Reviews of Bitterpan Wilderness Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Not a recommended stop
After our time at Gharagab we arrived at Bitterpan with high expectations. Unfortunately we were very disappointed. Due to a leak in the waterhole it was only being filled every 3 days. Fortunately we arrived on the day it had been filled and there was some game. However by evening the water had drained away and there was no game the following day until we managed to persuade the camp guide to put a little more water in. With the drought conditions as soon as the water was in animals started to appear but there was not enough and they soon left leaving us staring at a vast empty flood pan. The waterhole is also not lit so even had there been water once it was dark you would not have seen the animals.
Whilst the accommodation is fine the shared kitchen is a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst it was good to socialise with others the party of South Africans who arrived the same time as us were a little over powering. They immediately took over the kitchen and filled all 3 freezers with their food. Fortunately as we were using tinned and dried food it didn't cause us a problem but it could so easily have done so. It would be a simple matter to put another fridge freezer in so each chalet could have its own.
The 4WD route in and out of Bitterpan was much easier than Gharagab. There was however almost no game or birds to see on the route and many of the waterholes were dry.
Until the waterhole is fixed so that it can have water in it every day and a light installed similar to that at Gharagab I would strongly recommend not staying at this camp.
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp review
All you would expect from self catering accomadation
Guard very interesting with animal prints
One Meerkat Safari !!
The journey our of Nossob from Gharahab was a little more challenging than the road in with the last sand dune before the 'main road' needing a couple of attempts .
You have to check out of Gharahab and into Bitterpan at Nossob which is very quickly done - just a couple of stamps on your park pass then you leave the Nossob site by a controlled gate onto a restricted track. We refuelled before leaving ( always keep the fuel tank topped up).
The route to Bitterpan proved to be quite challenging at times - a tortuous road with much deeper sand than previously encountered which was quite warm and, therefore, more difficult to drive through but soon we developed a good rhythm and could judge the required gear and pace to tackle each dune making it a fun journey.
On arrival at the camp we were greeted by Wilhelm ( who was pleased to see us as we had been asked to buy some supplies for him) . He showed us to our accommodation ( a similar structure to Gharahab) which looked out directly onto the waterhole. The individual toilet and shower facilities were not en suite but opposite across the walkway and there was a communal kitchen which had recently been revamped and indidual braiis, in a fenced area, just beyond each verandah
Although the kitchen was communal there was ample fridge/ freezer space for everyone and room for all the guests to cook at the same time with sufficient saucepans, crockery, glasses etc.
We sat with the other guests around a large table eating our various meals and sharing our experiences..
Bitterpan is another wilderness camp but the walkway and communal areas are fenced so there is no problem answering the call of nature or getting a drink during the hours of darkness!
Just getting there is an achievement
The only official way of getting to Bitterpan is from Nossob through a locked gate and then across the dunes on a 4x4 trail. The first two big dunes are the worst to contend with. If you are not confident about your or your vehicle's capabilities, do a deal with the Nossob ranger to let you approach Bitterpan via Morevat.
Once you get there you will have one of the four cabins overlooking the waterhole and will have to use the communal kitchen. Need to take your own water. A real safari experience and the other users will be experienced game or bird spotters and being with them should enrich your experience. There are numerous mice but they can't get into the fridges.
Note - don't expect a five star hotel. Thank goodness, it's better for that.
Nicest san parks accommodation and location. Lovely room but didn't really like the shared kitchen - no saucepans left for us!
Two black maned lions strolled across the pan in the morning, amazing!
Lovely fire pit in the middle of the accommodation for some evening socialising.
Bitterpan - unexpected 4W Driving !
Checking-in for Bitterpan is done at Nossob before getting access to the trail, which is through the Nossob Rest Camp. An unexpected 4WD trail was waiting for us, but fortunately everything went well. It took us 3-3,5 hrs to cover the 53 Km. Quite challenging sometimes and infinitely more difficult then Gharagap exit road. We planned to stay 2 nights at Bitterpan and loop-drive through Moravet and Nossob, but unfortunately due the difficult access trail we decided to take the day off and stay at Bitterpan and "rest".
On the day out we took the easiest path out, i.e., through Moravet instead of going straight to Kalahari Tented Camp. This exit road is much shorter and easier to drive. The decision was worth. A couple exquisite Bat Eared Foxes were sighted near Moravet, and on the main road linking the two riverbeds, we saw for the first time a troop of Meerkats sunbathing at the early morning hours.
The camp itself is very well situated overlooking a pan. Activity around the waterhole is sparse (at least while we were there) with the occasional Oryx, Jackal, Ostrich and Steenbok.
The cabins are very well designed with the rooms separated from the private bathrooms which are located just next to the rooms. A communal kitchen serves the four cabins which allows people to sit around the communal dinning room/ fire and exchange experiences.The kitchen was as always well equipped.
The guard was friendly and helpful and even asked us to transport the laundry to Mata-Mata, on our way to Kalahari Tented Camp, which we did.
One night stay at Bitterpan may be sufficient to explore the Bitterpan 4WD trail.
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp review
There are only four double rooms here so we felt fortunate that the other guests were so friendly. Each room has a private sitting area overlooking the waterhole. We stayed only one night here but saw two lions, who had eyes only for each other and a leopard.
The warden is always on site and ever watchful.
Bitterpan Wilderness Camp review
Nice place not a lot going on!Read more about the whole safari