Guests per Safari Vehicle
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, which is an extremely romantic destination. This 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 with you.
Of all the Makgadikgadi pans, 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.
The accommodation offering is exquisite, 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 the Natural History Museum 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.
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 a scattering of desert palms and baobabs. The beautiful nothingness brings with it a cathartic sense of silence, and there is truly nowhere on earth like this magical corner of Botswana.
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.
All ages welcome
5 Twin Tents
2 Double Tents
All ages welcome
6+ welcome on game drives
San Camp, Botswana
All ages welcome