Jack's Camp

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Jack's Camp, Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

While on a trapping expedition in the Makgadikgadi Pans during the 60's, Jack Bousfield stumbled upon a site that so captured his imagination, he set up camp under an acacia with the unshakeable expectation that others would feel the same...

The choice of such a striking locale, owed much to his original taste for the savage beauty of a forgotten Africa where he lived until his tragic death in an aircraft accident in 1992.

As a homage to the vision of his father, Ralph, his son, and his partner Catherine established Uncharted Africa Safari Co starting with Jack’s Camp which was refurbished at the beginning of 2003 - in a traditional East African 1940's safari style.

Ten green roomy and stylish canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms and indoor and outdoor showers (for those who want to feel the Kalahari breeze on their skin) have been fashioned in classical style and are set into a palm grove creating an oasis of civilization in what can be the harshest of stark environments…

Persian rugs underfoot and cool cotton sheets form a striking contrast with the rugged wilderness viewed from the comfort of one’s own verandah.

During the wet season the landscape transforms. Clouds of flamingo and other migratory birds descend from the heavens to decorate the watery grasslands.

Herds of zebra and wildebeest materialise, drawn by the lush grass, and for several months, the desert is teeming with game and predators.

The guides at Jack's Camp are an erudite breed. Often graduate students who combine research with guiding, they team up with a small group of Zu/’hoasi Bushmen to guide our Guests on a morning’s walks and game drives. The response from those who have been there is always the same: first your question is echoed, 'Jack's Camp?' followed by a reflective pause/ 'It's different.'

And there they leave it, the difficulty of describing it hanging in the air like a half-built bridge.'

The Makgadikgadi is not without drama and, here, the emphasis is on observing the intricacies of a truly unique ecosystem to which Uncharted Africa Safari Co. has added stylish adaptations of its own...

A relic of one of the world’s largest super-lakes, the Makgadikgadi dried up thousands of years ago as a result of the continued shifting of the earth’s crust. When the lake was formed, some five to seven million years ago, its shores were the setting for the mysterious transition from ape to man.

Venturing far into the centre of the Makgadikgadi, on 4wd quad bikes, we are able to explore remote archaeological sites, periodically discovering never before documented fossil beds of extinct giant zebra and hippo. The fact that you can travel across the pans at great speed and still arrive nowhere only underlines the pans immensity. There is nothing out here. Absolutely nothing.

A safari to Jack's Camp is also a complete desert experience focusing on species unique to the area such as aardvark, gemsbuck and springbuck. It is the only place where guests are virtually guaranteed to see the rare and elusive brown hyaena and be able to walk through the Kalahari with a gang of habituated but, wild meerkats!

Horse Riding

Meerkat Experience

Quad Biking

Yoga Tent

Jack’s Camp was the pioneer of Kalahari tourism, and has played an enormous part in protecting this exquisite area that might otherwise have been turned over to cattle. To ensure Nature Selection is doing absolutely everything they can for the animals and environment, they regularly host scientists from around the world, specialising in desert wildlife and palaeoanthropology. And whilst their scientists hail from all over the globe, their staff all hail from local lands.

All of the camps surrounding the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park support the Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative, a project aimed at creating optimal conditions for the mammal migration through the area. What is believed to have been Africa’s greatest large mammal migration used to occur here and, over the last decade, we’ve seen its gradual return. But since the migration last occurred (pre-1960), the landscape has changed considerably. This has led to land use incompatibilities primarily due to livestock and fencing, and the safe passage of the migration is not guaranteed. The Makgadikgadi-Nxai Pans Conservation Initiative therefore aims to address human-wildlife conflict around the park through community-informed land use planning and the introduction of sustainable economic incentives for wildlife-friendly land use practices.

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