The legacy of the colonial explorers of Africa lives on at Jack’s Camp: a unique encampment that combines the gracious living of the past and the high-speed thrill of modern quad bikes with the natural splendour of the endless Makgadikgadi Pans in Botswana. The pans, which were once a pre-historic lake roughly the size of Switzerland, are today among the largest salt flats in the world. Despite being both remote and unforgiving, the area teems with life: genets, Cape hares, honey badgers, brown hyena, Kalahari lions and porcupines can all be spotted. Jack’s Camp also has a family of habituated meerkats who enjoy interacting with guests.
With a collection of spacious canvas tents set up within a remote landscape, the settlement looks like a royal outpost from days past. The enormous mess tent features an extra-length dining table that groans under the weight of silver and crystal while the vintage billiard room, library, iconic nomadic Persian tea tent and renowned Natural History Museum are dotted with relics, maps, photographs and lithographs that hark back to the early years of exploration. Even the swimming pool is sheltered under a canvas tent and surrounded by decking – a lovely spot to wait, crisp white wine in hand, for the heat of the afternoon to pass.
Guests’ tents are as romantic as the communal ones: beautiful green canvas and muslin-draped walls harbour embellishments of Persian and North African rugs, paraffin lamps, luxurious textiles and mahogany furniture. But, if you are lucky, your tent will not be only place you sleep: Jack’s Camp can arrange a sleep out on the pans under the never-ending Milky Way for an unforgettable way to greet the new dawn.