Reviews of San Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
14 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited San Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"San Camp review"
"San Camp Review"
In late June, the weather was cold at night. We slept in long underwear and the camp has heavy comforters and hot water bottles that make things warm. You will get dressed very quickly in the morning in time for the early game drives. Afternoons were a warm 70 F and the time to shower. The camp provided a sun downer on the salt pan that was accompanied with a full bar as well as a quiet, serene sunset. On another occasion the camp provided a full dinner on the pan with an opportunity to sleep out there for the night! If it weren't so cold we would have done it. None of the guests opted to do this either for the same reason.
A trip to see the bushmen of the Kalahari was excellent and put to shame the "hokey" encounters with other tribes one might see in Africa.
There is electricity for limited room lighting only in the tents but not for any phones, computers or camera battery charging and downloading of images. This must be done near the dining area and even that is limited. We left all of this equipment in the area rather than dragging it back and forth to the tents which are very spread out. The folks at the camp did help and go along with my plan to bring one of the small reading tables next to the electric area to work on. This assuaged the problem a lot. If more folks were doing this it would have been a problem however.
Other animals seen but not on your list included: porcupine and baby; bat eared fox; black backed jackels; spring hares; yellow mongoose; pukus." See all these reviews: 7n in Tanzania; 6n in Zambia; 4n in Zimbabwe; 3n in Botswana; 1n in Kenya
"More expected from San Camp"
We were in the tent furthest away from the main area. It is a very long walk, especially in the heat of the day, and in the dark. It was fine for us, but I think for elderly people or with mobility issues, it might be an issue - you don't want to go back to get something that was forgotten. The tent was as beautiful as the photo's, but proved to be impractical. The bed is extremely high, requiring steps to access it, and without a light next to the bed (only one light at the entrance to the tent and one in the bathroom) it was a bit daunting to have to negotiate your way in the dark. Perhaps a torch next to the bed might help. Also, the bed standing in the middle of the tent, and there being no headboard, meant the pillows fell off the end of the bed, requiring another trip in the dark to retrieve them.
It took us a while to recognize and appreciate what this place is about - the remoteness, the quiet, the desolate beauty - grows on you. I think they are trying too hard to be fancy, or different, making the experience feel contrived. Everybody does not want to have to take off their shoes to lounge around on cushions with strangers having afternoon tea. I think perhaps we would have enjoyed the Makgadigadi pans more in more relaxed, comfortable surroundings." See all these reviews: 7n in Botswana
They went on to explain that they have quite a few activities on offer in the area and that the schedule needs to rotate between the three camps located here: San Camp, Jack’s Camp and Camp Kalahari. The activities do need to be scheduled to avoid crowding at any one location and to ensure everyone has the chance to at least do most of the activities during their stay. The camps do recommend a 3-night stay where possible as that ensures that guests will have the chance to experience all the activities, although they understand that time and cost factors mean that some visitors can only stay 2 nights.
San Camp only have two tents with a double bed; the rest have two single beds. Both of the tents with a double bed are located furthest from the main area. If they have guests who are elderly or have mobility issues then they will be allocated the tents closest to the main area.
The camp has taken note of this travelers comments about the beds height, lack of headboard to keep the pillows on the bed and lack of lighting and they will make improvements when they can. It was wonderful to hear that the guests appreciated the location and the beauty of the Makgadikgadi.
"Magical (but windy!) San Camp"
The location overlooking the Salt Pan is amazing.
It was very windy while we were there and the time of year might be a consideration for other visitors. The camp apparently closes mid October because of high winds but it seems they had arrived early this year. The weather did impact some of the activities but we enjoyed our stay enormously and the staff and guide made every effort to give us a great experience." See all these reviews: 12n in Botswana; 4n in Zambia
"What an unexpected and special place!"
The camp had a number of people on the first night but then it was only us for the rest of our stay.
Firstly and most importantly were the fabulous people who work at the camp. Our guide BK was absolutely excellent. He was enthusiastic, a natural story-teller, a great guide and the best driver we had. Ogirl was the manageress of the camp at the time we were there. She was absolutely lovely! She oversaw everything and made sure we were happy and also shared our meals with us (as well as BK). We enjoyed her company very much and she made our stay even more special. She also became engaged the night before we arrived - congratulations!!
After 6 nights of a long drop toilet and camping, the sight of the luxurious furniture in our beautiful white tent with a 'proper' bathroom and throne toilet was very much appreciated! The 4-poster beds were very comfortable and the shower lovely. The toiletries were superb as well. The tents are widely set apart and the furthest tent is quite a trek to the central area. Request a lower number tent if you do not want to trek too far in the heat. The furniture in the tents and throughout the camp is stunning as are the exhibits!
The huge central tent houses numerous sitting areas, the generously stocked self-serve bar, the dining room and a beautiful Arabian area with low cushions and lovely Persian carpets where you have tea before setting out on your afternoon adventure. There is another tent which is beside the small, but very welcome, swimming pool.
