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“Come for the nothing!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Camp Kalahari

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Camp Kalahari
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Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
Bewdley, England, United Kingdom
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Come for the nothing!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2011

This is a really unique place - the sister camp to the famous Jack's camp.

Very comfortable tents,with every convenience. Plenty of wonderful activities planned, and some really amazing surprises. Great food and very friendly good service

The camp has no electricity and no cellphone signal - it is a great place to escape the modern world and unwind in some stunning empty scenery.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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35 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Marburg, Germany
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2011

it was a wonderful stay here. We enjoyed the great food, our nights in original Hemingway-style-Safaritents and the quiet location

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary. Alberta
13 reviews 13 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed June 18, 2011

We stayed here in May 2010 during a safari to Zimbabwe and Botswana (Kalahari and Okavango).

We were disappointed with this camp. The camp itself is in a spectacular setting, much different from other places you will likely see on safari. We were excited to go to this camp for a change from the typical routine. The activities advertised sounded very interesting, and the ones that we did were great, however, we would give the camp overall a failing grade.

The conditions did not cooperate with us - mosquitos were deadly, and there were not many animals at all, nor were the hyenas around. That is fine - that's the risk you take anytime you go somewhere where weather and climate and animal migration are key factors. When we visited, the area had just come out of the wettest season in a very long time, so we were kind of in-between seasons. The staff said we were not able to do the quadding over the pans and sleeping out under the stars, which is the primary reason we came. If that had been true, no problem. But when we visited the pans briefly in the safari vehicle (only for about 30 minutes max, which really bothered me), there was no water anywhere, and it was clear they'd dried up already from the rains. It seemed the staff were just too lazy to get the quads all started up for us, mere lowly Camp Kalahari guests instead of Jack's Camp guests, who are more valued b/c they pay more (Jack's is a sister camp, more expensive but with the same activities. In retrospect, I really, really wish I had booked there as we would have at least been treated well, but we thought that Camp Kalahari would be just fine as we didn't need the more posh accoms of Jack's, and all the activities are purportedly the same).

The staff and service was the main problem with this camp. I got the impression that they just did not care at all about our experience. Had they taken 10 minutes when we got there to sit down with us and explain that we were too late for a full 'wet-season' experience, and unexpectedly too early for the full 'dry-season' experience,and gotten our input as to how we'd like to spend our time, it would have fixed everything. How hard is that to do?! Instead, we were just told what to do and when to do it, we were shuttled on numerous game drives through the endless Kalahari where we saw basically nothing and got literally hundreds of mosquito bites (one or two drives would have been great, but we came to this camp specifically for a break from driving long periods in vehicles.).

The camp staff and guides did not care about our experience at all, and it was quite clear they were really bored with their jobs and couldn't wait for us to leave. In addition, the food was absolutely terrible and there was never enough. One night they actually ran out of food, and guess who got shortchanged and went to bed hungry - us (the only paying guests at the time), because they were trying to impress a group of travel journalists that had just arrived. Absolutely shocking and unacceptable when you're paying hundreds of dollars per night per person.

The activities we did do (Meercats and walking with San bushmen) were really great. But we did not want to do endless drives and when asked to see the meerkats again, or go on the pans for longer, it was a no. Why, I don't know, as we had a vehicle and guide to ourself as our group was large enough for that.

Camp Kalahari had the potential to be an amazine experience despite the weather and lack of animals obstacles (to be honest, we didn't really care about that, it's the chance you take), but the fact that we were treated like a bother ruined it for us. I recommend that if you want to go to the Makgadikgadi, book Jack's, because at Kalahari you will be treated like second class citizens. With only a modicum of effort by the Camp Kalahari team, it would have been a truly great experience, as we really do understand and fully accept that there are some things that are unable to be controlled. It's too bad that they just didn't care.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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Additional Information about Camp Kalahari

Address: Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana
Location: Botswana > Central District > Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 9 Specialty Lodging in Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
Number of rooms: 6

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