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Tau Pan

The Lodge

Tau Pan Lodge sits on a ridge which is all that remains of an ancient sand dune. This slightly elevated position gives the lodge great views across Tau, Sunday and Passarge Pans towards Deception Valley. Deception Valley may ring a bell with you because it was written about in Mark and Delia Owens’s book, “Cry of the Kalahari” – highly recommended. The book is an inspiring account of early Kalahari conservation; the Owens now run a wildlife conservation foundation: http://www.owens-foundation.org

Desert Oryx (or Gemsbok) and the smaller antelope are Springbok.

Tau Pan was the pioneer camp to be built (2009) in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and is a model of environmental sensitivity. As with its sister camp, Nxai Pan, Tau Pan has been constructed with this delicate habitat in mind. Both camps are 100% solar powered; water is pumped from deep under the Kalahari sands and all grey-water treated in a state-of-the-art treatment plant before being returned to the desert plants.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

This is the ultimate in “remote destinations”: it’s an area of 53,000 Km² which is just about the size of Switzerland, and the second largest game reserve in the world. The park was established in 1961 but no visitors were allowed at that time! Even today visitor numbers remain very low.

The land is flat and covered in brush and scrub grasses; it’s not a sand/rock desert such as the Sahara but much more productive. The rivers are subterranean and the lakes long-since evaporated leaving behind the salty pans. The most renowned “river” is the one that formed Deception Valley which is close to Tau Pan Lodge. The indigenous inhabitants of the Kalahari are the Bushmen or San who are nomadic hunters and perhaps the only people to really know the secrets of the Kalahari.

The game viewing is excellent and rare species such as the brown hyena are resident. The icons of this park are probably the gemsbok with their impressive backward sweeping horns and distinctive black and fawn livery.

Desert - full moon rise

Desert – full moon rise

The seasons

From November to May each year huge numbers of herbivores migrate from the Okavango Delta area into the Central Kalahari, following the pattern of the rain showers: the desert comes to life and flowers and there’s lots of good grazing for lactating mothers. January and Feb are the peak calving/fawning months.

June is the start of the dry season and the animals begin to return to the Delta where permanent water can be found. During July, Aug, Sept and Oct only the desert specialists can be found (Gemsbok, springbok, cheetah and the hard-core, black-maned Kalahari lions). Despite the reduction in game numbers, this is still a good season to visit and Kalahari safaris always have an atmosphere of “expect the unexpected”.

Tau Pan Camp at a glance

Sits on the edge of the mighty Tau Pan in a semi-arid habitat
The camp overlooks a waterhole that provides permanent water
9 en-suite Meru tents
Activities menu: walks, drives (on track only; daytime only) stargazing
Always separate driver and tracker on all drives
All inclusive rates
Small plunge pool with sun loungers.

Sunrise over the Kalahari Desert

Sunrise over the Kalahari Desert

The bedrooms are well-appointed and the public areas are equally comfortable, but it’s what happens outside that really counts and the game in this area is surprisingly good.

This is one of the six sister camps that come within the Kwando umbrella. Kwando is a locally-owned (Batswana) organisation that is concerned with wildlife and creating top-notch safaris. Their camps are stylish and luxurious, but remain firmly focussed on offering the best safari experience. Venture Co has been working with Kwando for many years and the feedback we receive from clients is consistently outstanding; we don’t hesitate to recommend them.

Kwando In a nutshell

Their camps cover all the best locations (Okavango Delta, adjoining concession land; the pans and the Central Kalahari.
All camps are open all year.
Max of 6 persons per vehicle.
Vehicles always have two members of staff, a driver and the tracker – each focussed on his own tasks.
Max of 8 tents (16 persons) in any one camp – small is beautiful!
Rates are fully inclusive: laundry, bar bill, snacks

Black-maned desert lion

Black-maned desert lion