shower, and I begin to imagine ablutions by silvery moonlight.

As my eyes adjust to the quality of the light, I spot another figure wobbling towards us, the heat haze giving it the ability to float. As it draws nearer, it resolves itself into a smiling waiter, bearing a silver tray and two glasses of homemade iced tea, already beaded with condensation despite the tea tent being only a minute away.

What sets it apart

Jack’s Camp is set apart in every way. Surely no other safari camp was founded by an early explorer under trees inadvertently planted by itinerant elephant, on a lakebed littered with stone tools, with San as neighbours, migrating wildebeest passing by and both a pool table and a swimming pool inside tents?As if the ambience and style of Jack’s Camp were not enough to distinguish it from other, lesser camps, the wealth of original experiences on offer ensures that it really does deserve its iconic status. From lessons in digging for scorpion and water-rich melons to mastering a quad bike and learning the ropes of celestial navigation, staying at Jack’s Camp is a little like a rather indulgent survival-skills course.

Jack’s Camp is set apart in every way. Surely no other safari camp was founded by an early explorer under trees inadvertently planted by itinerant elephant, on a lakebed littered with stone tools, with San as neighbours, migrating wildebeest passing by and both a pool table and a swimming pool inside tents?

As if the ambience and style of Jack’s Camp were not enough to distinguish it from other, lesser camps, the wealth of original experiences on offer ensures that it really does deserve its iconic status. From lessons in digging for scorpion and water-rich melons to mastering a quad bike and learning the ropes of celestial navigation, staying at Jack’s Camp is a little like a rather indulgent survival-skills course.

At a glance

  • Ten Bedouin-style tents (three doubles and seven twins) beneath tall palm trees on the edge of the glittering salt flats of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans. There’s a mess tent with a library and museum, a Moroccan-influenced tea tent and a swimming pool pavilion.
  • Unique isolated location on the Makgadikgadi Pans, private concession, private airstrip, private vehicles available (additional cost) and only swimming tent in Africa.
  • Game drives, quad biking and fat biking on the pans, Kubu Island quad-bike excursion (seasonal, additional cost), Chapman’s Baobab excursion, up-close-and-personal meerkat moments, horseback safaris (complimentary if staying three nights or longer, otherwise additional cost), interpretative San walks, swimming under canvas, stargazing, watching the zebra and wildebeest migration (seasonal) and spa treatments (complimentary if staying three nights or longer, otherwise additional cost).
  • Children of all ages are welcome. No family tent, but each adult tent can accommodate one child on a rollaway bed sharing with two adults. Families with two children need to book two tents, one adult and one child in each.

  • Ten Bedouin-style tents (three doubles and seven twins) beneath tall palm trees on the edge of the glittering salt flats of Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans. There’s a mess tent with a library and museum, a Moroccan-influenced tea tent and a swimming pool pavilion.
  • Unique isolated location on the Makgadikgadi Pans, private concession, private airstrip, private vehicles available (additional cost) and only swimming tent in Africa.
  • Game drives, quad biking and fat biking on the pans, Kubu Island quad-bike excursion (seasonal, additional cost), Chapman’s Baobab excursion, up-close-and-personal meerkat moments, horseback safaris (complimentary if staying three nights or longer, otherwise additional cost), interpretative San walks, swimming under canvas, stargazing, watching the zebra and wildebeest migration (seasonal) and spa treatments (complimentary if staying three nights or longer, otherwise additional cost).
  • Children of all ages are welcome. No family tent, but each adult tent can accommodate one child on a rollaway bed sharing with two adults. Families with two children need to book two tents, one adult and one child in each.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

The Makgadikgadi Pans themselves are only truly accessible during the cooler, dry winter season, when the full range of activities (from quad biking to meerkat encounters) can be enjoyed. It’s also when the sparkling white salt pans are at their most visually impressive. The pans tend to be completely dry from mid-July until October. This coincides with the peak northern Botswana safari season, when the Okavango floodwaters cause game to be more concentrated, so a visit to the dry pans can be combined with some time exploring the watery wonderland of delta.

During the summer rains, the pans become large, shallow lakes extending for many kilometres, inviting a different sort of wilderness experience. The birdwatching is phenomenal, with large flocks of flamingos and pelicans enjoying the water. From January to March, Botswana’s two zebra migrations arrive at the Makgadikgadi and Nxai pans (from the Okavango and Chobe rivers, respectively) – wonders to be witnessed. This ‘green season’ is quieter in northern Botswana, but the bush is at its most beautiful and predator action is more frequently witnessed.

Get an expertly planned safari trip proposal

Find your inspiration | Leave the dull parts to us

Enquire Now

Looking for inspiration?

Sign up for our occasional newsletter and we’ll feed your imagination with exciting safari ideas.

SAVE YOUR SAFARI INSPIRATION ♡

Create a personalised storyboard for your African safari.

When you see something you love, simply click on its ♡ icon and it will be added to your MY CANVAS page.

Access your shortlist at any time by clicking on MY CANVAS in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Got It!

Get an expertly planned safari trip proposal

Enquire Now

Want to get in touch?

Contact Us

Creating your canvas!

By clicking on the heart, you’ve just added your first safari item to your canvas, which is where you can curate your personal collection of luxury safari inspiration. View and save your canvas by clicking here, and you'll be able to access it at any time by tapping on the heart icon in the menu bar.

Got it