Jack’s Camp is located in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, the remnants of an enormous super-lake that used to cover most of Southern Africa. Jack Bousfield himself described the area as the “savage beauty of a forgotten Africa”, and truly, the Makgadikgadi is like nowhere on earth.
It’s a landscape of space and remoteness, and the spectacular, otherworldly vistas, unique desert wildlife, and old-world glamour of Jack’s Camp all come together to create an experience that is unlike any other on the continent.
In the 1960s, crocodile catcher and legendary hunter Jack Bousfield set out on a trapping expedition in the desolate Makgadikgadi Pans. He soon stumbled upon a site that so captured his imagination that he set up a camp in that very spot, with the unshakeable expectation that others would feel the same. That was the first incarnation of Jack’s Camp, a simple, no frills affair in the heart of the desert, visited by guests as much to see Jack as the otherworldly area.
Fast-forward a few years to Jack’s untimely death in 1992, and Ralph, Jack’s son, along with his partner Catherine, established the Uncharted Africa Safari Company in homage to his father’s vision. Jack’s Camp was refurbished in the nostalgic 1940s style we know today, but kept as authentic and genuine as possible: no electricity, steaming water in gleaming copper jugs, and showers under the stars.
At first sight, the lunar-like salt pans appear devoid of life, but in the hands of the of the knowledgeable camp guides the story of the Makgadikgadi begins to unfold. Throughout your stay you will find an impressive choice of extraordinary activities and desert culture experiences to enjoy in and around camp.
The refurbished Jack’s pays homage to the much-loved 1940s campaign style of the existing camp. Adorned with a classic East African safari feel, the nine guest rooms, 7 twin tents featuring two queen-size beds and 2 double tents with extra-length king beds, have almost doubled in size. Whilst the iconic green canvas and muslin-draped walls remain, each tent is embellished with Persian and North African rugs, paraffin lamps, brass fittings, luxuriant textiles and mahogany campaign furniture.
There is a comfortable living area, with a sofa and day bed for expansive views of the Kalahari. You’ll discover Natural History Museum cabinets curated by Ralph Bousfield himself, an overhead bed cooling system to ward off the desert heat and an en-suite bathroom with indoor and outdoor showers. Outside, each veranda has a private deck with a sparkling plunge pool as well as several velvet-clad chairs overlooking the glittering ancient landscape.
The new, larger mess tent still houses the renowned Natural History Museum, library, vintage 36 seater dining table that served as an officer’s mess table in the 1820’s, well-stocked drinks cabinet and antique pool table. The iconic, nomadic Persian tea tent remains, now a little larger in size. Framed Peter Beard pictures sit alongside original posters from French taxidermist Deyrolle, both complemented by Bousfield family photos. The swimming pool pavilion is still the only one of its kind in Africa.
Jack’s camp has one of the most comprehensive collections of ancient artefacts in Botswana, collected and curated by the Bousfield family over decades.
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