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“An enormous delight under an endless sky” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Tau Pan Camp

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Tau Pan Camp
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Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana   |  
Hotel amenities
World
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“An enormous delight under an endless sky”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2014

(Actually stayed here January 2013 -- writing this review too late to correctly identify the timeframe.)

Tau Pan was our first camp on our very first safari, which we took during the Botswana green season. (Contrary to some other reviews, we think it's a great choice for first-timers as long as you combine it with the very different Okavango Delta.) We woke up in Johannesburg that morning and I told my husband, not really believing it, "Maybe we'll see a lion today!" By the time we went to bed that night, our fantastic guide Donald and inimitable tracker Custom had shown us 12 lions...plus a tower of giraffe -- straight off the bush plane, which was most exciting -- a family of bat-eared foxes, bateleur eagles, ostriches, springbok, steenbok, oryx, a leopard tortoise and a whole lot more. We did the full-day trip to Deception Valley and loved the undulating, constantly changing landscape; Donald and Custom worked unbelievably hard to find us an incredible variety of wildlife. They even took a long detour to a pan in which some other travelers told us they'd seen mating lions -- we didn't find the lions, but we very much appreciated the effort. We enjoyed the San bush walk and loved the evenings by the fire under an arcing, star-filled sky. Really enjoyed talking to Moses, the friendly camp manager, about international politics and current events in Botswana, and the ladies who work in the restaurant and bar were extremely kind. Our room was beautiful and inviting, and our only regret is that we didn't really have time to use the deck with its sweeping views -- I wanted to star-watch on it one night after dinner, and Donald kindly pointed out that we'd probably attract some curious lions by doing so! So we took in the night skies from the enclosed outdoor shower instead. Kwando does a great job all around and Tau Pan is a wonderful place from which to see the Kalahari. Highly recommended.

Room Tip: All the rooms are very good -- for extra privacy and remoteness, ask for one at the end.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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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48 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (10)
Date | Rating
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English first
Oslo, Norway
Top Contributor
311 reviews 311 reviews
65 hotel reviews
Reviews in 91 cities Reviews in 91 cities
151 helpful votes 151 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2014

Spent x-mas eve and 2 more nights in Tau Pan after coming down from one of their sister camps in the Delta (see review of Little Kwara). Same high standard of the staff and camp. Scenery and wildlife very different. We wanted to experience 2 types of safari, and that we had.

First night the staff entertained with dance and song, and suddenly we heard one of the mail lions we had seen earlier. Fantastic experience under the stars. The camp is one of 2 camps in Kalahari, the other one is 130 km away. So you are remote, to put it mildly.

Guiding could have been better. Bushman walk was great. Trip to Deception Valley ok, but the feeling of openness is not very different from the one you get down at the Tau Pan itself. And the 2 hours drive is quite bumpy at times.

One downside is the heat in the room. The ceiling fan is not very effective.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Efland
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 23, 2013

Staff very welcoming and food very good. Wildlife, particularly lions prolific! No elephants. It is small camp and almost no day trippers so no lineup of cars like at many lodges to view one lion. Lions prowled around camp all night growling-a little disconcerting but wonderful and memorable experience. ONLY negative is that there was no air conditioning and in the afternoon between trips it was really,really,really hot. The
ceiling fans were worthless and the lodge had no small portable fans which they need for each room.. Temp. was > 100F 3/4
afternoons were were there. WOULD NOT RECOMMEND GOING IN NOVEMBER!! Lastly, if you want to see mercats-they are not there.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2013

My husband and I stayed here for three nights and wished we had stayed longer. We came in the off season which meant we had the place mostly to ourselves which made the experience extra special. Why you should stay here even in the offseason, the highlights: there are not thousands of animals like in other parks but you get one on one time with a wide range of individual animals which really affords you time to observe, understand and appreciate them. On one days safari we didn't come across a single other vehicle. We saw the resident kalahari lion brothers and heard them calling around our cabin at night, honey badger, bat earred foxes, jackals, hyena, a female leopard hunting the foxes, many different birds and antelope. The bushman walk was fantastic as was our trip to death valley. The staff are all wonderful and the food was plentiful and delicious. The accomodation is also of a high standard with amazing 180 degree views of the kalahari from your bed and built with unique african architecture. Lowlights: none really. Do not miss this place if you are going to Botswana.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, CA
Top Contributor
91 reviews 91 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2013

