Hello, old-world glamour! I’m Kiersten, a long-time fan. In Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, I indulged my love for vintage luxury at one of Botswana’s most beautiful camps.
Here’s my experience staying at Jack’s Camp in Botswana.
How to Get to Jack’s Camp
Located in northeast Botswana, Jack’s Camp is about 1,000 kilometers northwest of Pretoria, South Africa and 1,000 kilometers northeast of Windhoek, Namibia.
The best way to get to Jack’s camp is with a one-hour bush flight from Maun, which is the tourist capital of Botswana and a common base for exploring the Okavango Delta.
What to Expect at Jack’s Camp
This is a place to disconnect! There is no Wi-Fi or electricity.
You can charge your gear in the main tent, which is great for camera batteries and other essentials. Outside of that, you’ll get a much needed digital detox while here!
One of our favorite things about Jack’s Camp is the personalized service. We were greeted by Charles, the property manager, who’s a very helpful, polite and all-around great guy.
What to Do at Jack’s Camp
Game Drives: There are so many wild animals here! The rainy season, which lasts from November to March, is migration season for zebras and wildebeests, so pack a raincoat and come prepared for incredible photo opportunities. If you get a chance to hang with Greg, he’s an awesome guide and photography enthusiast!
See the Meerkats: Jack’s Camp and its sister lodge, San Camp, are the only permanent camps in the 3,900-square-kilometer Makgadikgadi Pans National Park. Jack’s Camp is one of the best places to hang out with meerkats in Botswana– there’s a family of habituated meerkats there!
For 15 years, researchers have been studying this meerkat family every day, so these little ones have come to see humans not as a threat, but as a natural part of their habitat. That means that you can get up close and personal with them!
Jack’s has a “meerkat specialist,” who will take you out to visit the meerkat family, and it’s such a memorable experience. Meerkats, especially this fun family, aren’t shy about interacting.
If they sense a predator nearby, they will scramble up the tallest point they can find, which may very well be on top of your head! Of course, like all wild animals, you don’t want to come on too strong and you should never touch them. Just snap some pics and you might get lucky!
Bush Walk With the Khoisan Tribe: Jack’s Camp arranges for an English-speaking Khoisan tribe member to take you on a bush walk and act as an interpreter for the tribe. It’s an incredible opportunity to learn about their unique way of life.
One interesting part of the walk was seeing the tribe’s natural remedies. Tribe members dug up different plants and explained their medicinal value, and how they use them.
Quads and Horses: We missed out on this because we visited during the wet season, but if you come during the dry season (April to October), there are some great options for exploring.
Pool: Jack’s has an awesome pool pavilion, and it’s the perfect hangout space. There’s plenty of space to lie out to soak in the sun and watch the animals wander past.
About the Jack’s Camp Property
This place is seriously secluded. It is one of only three camps in a 1-million-acre private game reserve. There are 50,000 zebras and wildebeests that migrate through this space from January to April, and it’s absolutely magical.
Jack first settled here back in 1966 and fell in love with Botswana’s natural beauty. An innovator, Jack was one of the first people to start photographing safaris back in the ’70s and ’80s.
Jack’s ashes are now scattered here and five generations of his family have worked to preserve the land. The camp is now a registered museum and displays all sorts of cool archeological finds.
Rooms at Jack’s Camp
With the elegance of a bygone era, the rooms here look like traditional 1940’s African colonial Safari tents. Every eclectic space is dotted with keepsakes that Jack’s family has collected over the years.
The rooms reminded me of the Quidditch World Cup tents from Harry Potter, so you know I was in heaven!
Like all good glampgrounds, each tent at Jack’s Camp has an outdoor shower. There are also places to hang out like the pool pavilion, a low-tech entertainment area with a pool table and library, as well as a bar specializing in local beer, wine and spirits.
Food at Jack’s Camp
All of the food and drinks are included in a stay at Jack’s Camp. And all of our meals were absolutely delicious. Best of all, they are very accommodating for all types of diets, so you can always find what you like.
My Experience at Jack’s Camp
I absolutely loved this camp! Everything felt vintage yet opulent. My boyfriend, Meyer ended up seriously sick from taking anti-malarial tablets and missed out on most of the experience, so I was on my own. Despite going at it solo, I had a great time at Jack’s Camp. Huge thanks to Greg, my guide, for taking me to all of the best photo opps!
Given the opportunity to stay a third night, I would say yes without a second thought. The meerkats were obviously a huge highlight, and the Khoisan experience was unforgettable. I would have loved one more day to laze around the camp and shoot at the big salt pan, but with so much to see and do, it was a wonderful whirlwind trip!
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Thank you to Jack’s Camp for hosting me during my stay. As always, thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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