Funky & fun, a great stop-over for overlanders near Makgadigadi Pans
Planet Baobab is a quirky oasis in the middle of one of Botswana's lunar-like landscape - a hub for self-drive travellers and overland tours. A cold St.Louis Lager (the local beer) and festive atmosphere await you; this is a down-to-earth option for budget travellers keen to sample the easy-going hospitality and sense of humour of the Batswana locals (see enormous anteater statue from the road). Rest assured, Planet Baobab also offers a professional, organised approach, with a host of accommodation options and opportunities for exploring the great Makgadigadi Salt Pans and this strange slice of wilderness.
At the lodge
The main area consists of a generously sized lapa (open-sided thatch covering), home to the snaking bar counter with plenty of seating, and an enormous lounge. Sample some hearty Pan-African fare on the camp's tasty menu, or just pull in for a frosty beverage after a parching day in the desert. The decor is eclectic, with wine bottle chandeliers dangling from the ceiling and cowhide covered chairs. It's colourful and funky and utterly conducive to spontaneous revelry. The camp's pool is a sight for sore eyes - a true oasis generously endowed with lots of water, not to mention a clever overhanging lapa where you can sit and soak in the shade.
There are a few options at Planet B. The Baobab and Bakalanga huts are traditional rondavel style - solid, round-walled constructions with thatch roofs. These sit amidst a fraternity of baobabs and are outfitted with en-suite bathrooms, beds with comfortable mattresses. If you want to experience how indigenous Kalahari duellers lived, stay in a grass hut for the night - no en-suite bathroom here but you'll have a comfortable mattress and a paraffin lamp. Or, pitch a tent beneath a shady thatch lapa and enjoy the braai grill where you can cook your own fare, and the ample shared facilities.
Planet B is a great base from which to explore the Kalahari and its ancient geography. The lodge team can arrange a walk or game drive with a local guide - you'll learn mountains of interesting facts from their years of exploration in this deceptively desolate landscape. If visiting in the rainy season (roughly December - March), be sure to catch the remarkable and lesser-known zebra and wildebeest migration. In the market for a little adrenaline? Planet B can keep you topped-up with the Kalahari Surf Club - no ten-foot waves here, just the wide open spaces of the Makgadigadi Pans, explored on the back of a quad bike. After a day in the sun, enjoy the magical sunset over a sea of sand; then banquet on a traditional braai (bbq) in the moonlight. When you can no longer keep your eyes open, you'll find a bedroll awaiting you - out here it's just you and this strange, magnificent earth.