Background: Planet Baobab is a small mixed-use lodge located dead smack in the middle of a desert wilderness area along Route A3, near the town of Gweta in Botswana, between the towns of Maun to the west and Francistown to the southeast. Originally an overland staging post, it now consists of 6 overland campsites, 7 Baobab (mud) huts and eleven Bakalanga (Rondavel-style) chalets. The abundance of Baobab trees probably contributed to its name. Our overland tour group stayed in the campsite for 2 nights as a convenient stopover enroute to Livingstone, Namibia. (As we were a self-catering tenting group, this review only covers the condition and price of the campsite -- nothing else. Not the huts nor the restaurant.)
PROS: The location and atmosphere are two of its best assets. Situated by the side of the road, under the watchful eye of a giant statue of an aardvark (you read that right!), it can't be missed.
Being inside the Makgadikgadi NP, at the edge of the Ntwetwe Pan and in the vicinity of the Makgadikgadi Pan is a big plus. A nearby resident waterhole doesn't hurt, either. The overall atmosphere is tranquil, relaxed and laid-back -- more so if you are the only guests. The ablutions are relatively clean and in satisfactory condition, albeit open-topped (no roof). There is a good, decent-sized swimming pool on site to beat the heat, although the water can get quite chilly. Brrr! At the rear of the shower area, there's a row of sinks to do your laundry. As it turned out, our stay became a relaxing laundry stopover for us. (We did not have water issues while we were there.) Costing about £6 pp per night for camping, it is relatively cheap compared to its peers in the area.
CONS: Watch out for giant spiders and swarms of blood-thirsty mosquitoes! I think they followed me into the tent and pestered me all night. While my companions slept outside under the stars, I stayed inside my tent -- bug spray applied and covered head to toe inside my sleeping bag -- while the mosquitoes bled me dry. The next morning as I opened my tent, I swear a black cloud of happy mosquitoes went flying out.
Verdict: Catering to non-fussy, budget travelers and overland tour groups needing a base to explore the Makgadikgadi National Park, this is adequate for this purpose. If you wish to splurge, may I suggest the more upmarket San Camp or Jack's Camp? Unless you're an arachnophobe and mosquito-hater, then this is worth a look. Recommended. Grade B+.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Situated close to the village of Gweta, 290 km from Francistown & 200km from Maun, this family friendly camp accepts children of all ages. Planet Baobab combines style with comfort while remaining true to its African inspiration. Accommodation provides different options at all price levels. Traditionally styled, beautifully painted Kalanga Huts with en-suite bathrooms or the shady campsite. The Africantastic ‘shebeen’ style central mess features a tasty bar menu, and when it heats up, cool off in the biggest coolest pool in the Kalahari. Activities on offer all year round include: guided bush walks; traditional cattle post and village visits; incredibly friendly habituated meerkats; historical baobabs. Dry season (25th April to 31st October) activities include quad biking on the saltpans; a sleep out under the magnificent Makgadikgadi night sky. Wet season (1st November to 24th April) activities include the spectacular zebra and wildebeest migration experience. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Planet Baobab Hotel Makgadikgadi Pans National Park