Ta Shebube Polentswa stands in Botswana's section of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Ta Shebube Polentswa: Our full report
Although accessed through South Africa, Ta Shebube Polentswa is situated just across the border, in a private concession on the Botswana side of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. You can find it about 222km north of the Two Rivers/Twee Rivieren park entrance, on the east side of the Nossob River Valley.
As the camp only opened recently, we haven’t had the chance to visit yet. However, here is what we understand about it:
This camp at Polentswa is one of the first of the embryonic Botswana chain of camps, "Ta Shebube". Hence it’s known as the “Ta Shebube, Polentswa" – with a comma in the middle; or, more usually, simply the Ta Shebube Polentswa.
The sister-camps of this camp at Polentswa are the Ta Shebube Rooiputs and the Ta Shebube Union’s End.
Accessed by 4WD only, Ta Shebube Polentswa overlooks the Polentswa Pan, which is in the north of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – roughly half way between Nossob Restcamp and the Namibian Border at Union’s End. The environment around the camp is dominated by vast, open tree savanna and the characteristic fossil Nossob River, but occasionally interspersed by expansive grassy plains, large vegetated pans and smaller, scattered salt pans.
The tented rooms at the camp are all set on raised wooden decks, spaced out to create a sense of privacy. All are under enormous canvas roofs, and all have a spacious private veranda. They consist of:
We’re told that each of these rooms has a main sleeping area (with double or twin beds and high quality mattresses and linen), a sitting area, dressing area, en suite bathroom with his-and-hers washbasin, cupboard space, adjoining (open air) hot shower and a flush toilet.
The original furnishings and decoration are said to reflect the spirit of an ‘authentic tented camp safari’. All are nestled between tall trees and dwarf scrubs – and the waterhole can be seen from all of the tents.
The main building is also set on an elevated platform under a canvas roof. It catches the breeze on the top of the valley, and has good views over the Polentswa Pan. Central facilities include the dining room, bar, lounge, library, craft shop, plunge pool, boma for traditional dinners, and a bird hide within the private concession.
Activities at Ta Shebube Polentswa focus on 4WD wildlife safaris - and the camp is geared up to provide activities, and to cater to travellers who arrive with their own vehicles. Only the lodge can operate nature drives on their small, private concession as they have a few off-road tracks to the east of the lodges (note that self drive guests are not allowed to drive in this area). This area does not have a lot of game and is more for experiencing the beautiful landscape here. Most of the game activities from Polentswa are along the public area of the Nossob Valley as that is where there are numerous water holes which attract an array of antelope and birds (especially raptors), and cats sightings are pretty good too. You can also do you own game drives in the Nossob Valley if you have your own vehicle.
For birders, the camp also offers a ‘half-day birding safari, with bird hide in the camp’s private concession." The Kgalagadi does usually have good bird-watching, with plenty of migratory eagles, kites and falcons passing through the park during the summer months.
Other activities include early or mid-morning nature and bird walks with a guide and a tracker, which take place around the camp and Polentswa Pan, as well as stargazing through the camp’s telescope in the evening. The camp also advertises a ‘wellness treatment’.
Serious 4x4 enthusiasts should note that the Polentswa 4x4 Wilderness Trail, which is a tough, multi-day 4WD route through the Botswana area of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park starts from Ta Shebube Polentswa. This appeals to highly adventurous travellers, who are happy to bush-camp along the way.
Our viewThe Ta Shebube Polentswa is new and, like its sister-camps, rather an unknown quantity for us until we’ve visited it. That said, reports from our first travellers here have been good, and so we’re optimistic that these new camps will make a good base within what we have known for years is a very good game park.
Directions: Accessible from Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Travellers can be met at Twee Rivieren entrance or airstrip if they wish to. From Upington it’s about 250km of good, tarred road to Twee Rivieren, then about a further 222km of gravel road through the park to the Polentswa turnoff. The last 2km of the private sandy track to the camp requires a 4WD.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Ta Shebube is a small, new chain of camps in Botswana.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Soft drinks, beers and complimentary local wine at dinner are included.
Birdwatching: With 300 species of birds reported (52 of these being raptors) Polentswa is a haven for birdwatching in South Africa. Furthermore, a bird hide inside the camp’s concession offers the ideal location for birding.See more ideas for Birdwatching in South Africa
Wildlife safaris: The over 60 mammal species reported in the KTP include good populations of predators and antelope. Spotlit night game drives to the private concession’s waterhole might allow you to see elusive nocturnal species like leopard or aardvark.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in South Africa
Attitude towards children: Children aged eight years or older are welcome. However, it is compulsory for families who want activities with children to book a private vehicle.
Property’s age restrictions: Minimum age eight years
Equipment: The family unit sleeps two adults and two children aged 12 or under.
Notes: Due to the permanent presence of predators children must be supervised all the time. Children rates apply to eight to twelve year olds.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: Polentswa possesses generators as back-up. Limited charging of batteries for travellers is available.
Communications: Due to its remote location no cell phone signal reaches the camp. However, there is a satellite phone for emergencies.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Hot and cold water is available in all tents. Toilets are flushing. Water is a very valuable resource in the desert and the water from the borehole must be elaborately purified for drinking and cooking. For this reason untreated water is partly used for showering and the swimming pool and guests are asked to use water considerably. Policies apply to the use of cleaning guest towels and bed linen (not every day).
Health & safety
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Laundry facilities: As saline water is not suitable for washing clothes or bed linen, there are no laundry services available.