You have breakfast first thing before you go out on your first activity. Around 11 you have lunch and then the afternoon is yours to rest and relax. At 4 you have tea and a snack and then out until you get back for drinks and dinner. The food was fine but I think that the option of salad or a lighter lunch would be welcome. The full lunch was too much for me in the intense heat.
Everywhere you look you see the flat salt pans where you often see lines of zebra and wildebeast crossing in front of wonderful mirages. We had not expected the sheer number of birds, elephants, lions, zebras, wildebeast, impala etc in an area that looked so bleak and harsh from the air.
The activities are well-organised, varied and interesting. We had a visit with habituated (but still totally wild) meercats, we searched (and found) brown hyenas, we went out in the vehicle looking for wildlife and stayed out for a nocturnal safari where we found an aardwolf, spring hares (or Kalahari kangaroo), cape hare, jackals and many other species. We walked with some San people which was enlightening and lots of fun as well. Through all of the activities we learned about the area and how everything survives in this very harsh environment.
It was very hot in the day and cool at night and first thing in the morning. You will need layers of clothing. Ogirl told us the best way to survive the heat is by wearing a kikoy (they supplied them) that has been soaked in water, wrung out and wrapped around your neck. It really helped to deal with the dry heat.
We were the only people in camp for the last two nights of our stay which was quiet and enjoyable with no drop in standards. It can get windy at times in the night but you are wrapped up warm in your duvet in your tent and it just adds to the atmosphere as do the roaring lions and barking jackals.
We really enjoyed our stay and would definitely recommend it if you are prepared for a different experience." See all these reviews: 16n in Botswana; 2n in Namibia
"Brilliant time at this camp"
At present the tent accom is lit by lamps, which is romantic and charming. However it is difficult to see clearly when sorting out possessions. There is a discussion whether they should have electricity installed. If they do, then we would like to think it would be minimal and just enough to get by, but NOT with a lot of lights/switches. We say this because we arrived late at the camp at dusk and by the time we got into the tent we could hardly see what we were doing.
The cuisine at the camp is worthy of a Michelin star. Staff charming. We had a great time with Alejandra (camp manager)
Miss B, Danica and Lego. Harold our guide was first class." See all these reviews: 13n in Botswana
The tents were lovely, no electricity but absolutely gorgeous with plenty of kerosene lamps at night (could be a bit smelly though) and the common areas beautifully decorated and comfortable. The "yoga tent" was a bit of a strange thing though. It's huge but pretty much unusable if it's windy (mat kept blowing away) and I incorrectly assumed there would be some yoga classes given but no, it's just there for guests to do their own thing if they wish. This is a shame as it we would be great to have an afternoon class available on request as the siestas are so long and there's not much else to do.
The staff were friendly and welcoming, apart from the new manageress. We had a couple of teething problems and she was very defensive. She did apologise at the end though which made me think she just has a lot to learn about managing guests. Unlike most camps laundry takes 2 days so make sure you come with enough clean clothes.
Overall I'd say a trip to Bots isn't complete without visiting the Salt Pans and I think you couldn't do better than San (although tempted to try Jacks next time just so I can compare!)." See all these reviews: 9n in Botswana; 6n in Zambia
"A very special place in the desert"
Our guide was very knowledgeable and sensitive to what we wanted to see and do - seeing the brown hyena and meerkats but also experiencing the vastness of the pan, its unique environment and the wonderful Chapman's Baobab.
All the staff were welcoming, friendly and helpful. We were there to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary and were given a wonderful romantic dinner in our own pavilion." See all these reviews: 22n in Namibia; 10n in Botswana
"Wonderful and more wonderful!"
The managers are lovely people- knowledgeable intellectuals who are interesting and informative. I learned a great deal from our conversations over meals.
The tents are fabulous, luxurious and I would like to have the same decor at home, especially the furniture (specifically the small elephant table in the mess area, and the chairs, trays) - everything was picture perfect. I adored the Moroccan tea room, and the yoga tent was so picturesque I asked to be photographed in front of it. The view was spectacular and we could see zebras, wildebeest and spring bok from the main tent.
The guide is interesting, knowledgeable and fun- and handsome! The highlights were the meerkats, of course, and especially meeting the Zu/'Hoasi Bushmen tribe.
And Charlie, the young, beautiful manager even had a real Pims Cup with cucumber and mint waiting for me after our activities, which happens to be my favorite!
PS- We were not offered the quad bike activity, but we didn't miss it- even forgot all about it until much later!" See all these reviews: 17n in Botswana
"Stimulating wilderness experience"
Plans to update mess-tent, but the current accommodation is true safari experience.
Guides have encyclodaedic knowledge and lead you through a variety of stimulating experiences.
The camp is for desert devotees but we did see game, notably aardvark, brown hyena and aardwolf!" See all these reviews: 10n in Botswana
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