A simply vast landscape of pans and sky where distant palm trees shimmer in the heat haze. High salt concentrations on the pans themselves limit vegetation to grass cover. After the rains, the pans turn a lush green attracting thousands of antelope, while the fringes support woodland.

Suddenly right ahead is Jack’s tented safari camp.

The collection of dark green tents of the camp is almost invisible. As luck would have it when we visited, half a year’s worth of rainfall had fallen in just three days and much of the route we drove was under water. From March to April is a good time to visit. The pans are often filled with a thin layer of water, attracting much wildlife. Jack’s gave us a fantastic welcome and the hospitality staff Sheila and O’Girl, as well as the rest of the team, really made us feel at home.

Jack’s Camp is unusual in a lot of ways.

The camp is one of Botswana’s (and Africa’s) most expensive tented safari lodges and it combines elements that range from quirky, wooden toilet thrones to a strange collection of animal skulls. Jack’s defines itself through the fusing of the 1920s Campaign-era décor and sense of family history.

There’s no electricity (except for a charging station) and no wi-fi and all meals are communal. Admittedly the food is not the main highlight here, however, expect a lively dinner in this remote place. Dinner in a tent of skulls lit with hurricane lamps and accompanied howling jackals an unusual experience!

The Makgadikgadi is not about the Big 5.

The camp itself is not inside a national park. Don’t be surprised to see the odd cow or dog interspersed with the antelope on your game drive, as there are a number of cattle posts nearby. Makgadikgadi National Park is nearby and depending on the time of year you may see large antelope herds, lion and jackal. Makgadikgadi is a good place to see bat-eared fox and aardwolf. One night we were treated to a fantastic African Wild Cat sighting. Its these small game sightings make the Makgadikgadi, and the Kalahari such a special place.

Jack’s offers a number of unusual activities.

Several colonies of meerkats are quite tame, which allows guests splendid close-up encounters with these enchanting animals. Follow them as they forage, scout for danger and feed their young, just centimetres away. It’s not uncommon to even have them climb on you and the photographic opportunities here are incredible.

The popular San cultural experience involves walks with the resident group of Bushmen. Jack’s Camp has been involved with the San project since 1993. The San are clad in traditional gear and dispense a wide variety of knowledge of the bush. Watch demonstrations of making traps and learn how to make fire with acacia sticks, grass and zebra dung. A genuinely rare opportunity to learn from the San and understand the challenges facing their communities.

If you’re looking for something truly different and unique, Jack’s is it.

Two nearby, less expensive camps the San and Kalahari Camps complete the Uncharted Africa collection. Both the camps enjoy the same activities and share guides with Jack’s. We recommend combining visits to all or any of the three camps with more ‘traditional’ game viewing destinations in Botswana, like the Okavango.

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