Safari Camp (Makgadikgadi Pans) Botswana
ROMANCE IN THE KALAHARI
Imagine a smattering of billowing white tents, shaded by
desert palms and surrounded by a thousand acres of
shimmering, sparkling nothingness. You’ve just dreamt up San
Camp, our impossibly romantic, seven-bedroom camp on the
edge of the Nwetwe Pan in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi. San isn’t
a place for frills and fluffiness. The magic is in the
minimalism, both at the camp and in the mysterious desert
landscape. You can forget the tourist crowds and
over-stuffed 4x4s too; it’s just you, the wildlife, and a
handful of local San Bushmen, waiting to share their secrets
Of all the Makgadikgadi pans, we think Nwetwe is the most
iconic. Meerkats pop up from the desert dust, brown hyaena
hide in the grass, and you’ll see red hartebeest, springbok
and gemsbok scurrying between them. But San Camp isn’t just
about wildlife-watching – it’s about the atmosphere and the
ethereal surroundings. Disappear into a remote world, a
million miles from glowing screens and fruit-themed devices,
where the 360-degree panoramas are so vast, you can see the
curvature of the earth…
San Camp is located on the edge of the Makgadikgadi Salt
Pans in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana. San Safari Camp is
the most authentic and classic safari camp in Southern
Africa, evoking the atmosphere and elegance of a 1940's East
African safari. San Camp is a small seasonal camp of palm
trees and white Ottoman style tents that overlook the
vastness of the Kalahari Desert.
Accommodating only twelve guests the camp has the feel of
safari style in the 1920's. Each of the spacious tents has a
bucket shower open to the blue African sky and a private
toilet. The camp prides itself on its delicious and
innovative cuisine, its friendly ambience and the relaxed
scientific approach of the guides. For those wanting an
experience on "the edge", San Camp is romantic and remote -
it appears to be the last bastion of civilization at the
edge of the world!
We’ve already mentioned those beautiful, billowing tents,
but what’s in store inside the canvas walls? Think enormous
four-posters, draped in crisp cotton and feather-soft
blankets, raised high above Persian rugs. Mahogany writing
desks and leather armchairs contrast the rugged
surroundings, and there’s a lazy day bed just outside,
perfect for an afternoon of view-gazing. Ensuite bathrooms
have hot, running water showers and flush loos, and there’s
plenty of water in the elegant copper jugs and basins. The
entire camp runs on solar-power and when darkness falls,
you’ll find lanterns scattered around to light the way.
At the main area, the open-sided pavilions are bright and
breezy – and let that view do the talking! Gather in the
splendid mess tent for a three-course feast, accompanied by
white linen and crystal glasses, or sink into a cushion in
the tea tent and treat yourself to one of the best brownies
in the desert. If you can drag your eyes away from the
surroundings, take a peek at our natural history cabinets
with their eclectic collections of old maps, fossils and
artefacts, and then, it’s time to let your mind unwind in
the sanctuary of the yoga pavilion. We couldn’t think of a
better place to end the day.
WHY BOOK THIS CAMP?
- Elegant and impossibly romantic, San Camp’s classic
white tents offer 360 degree views over the sparkling
- Take game drives and night drives in custom built
4x4s to see the unique desert wildlife, spend time with
the cheeky meerkats, and join the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen on a
- Travel across the salt-crusted earth by quad-bike.
The fact that you’ll travel at great speed, yet arrive
nowhere underlines the true immensity of this remarkable
- San Camp has a reputation for delicious and
innovative cuisine – think fresh tomato tartlets,
three-layer banana and caramel cake, and the best beef
Wellington you’ve ever tried.
- Lie out on the pans as the sun sets, and watch the
planetarium of stars unfold.
- Retreat to the yoga and meditation pavilion and
absorb the compelling energy of your surroundings. This
is the perfect spot to relax, unwind and retreat.
