Kala Bushcamp is situated on a 'false spillway' off the Selinda Spillway in northern Botswana.
Kala Bushcamp: Our full report
Surrounded by 485km2 of private reserve in northern Botswana, Kala Bushcamp offers walking and horseriding safaris in an attractive setting beneath riparian woodland, overlooking a ‘false spillway’ off the ephemeral Selinda Spillway. Open only during Botswana’s dry season (April to December), the camp caters for walkers and keen riders looking for an adventurous yet comfortable camping experience.
Kala Bushcamp is a satellite camp of the permanent Motswiri Camp. Whether booked alone, or in conjunction with a little luxury at Motswiri (which offers the same activities), it enables guests to access the more remote areas of this pristine wilderness. Large dry wooded areas are interspersed by riparian forest and floodplains, which border the permanent and seasonal waterways of the Okavango Delta’s northern reaches. Magnificent mature tree specimens are testament to the lack of human habitation here.
The diversity of habitats at Kala offers nature lovers a chance to discover a broad range of flora and fauna. The birding is particularly good, with a mix of both water and land species. Though game densities probably aren’t as consistent as in some Botswana top reserves, the real objective of a walking or riding safari is to get away from the sound of engines and to explore the smaller things often missed from the back of a vehicle. Potential wildlife sightings include giraffe, elephant, buffalo, zebra, impala, kudu, roan and sable antelope, as well as predators in the form of leopard, lion, cheetah and wild dog, so there’s always the possibility of something big and/or furry around the next corner. That said, visitors should understand that this was a hunting area until about 2004, and though the wildlife has relaxed a great deal since then, it can still be a little skittish. It may take another year or so for animals to become at ease around humans on foot or on horseback.
Accommodation at Kala Bushcamp comprises five specially designed Meru-style tents. Spread out beneath shady trees, each has scenic views across the spillway to a forested island and floodplain. Beneath the tent awning, a sandy clearing with camp chairs, side tables, canvas washbasins, handtowels and a mirror provides guests with a place to freshen up and relax. The tent’s zippered entrance leads into a rug-lined bedroom area where you’ll find twin camp beds with linen, pillows and duvets, backed by bedside tables topped with insect spray, repellent and tissues. Next to each bed is a mesh window, with curtains adding a cosy touch. At the back of the tent is a smaller partition with a luggage rack, rubbish bin and a portable chemical toilet for use during the night. Lanterns provide lighting: there is no electricity in the tents.
Reached by a short sandy pathway from each of Kala’s tents, a private open-air bucket shower and a separate short-drop bush loo are enclosed by canvas screens. As there is no running water, the bucket shower is filled with warm water on request and there’s a handy changing cubicle with a chair, table and mirror. Towels and basic toiletries including soap, shampoo and body lotion are provided, while a floor covering helps keep wet feet out of the sand. The overall setup is simple and rustic, yet comfortable.
At the heart of Kala Bushcamp is an open-sided mess tent where all meals are served around a communal dining table. In front, there’s a sandy clearing for relaxing with a cold drink during the day and gathering around the campfire in the evening. Behind the scenes a solar and inverter system provides 220-volt power for refrigeration and for guests to charge batteries.
Activities at Kala Bush Camp revolve around walking with an armed, experienced and qualified walking guide, together with a backup guide. Groups are usually limited to a maximum of six guests. Walks vary in length but can stretch to four or five hours so you’ll need comfortable, sturdy walking shoes. Horseriding is also an option for skilled, confident riders. When water levels permit (usually from April to October), the spillway can be explored by mokoro and motorboat. Guests may also like to try their hand at fishing. Though game drives aren’t typically offered, they can be arranged on request.
Our viewKala Bushcamp is a place to escape civilisation and get back to nature. The emphasis is on appreciating all aspects of the bush, including its less conspicuous inhabitants, which your expert guide will bring to light. Consider the thrill of encountering wildlife on foot as an added bonus. We’d recommend Kala Bushcamp, particularly in combination with Motswiri Camp, to experience this beautiful and remote part of Botswana in an intimate and personalised way.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend a two-night stay at Kala Bushcamp combined with a two- or three-night stay at Motswiri Camp.
Directions: Kala is reached by a 40-minute flight from Maun (or a 45-minute flight from Kasane) followed by a short drive to Motswiri Camp from where it’s a 4–5-hour walk to Kala Bushcamp (with the option of a 1-hour vehicle transfer).
Owner: Ride and Walk Botswana
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: As at Motswiri Camp, meals at Kala Bushcamp are served as a buffet or set menu, with simple, wholesome and tasty food. Those with dietary requirements, such as vegetarians, are catered for with advance notice.
For breakfast you can expect a light continental buffet accompanied by tea and coffee before the morning activity.
Lunch is typically a cooked dish along with salad, bread and fillings.
Before the next activity, a sweet or savoury snack plus hot and cold drinks are served for afternoon tea.
Dinner is a three-course meal, with guests seated together around a large table.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: A limited selection of soft drinks, bottled water, spirits, local beers and (usually) South African wines are included. Imported wines, spirits and champagne cost extra – and will need to be requested in advance.
Riding holidays: Experienced horseriders can explore 485km2 of private wilderness in northern Botswana, based from the rustic Kala Bushcamp (a satellite camp of the permanent Motswiri Camp. Rides are adventurous, taking you through mixed woodland, waterways and floodplains where a variety of wildlife can be seen.See more ideas for Riding holidays in Botswana
Walking safaris: Kala Bushcamp is Motswiri’s purpose-built satellite camp, and one of the few places which focuses on walking safaris in Botswana. Well-guided walks in this 485km2 private reserve vary from short strolls to half-day hikes, and offer an in-depth experience of the bush.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Botswana
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Kala Bushcamp, though those under 12 years can participate in walking activities only at the discretion of the guide.
Special activities & services: No special activities or services are provided for children.
Equipment: There’s a small partition at the back of each tent which can be furnished with an extra stretcher bed to create a triple. No other equipment for children is provided.
Generally recommended for children: Given that Kala Bushcamp is open to potentially dangerous wildlife and that walking activities are restricted to ages 12+, we would recommend it only for older children. Families with younger children could consider Motswiri Camp, which has a family unit.
Notes: Due to the camp’s open setting in a wildlife area, children must be under constant parental supervision.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: A solar power and inverter system provides limited power to run the camp refrigerator and radio. Guests can use the central 220-volt power-board to charge their camera batteries.
Communications: There is no telephone, internet or mobile reception. In an emergency, radio contact can be made with the head office.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: All camp managers and guides are first-aid trained and a comprehensive first-aid kit is kept at camp. Medical evacuation to Maun can be arranged in an emergency.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Each guide carries a satellite phone or hand-held radio which keeps them in contact with the camp.
Fire safety: There is a fire extinguisher at camp and fire-assembly points are identified to guests when they arrive.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included (usually done at Motswiri Camp).
Money: The camp does not offer money-exchanging facilities and there are no safes in the tents. Everything is pre-paid and included; no payments are required at the camp and there are no credit-card facilities. Curio purchases at Motswiri Camp can be paid for in US dollars or Botswanan pula.
Accepted payment on location: Everything is pre-paid and included; no payments are required at the camp and there are no credit-card facilities. Curio purchases at Motswiri Camp can be paid for in US dollars or Botswana pula.