The iconic Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi, Botswana has been reimagined and rebuilt and will reopen with a luxurious new look this month to celebrate the camp’s 25th anniversary.
The brand-new Jack’s Camp pays homage to the property’s enduring and much loved 1940s campaign style. The rebuild was overseen by owner and founder, Ralph Bousfield, whose father pioneered safaris into the Makgadikgadi over half a century ago. Bousfield explains his vision for the new camp;
“Jack’s has always been a whimsical place, somewhere unconventional where the natural world surprises and delights. The new Jack’s has built on this legacy, and when it reopens in 2021, it will offer an Alice in Wonderland-like oasis in the midst of the ethereal Makgadikgadi.”
The new look Jack’s features nine spacious safari tents, more than double the size of the former tents, with an interior floor area of 130m2. The tents will retain the same traditional dark green exterior canvas and iconic interior lining.
Furnished with antiques passed down through generations of the Bousfield family, the new larger guest tents will each have a miniature natural history museum; each one a cabinet of extraordinary curiosities ranging from stone tools to fossils all, collected and curated by Bousfield himself. Landscape-orientated to allow panoramic views of the salt pans ahead, seven twin tents feature two queen size beds and two double tents feature extra-length king beds. Each tent can accommodate a child on a third day bed in the living room.
The furniture and softs at Jack’s have always been hand-produced by a dedicated team of craftsmen, and it is this attention to detail that means the camp’s style has remained inimitable for a quarter of a century. New textiles come from India and Morocco, and the cushions and bedspreads are all sewn by hand at Ralph’s family home. The guest tents will feature both indoor and outdoor showers and an overhead cooling system for the bed area to ensure a comfortable night’s sleep. Private plunge pools (half outdoor, half indoor) are the perfect place to cool off in the afternoon, and the spacious deck is ideal for an al fresco massage.
The new, larger mess tent, a Natural History Museum in Botswana, will retain much of its original look and feel. Framed Peter Beard pictures sit alongside original posters from French taxidermist, Deyrolle, which hang side by side with Bousfield family photos. The iconic stuffed aardvark has retained pride of place alongside the cabinets of curiosities. The mess tent is a series of flowing spaces; the library, tea tent and drinks tent all offer spaces where guests can be together or find a quiet spot on their own.
The iconic pool pavilion has been reimagined for 2021 and now includes a sundeck. The Jack’s Camp shop, which has always been a treasure trove of exotic jewellery and beautiful handmade Bushmen items, has been renovated and restocked.
Jack’s Camp is a pioneer. The camp trail-blazed safaris in the harsh but beautiful Makgadikgadi region of Botswana 25 years ago and is still the only operator for almost 100 miles. The safari experience at Jack’s is unique. At first sight, the lunar-like salt pans appear devoid of life, but in the hands of the knowledgeable camp guides, the story of the Makgadikgadi begins to unfold.
Whether it’s quad biking out into the remnants of the super lake, hunting for stone tools in the crusty salt flats or seeing the world through the eyes of the Bushmen, this is a safari where the focus is on learning, appreciating and being humbled by a vast landscape. All activities at Jack’s Camp are included in the rate, including a complimentary horse-ride and massage.
The new Jack’s Camp will employ the very latest ‘clean and green’ solar technology. The entire camp runs on solar power, including the new air-conditioning units (‘Evening Breeze’) in the guest tents. 1.5% of all revenue generated by Natural Selection’s camps goes back to local conservation projects. Thanks to the partnership between Jack’s Camp, Natural Selection, the local community and Round River Conservation, Africa’s second-largest zebra migration, which was almost destroyed by veterinary fences in the 1960s, has returned with thousands of ungulates returning to centuries-old migration paths.
Natural Selection co-founder, Dave van Smeerdijk says;
“We are thrilled to be partnering with Jack’s to take both their conservation and guest experience to the next level. Jack’s is an iconic property and one we are very proud to be working with.”
Natural Selection offers exceptional rates for African residents who book through their Explorers Program.
Rates at Jack’s start at R4990 per person valid until March 31 2021. Terms and conditions apply. Only valid for African residents.