This simple tented camp is laid out on the edge of an enormous pan, offering fantastic views and great game viewing from your tent during the summer months.The Kalahari is unlike any other wilderness area in Africa. Both its sheer size and the remoteness it offers are truly special. As it’s a desert area, it does have some extreme temperatures (varying between –5 degrees Celsius and nearly 50 degrees Celsius) – and game can be elusive. Some would argue this makes it far more interesting and exciting. However, many would agree that the point of a visit here is not wholly to view its game but to see the beauty of the Kalahari and to appreciate how the wildlife here has adapted to survive in this extreme environment.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Kalahari Plains has its own private airstrip and is just under an hour’s flight from Maun. Guests can drive into camp (6 hours from Maun), but we’d advise flying due to the remoteness of the area. We recommend this as a two- or three-night stay.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT KALAHARI PLAINS CAMP:
Each of the ten Meru-style tents is built on a raised platform and provides both spacious and comfortable accommodation. All the rooms have an ensuite bathroom, a balcony area and a rooftop terrace for sleep-outs under the stars – guests are given the option each day of, rather than sleeping inside, having a bed made up on their rooftop, which is something we’d highly recommend. The rooms have been cleverly designed to cope with the extreme temperatures of the Kalahari, making the most of the gentle breeze.
The camp is built around a central dining and lounge area that also has a bar and gift shop. Guests dine together either in the covered dining area or out under the stars. Just in front of the diner and lounge is a plunge pool and outside relaxation area with a guest toilet that probably boasts one of the best views in Africa!
ACTIVITIES AT KALAHARI PLAINS CAMP:
- Typically, morning and afternoon game drives take place in open-sided vehicles, taking a maximum of nine passengers. Night drives are not permitted due to National Park Guidelines, but guided bushwalks are offered with a local San Bushman as an alternative to a game drive.
- A stay here, in the middle of the Central Kalahari, is a truly unique experience that must not be confused with other typical safari holidays. During the summer months (January to May), the Kalahari is transformed into a sea of green, attracting large herds followed closely by their predators. At this time, game viewing can be very good. However, during the winter months much of the game leaves the area in search of water, and although some animals remain (including lion, cheetah, leopard), they may be hard to find.
- Late December to late April is the best time here for game, following the rains that tend to start by mid-November. The dry sandy environment is completely transformed overnight and the rains bring a new lease of life to the area. During the winter months (May to July particularly) it can get very cold, with temperatures dropping down to –5 degrees Celsius during the day. This is not a time we would recommend visiting, due to the chilly conditions and lack of game. October and November offer a warmer experience, but the temperature is likely to be 40 degrees plus, so if there’s no cloud cover it can be extremely hot.
- Don’t be put off by the lack of game during the winter months – the Kalahari itself warrants a visit and will stand apart from many other safari areas you have experienced
- If you have the time, this camp makes a great combination with a wet-and-dry camp in the Delta
- Five rooms are laid out either side of the main area, with rooms 1 and 10 the most remote and a good option for honeymooners
- This camp works well for either starting or finishing your trip – if you’re travelling while there is not much game, it makes a good first stop before visiting the game-rich areas of the Delta
- Be sure to take advantage of the sleep-out option on your roof terrace – a night under the Kalahari stars is truly amazing and the cool breeze ensures a very comfortable kip