Positioned between Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park and the Khwai River, the exclusive concession is a meeting point for more animals than you can shake a stick at. Think nomadic herds of elephant and buffalo, lion, leopard and wild dog fiercely defending their territories, as well as kudu, red lechwe and herds of dainty antelope dotted across the plains.
And then there’s the camp itself. From its lofty position amongst a grove of cathedral mopane trees, the eight tents at Hyena Pan look over a watery lagoon of the same name. In the morning, you’ll open your tent flaps straight on to the trumpeting elephant in the lily-filled waters below, spend your siesta watching herds splash and snort, and fall asleep to antelope grazing just outside your canvas walls. This isn’t a place for those looking for opulence and extravagance; it’s a private piece of big-game Africa, where the wildlife encounters are authentic, intimate and always wild.
Hyena Pan has eight tents, and inside, we’ve plumped for a theme of stylish simplicity, and a whole lot of character. You’ll find everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Each tent has twin beds, which can easily be made into doubles – and there’s no gap to fall through in the middle of the night, we promise! Mesh nets keep the mozzies out, and there’s an electronic safe to store valuables, along with a luggage rack and wardrobe. Our eco-conscious minds were also at play when we designed Hyena Pan, and each tent is solar powered, with international plug points. A gas geyser pumps constant hot water to the ensuite bathroom and shower.
Amble down to the heart of the camp, and you’ll find the dining deck and lounge areas. Keep an eye on the comings and goings at the waterhole from a slouchy sofa, or float in the mini-splash pool and watch the wildlife doing the same below. Meals are wholesome and tasty, and after you’ve finished munching, the night is best spent in the open-air boma with a nightcap (or two or three). When darkness falls, we illuminate the waterhole and all its David Attenborough-esque action, sadly without the voiceover.
What to do?
When to go?
Both the green and dry seasons in Khwai have their own charms, and we rather like both. When the rains fall from December to March, the area floods and you’ll find astonishing numbers of hippo, elephant and buffalo, accompanied by a rainbow-coloured array of water birds. The rains do however scatter the wildlife far and wide, and you may need to travel a little further on game drives during these months to spot the wildlife.
In Botswana, winter brings a scorching desert sun (lucky for some) and the seasonal waterholes evaporate, whilst smaller ones dry up completely. At Hyena Pan, the water remains, and animals flock to the last droplets of water, and there’s drama aplenty between predator and the unlucky prey. June, July and August are traditionally the best times for game viewing in Botswana, but don’t rule out September and October either. And regardless of when you go, we’d recommend at least three nights and two full days, to discover everything you need to.