Tau Pan was our first stop on a 10-day safari in Botswana at a total of four camps. It was great! First of all, the camp is situated on a ridge looking over a wide expanse of the Kalahari Desert, including a water hole a short distance in front of the camp where animals frequently appeared. The camp had spacious individual chalets for each pair of guests, which include a huge bed, a sitting area for reading, and a full bathroom with both indoor and outdoor showers. Despite there being 8 chalets for 16 guests total, my wife and I were the only ones there. The camp staff treated us wonderfully. Meals were exceptional, with one dinner taken under the stars in this stunning setting. The large viewing porch is great for watching the water hole, star gazing or just talking over the events of the day. But the real treat came when we went out looking for animals. Our guide Vosko and our tracker Custom were great at finding game, including the big cats. On our first afternoon we were observing a pride of lions a fair distance away when something made me look over my shoulder. A lioness was 30 feet away, walking straight towards me, and licking her lips. At a range of about 6 feet she turned and calmly walked around our truck. The cats regard the trucks as other animals that are too large to attack. Which leads to one of the basic rules -- don't stand up in the trucks. If you stand up, the cats will reconsider if that moving animal may be a tasty meal after all. The next morning we were on the porch and could see a cheetah at the watering hole, so forget about morning coffee, it's time to go after the cat. After a successful viewing up close, we came back to camp for our coffee but now a leopard appeared at the water hole. So back into the truck and again we had a wonderful view of the leopard at about 20 feet distance as it stalked a small herd of kudu. But none of the kudu were small so the leopard gave up on the attack. Meanwhile, our forays into the bush netted us great views of giraffe, springbok, steenbok, oryx, wildebeast, and jackals. One surprise, it was amazingly cold in the mornings when we got up before dawn. We were there in late August and one morning we could see our breath. But the camp provides hot water bottles and blankets for the early morning game drives, and sells gloves if you didn't bring them. Afternoon temperatures easily got into the 90s, so that is siesta time before you go out again in the late afternoon. All in all, Tau Pan Camp was a great introduction to Botswana and the staff at Tau Pan took incredibly good care of us. We'd love to go back.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Harrow, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
60 reviews 60 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2013

Along with Kwando's Lagoon Lodge (see separate reviwew) Tau Pan is the best lodge I've stayed in over 32 years of safaris in Africa. It is superbly situated on a ridge overlooking a permanent waterhole. From the deck of our luxurious tent, we saw a pride of seven lions visit the waterhole at dusk, a honey badger, jackals, gemsbok and clouds of sand-grouse. Despite the ever present wildlife and the evidence of nature red in tooth and claw (and often very close up) there is an amazing serenity and peace to the Central Kalahari which the beautifully-sited and constructed Tau Pan Lodge does nothing to disrupt. On the drives to the various pans in the desert - including a long but totally rewarding ten hour day trip to Deception Valley and back - we saw lots of wildlife and gained from the knowledge of Chris and PK - our guide and tracker. The real attraction of Tau Pan and the Kalahari is huge vistas, stunning desert scenery and the quality of the wildlife - Kalahari lions, honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, jackals, leopard tortoises, martial eagles, steenbok, gemsbok, springbok and much, much more. The camp was very well run with great accommodation, wonderful food and superb hospitality organized by Moses, the camp manager. He and the other staff made us feel part of a big family and made our stay absolutely memorable. Already working out when we can go again.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pasadena, California
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 15, 2013

Tau Pan was our first safari camp. What a peaceful, beautiful place! The bungalows were large and comfy. I slept well except for one night when lions were very close and very noisy (not complaining, that's what we were there for). The staff was warm, friendly, and very knowledgeable. Loved the food and dining experience; we ate very well. Learned a lot on the game drives and really appreciated Vosco getting us to good game photo spots. I'd love to come back.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tau Pan Camp

Address: Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
Location: Botswana > Ghanzi District > Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Number of rooms: 8
Also Known As:
Tau Pan Camp Hotel Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Tau Pan Camp Botswana/Central Kalahari Game Reserve

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