The iconic Jack’s Camp in the Makgadikgadi, Botswana will be rebuilt and reopen with a luxurious new look in May 2020 to celebrate the camp’s 25th anniversary. The brand-new Jack’s Camp will pay homage to the property’s enduring and much loved 1940s campaign style. The rebuild is being overseen by camp owner and founder, Ralph Bousfield, whose father pioneered safaris into the Makgadikgadi over half a century ago. The new look at Jack’s will feature ten spacious safari tents, almost double the size of the existing tents, with an interior floor area of 140 square feet. The tents will retain the same traditional dark green exterior canvas and iconic interior lining. Furnished with antiques that have been passed down through generations of the Bousfield family, the new larger guest tents will each have their own miniature natural history museum, each one with 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 three double tents feature extra-length king beds. Each tent can also accommodate a child on a third day bed in the living room.
The furniture and the 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 never been able to be replicated. New textiles come from India and Morocco and cushions and bed spreads 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 are the perfect place to cool off in the afternoon and a wood burning morso stove will warm the tents during the Makgadikgadi winters.
The new, larger mess tent of Jack’s Camp, which is 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. On one side of the mess tent will be a Moroccan inspired tea tent where a lavish daily spread is served.
The iconic pool pavilion will be reimagined for 2020 and will include a sundeck. A dedicated spa tent will be the perfect place to treat tired limbs to a massage. The Jack’s Camp shop, which has always been a treasure trove of exotic jewelry and beautiful handmade Bushmen items, will be renovated and restocked.
The rebuild will begin in October 2019 and during that time guests will have the option to stay at Jack’s Migration Camp. This new camp will be located close to sister property Camp Kalahari and will offer all the same comforts as Jack’s Camp including a tea tent and swimming pool. The temporary camp will be run by the Jack’s Camp team including the legendary guides Super Sande and Chabba Selei. The same activities and menu will be offered, and it will be a seamless transition between the old and the new.
Jack’s Camp is a pioneer. The camp trailblazed 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’” Tesla solar battery technology. The entire camp will run on Tesla 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.”
Rates at Jack’s Camp will start at USD$ 1795 per person per night when the property reopens on May 1, 2020.