Accommodation & Amenities
7 tents: 5 twins, 2 doubles
Ensuite bathrooms with
Tented yoga pavilion
Wifi available: No
Battery charging facilities: In the mess
Complimentary laundry service
Child policy: We
welcome all ages
Disabled access: Please enquire with
All meals and local drinks; activities (NB some
activities at an extra surcharge)
What’s not included?
Flights; premium brand beverages; tips & gratuities;
San Camp is only open in the dry season :- 16th April to
area is also the only place in Southern Africa where one is
often able to see a migration of tens of thousands of
wildebeest and zebra followed by predators. Although
migrations do occur elsewhere in Botswana, the tree cover
prohibits a view of the magnitude that we are able to see
due to the exposed nature of the surrounding grasslands. The
Makgadikgadi, a relic of one of the world’s largest
superlakes, dried up thousands of years ago as a result of
the continued shifting of the earth’s crust. When the Pans
are dry, to travel where conventional vehicles cannot, and
to guard against scarring the Pan’s crust, we utilize four
wheel drive quad bikes. Venturing far into the middle of the
Pans, we are able to explore remote archaeological sites,
periodically discovering sites never before documented such
as fossil beds of extinct giant zebra and hippo.
be thoroughly advised as to the traditional nature and style
of our camps. Ours are the most authentic and classic safari
camps in Southern Africa and evoke the atmosphere and
elegance of a 40's East African safari. This is an
experience in itself and one which most adventurous and
sophisticated Guests will appreciate and enjoy. The
important distinction is that Guests should arrive knowing
what to expect. Some people find luxury in running water and
electricity in their tents whilst others find luxury in
Persian carpets underfoot and having their steaming water
brought to their tents in a gleaming copper jug. We fall
into the latter category. Flush loos are an exception but
hopefully, we do not compromise too much comfort in the name
Enjoy up-close encounters with our habituated meerkats.
Join the Zu/’hoasi Bushmen on a bush walk.
drives and night drives in custom built 4x4s to see the
unique desert wildlife.
Embark on an adventurous two-hour
horseback safari (for all levels of riders; additional
charge). Multi-day riding safaris are also available for
experienced riders – please contact us for more information
Feel the wind in your hair as you quad bike across the
immense salt pans.
Give your mind a holiday and spend
some time in the yoga and meditation pavilion.
radical sabbatical and quad bike across the salt-crusted
pans to Kubu Island (2 night expedition; additional charge.
Please enquire with us for more details or have a look at
the Quad Bike to Kubu Island Safari here).
San Camp’s great appeal is the nothingness, but that
certainly doesn’t mean there’s nothing to see. You’ll find
wildebeest and zebra roaming in straggled herds, standing
out like sore thumbs against the pristine whiteness of the
earth, and ostrich bobbing on the horizon. Stay for a few
days and there’s a good chance of spotting lion and elephant
on a game drive, and even brown hyena, one of the
continent’s most rare and elusive mammals that’s pretty much
impossible to see anywhere else.
If you’re looking to tick a few species off your bird
list, then sharpen your pencil for the pan is home to Kori
bustards and northern black korhaan, chestnut-backed finch
larks and capped wheatears. And we couldn’t talk about the
Makgadikgadi without mention of our meerkats. We’ve worked
with researchers to habituate a whole mob of them, and the
cheeky fellows aren’t afraid to come and find out exactly
who you are.
The real allure of San Camp is in its minimalism, and
this extends to the surroundings. San sits at the edge of
the mysterious Makgadikgadi Salt Pans (overlooking Nwetwe
Pan to be precise), in the heart of the Kalahari Desert and
adjoining the Makgadikgadi National Park. The pans were once
a super lake covering most of Botswana, and they shimmer
seemingly never-ending all the way to the horizon,
interrupted only by scattering of desert palms and baobabs.
The beautiful nothingness brings with it a cathartic sense
of silence, and there is truly nowhere on else like this
magical corner of Botswana.
Accommodation Rates:- From
$1,000 per person per night sharing.
Please contact us
for a quote and suggested itinerary.