Reviews of Nxai Pan Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A less known but no less impressive migration
Mid-January is probably the perfect time to visit Nxai Pan, catching the remarkable zebra migration and (our main aim) hitting the peak of the migrant bird season. Given our principal interest, we opted for a private guide and we have nothing but praise for Donald and Kayser, expert guides and great company.
With their help we identified over 115 bird species in four days (the majority of them different to the species we had identified at Motswiri, bringing our total for the eight-day trip to just over 200), with the large and varied raptor population a particular highlight. The drive to Baines' Baobobs was well worth the effort, the bonus being a large flock of lesser flamingo in Kudiakam Pan.
As for the mammals, even in just four days the ebb and flow of the population was clearly visible across the pan in search of fresh grass, bringing sightings of lion and cheetah; and close encounters with elephants were frequent.
The camp is very well run by Janet Shamukuni (whom we had first met two years previously at Tau Pan) and her team and we were very well looked after throughout.
Open landscapes and knowledgeable staff
At Nxai Pan I think we were still a little early for the bigger zebra (and giraffe?) migration: it was very nice to see that literally every game drive we saw more zebras; but I understand that at prime time the field in front of the camp (for example) is filled with zebra. That would have been really special; probably impossible to plan from far away (staff was saying mid-January). But Nxai Pan was by no means 'low' on wildlife. We saw cheetahs on our very first game drive (and also on subsequent drives); ran into elephants 1 minute after we were picked up from the airstrip, saw active lions with playing cubs, best sightings of Kori Bustard and Secretary Bird (alongside Etosha). Moreover, the trip to the Baines Baobabs was really good, with many sightings and a special landscape. In general the landscape was so much more open than in the Okavango; this really set Nxai Pan apart.
We did hear some people complain that the wildlife is further away in Nxai Pan. While this is true, this is not purely bad (at least if you can combine it with the closer sightings in the Okavango): for example it was great to see the cheetahs 'roaming' through the field and observe their behaviour (less aware of our safari jeep coasting in the distance).
Vasko in Nxai Pan was the very best guide/driver; with Keso a really proficient tracker. Janet and Carlos were fantastic at hosting, and really created a good atmosphere (with Janet being very outgoing and sharing great stories). Highly recommended.
Many zebra and springbok
Knowledgeable guide, Vasco, and San bushman tracker, Shoes, made for lively discussions on our drives. Aside from large herds of migrating zebra and springbok, not much game. The staff were helpful and accommodating, especially the manager, Janet. The insulated rooms helped tremously in the hot, hot temperature, and our large bed was very comfortable. The pool was cloudy and questionable for swimming (we chose not to). The evening when the staff entertained us was very special. Due to the weather this turned out to be the only camp that had evening campfires which we thoroughly enjoy.
My one disappointment was my own fault: I had chosen Nxai Pan Camp because of it's proximity to Baines Baobabs. We had been in South Africa for more than one month before our first safari camp in Botswana, and I had not reviewed my notes, and I forgot that this was the camp for the baobabs! No staff at the camp ever mentioned the baobabs or that a day trip there was an option. So, I missed my only opportunity to see Baines Baobabs.
We spent considerable time searching and watching for the pride of 7 lions that resided at the camp. We saw them twice at a new zebra kill.
Although we enjoyed our time here we would not return to this camp. The scenry becomes monotonous and the animals are too few.
Nxai Pan Camp review
Wow, what rooms and views!
This was our kind of place, you really had to earn your game viewing. Superb guides and wonderfully peaceful and friendly.
Again, we were the only people, a great bonus.
Nxai Pan Camp review
Would definitely recommend Nxai Pan but the ability to get close to animals is restricted by no off road activities. Apparently the authorities are considering putting more roads to cross the pan and this would help a lot.
Good for searching, listening and using binoculars. Loads of Zebra, Springbok, giraffe. Nxai Pan Lodge excellent especially the staff. It was a good time of year to go and a place to end our safari.
We managed to see a Caracal and bat eared foxes as well as cheetah and lions. It was good for seeing birds.
Nxai Pan Camp review
The camp was very new and was still experencing some minor set up problems but that did not impact on out enjoyment everyone at teh camp was very helpful and pleasent to us
It would have been helpful to know before we visited that you could not do night drives or go off the road