When you travel you ideally want to be transported – to encounter that elusive magic that embeds an experience in your memory forever.
Jack’s Camp, located in Botswana’s remote and ancient Makgadikgadi Pans, is a unique travel proposition. Far from anything resembling ‘civilisation’ and entirely outside the realm of any cookie-cutter notion of safari, it stands apart, quite literally, eschewing modern ‘conveniences’ for something much more.
It not only removes you from the routine of everyday life, but from the modern world entirely. An eclectic trip back in time to another era of travel, the romance plays out in a series of beautifully designed and draped tents, lined with seven kilometres of printed fabric, fringed by palms and overlooking the pans (which, at certain times of year are scattered with flocks of flamingos). Inside, the tents house family treasures, finely crafted furnishings and textiles from all over Africa, and priceless artefacts ranging from ancient tools and jewellery to animal bones (which form an official registered museum).
The guest tents are expansive – with separate lounging, sleeping and bathing areas, and a private deck kitted out with swinging day beds and a personal plunge pool. The common areas too, have been extended with dedicated tents created for high tea, dining, the bar, pool and museum.
For all its comfort and luxury, it’s low-tech. There’s no WiFi or TVs here and the opportunity this offers to truly appreciate your surroundings proves to be an integral part of its charm. In essence, the Jack’s Camp concept is centred around immersion and experience. Walks with bushmen, quad biking over endless pans and meerkat encounters teach you about the unique and often hidden secrets of the Kalahari. Back at camp, sundowners are enjoyed around the fire as the sun dips below the palm trees, paraffin lamps line the paths at night, and meals are shared and stories told around the long banquet table, leaving you with the sense that when you depart, you’ll never experience anything quite like it again.
By Julia Freemantle