Overall Impression An outdoor enthusiast’s dream, our luxury mobile camp experience in the Nxai Pan National Reserve of Botswana was intimate, safe, clean and comfy. Communing with the outdoors and nature, especially in an area with no other accommodation options, was a pleasure. Accustomed to fussy Americans, our experienced, colorful and knowledgeable hosts John and Tina and their team were welcoming and tended to our every need. The tents (with bathrooms en suite) were in excellent condition with great attention to detail, and modern though maintaining an African feel.
Possible by prior arrangement
Length Of Stay Two nights
Location In the Nxai Pan Reserve, a Botswana national park
Owned-Managed Certified guides John and Tina Chase
Size From 2 tents and 4 guests to 9 tents and 18 guests. Up to 13 staff members travel with the mobile camp.
Type Of Accommodation Mobile luxury tents with en suite “bathrooms”
Year Opened-Renovated 1998; renovations were ongoing
Tent Our spotlessly clean and smell free rectangular shaped 200 ft2 tent was large enough for two people. We entered through a zippered door with double flaps: one with sc reened materials to keep the bugs out and the other thicker one for privacy and insulation. Inside there were two twin beds with comfortable mattresses, clean crisp sheets and blankets; a night table on one side of each bed; and a cloth covered trunk type table where we put our luggage.
: Inside the tent though divided by a zippered “door” there was a “bathroom” area. The fabric covering the floor was knitted so it could get wet and liquids would seep through to the ground. The “ceiling” fabric was also knitted so we could see the trees and sky over us though the fabric protected us from insects and leaves. To one side there was a shower section with a hand operated hose. Next to the hose there was a place on the “wall” of the tent to place soap and toiletries.
Showers were best taken in the heat of the day with a 15 minute notice to the staff. They would place hot water in a container connected to our shower hose and on the outside of our tent. Though water pressure was low it was good enough for an adequate shower, which felt especially good after a dusty day of game viewing in the semi-arid Nxai Pan.
Meal In spite of our remote location in a national park several hours drive from the nearest grocery store, almost everything we were served was homemade and cooked right before our meals. Food was set on a table from which we could serve ourselves. A staff member brought our drinks and picked up used plates.
Toiletries including shampoo, bath and shower gel and body lotion.
Facilities A dining tent, a fireplace area, three in-house vehicles
Game Viewing : Elephants, lions, oryx , jackals, springbok, zebra, giraffe, impala and ostrich as well as many birds. The viewing by one of only two water holes was exceptional. A pride of lions was resting near the water and it was quite a show watching the prey animals approach for a drink.
Optional Activities Day drives, boat safari, mekoro trips, hot air balloons, bungee jumping and quad bikes. Also available outside national parks: night drives, fishing and walking.
John Chase Safaris
As mobile camp operators they were able to travel with and accommodate guests in remote areas with limited access. They provided a nostalgic setting reminiscent of the old safari days. Options included a number of locations within Botswana depending on client requests.
Other John Chase Safaris was a member of the Hotel and Tourism Association of Botswana and the only operators allowed to camp at the Nxai Pan during the time we were there. All meals, drinks, transportation within the reserve, national park and camping fees, and game drives were included in the nightly rates. The canopied game viewing vehicles were especially fitted Land Cruisers with seating for seven guests.
The darkness at night was particularly noticeable since there was nothing other than our modest kerosene lamps and small flashlights to mar the bush blackness. It was a treat looking up at the sky a night to see the southern hemisphere stars in all their glory.
Many of the staff members had worked with the Chase family between 16 and 29 years and considered themselves part of the family.
Check-In-Check-Out Process Ease
Date Of Last Visit May 2004
Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle
Photographs by Chester Godsy and Joni Johnson-Godsy
Service Our hosts John and Tina Chase and their staff including camp manager and guide Howard Mlizane were friendly, knowledgeable, accommodating, gracious and a pleasure to be with. We particularly appreciated the mobile tent style of experiencing Africa , the seasoned background of our hosts and the special luxury touches evident in our tents and overall stay. We look forward to another trip to Botswana including John Chase Safaris.
Would You Stay Again? Yes