Bitterpan Wilderness Camp: Our full report
Within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Bitterpan Wilderness Camp is great stop in a superb location, breaking up the journey between the Kalahari Tented Camp and Grootkolk Wilderness Camp.
Recently built, the new wilderness camps offer slightly more substance than the restcamps within the park. They are however, not safari lodges and as such the luxuries are limited, offering instead a very good self-catering option.
The 4 'reed chalets' at Bitterpan are each made from reeds and canvas, with the roof made from corrugated iron sheet covered with reeds. Built in a very traditional African style, using similar materials and techniques to those used by the local people, they are a great option, being fun and cosy.
There is no restaurant here so self-catering is the standard. However, communal kitchens come well stocked with all your standard cooking utensils, crockery and cutlery. There are also barbeque areas available for shared use. The chalets come with bedding and towels. It would be prudent however, to bring some of your own linen, especially for younger children. It is also recommended that you bring water and firewood, although there is a shop for essentials at Twee Rivieren, as you enter the park.
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp has a waterhole which is regularly visited by a variety of animals. It also has a 6m-high look-out tower with panoramic views over the pan, waterhole and across the dunes.
With the camp so near to the waterhole, and being completely open to the wilderness, animals do come into the camp. There is a 'tourism assistant' on duty at the camp at all times – but often no other staff – so it is important to remember your surroundings.
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp is located fairly centrally within the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park; see our Map of the Kgalagadi.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park can offer some really excellent game-viewing opportunities, and Bitterpan Camp is in a good location in the middle of the dune belt.
Not only does the park offer one of Africa's best opportunities to see cheetah, but is probably the world's number one area to view of the infamous meerkats. With an abundance of many types of game, there is opportunity to see gemsbok, wildebeest and springbok as well as predators, from black-maned lion to leopard.
( Originally the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park was two separate parks on either side of the border: the Gemsbok National Park was a large isolated section of Kalahari scrub in Botswana, while the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park was a South African National Park. Combining the two has not only opened up the park to more people, but has helped in the conservation with a unified park authority).
Ideal length of stay: The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park needs at least a 4 night stay to be fully appreciated. However, we recommend 5-7 nights, incorporating a variety of the camps, such as Bitterpan Camp, Kalahari Tented Camp and Grootkolk, or perhaps even one of the restcamps: Mata Mata, Nossob or Twee Rivieren.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Attitude towards children: Children are very welcome; just bear in mind their safety as the wildlife roams through camp without hindrance.
Generally recommended for children: YES
Health & safety
Dangerous animals: High Risk