Lying in the upper reaches of the Okavango Delta, Duba Plains Camp is a remote luxury destination occupying a stunning setting overlooking a tranquil lagoon. The tented camp’s restrained luxury is complemented by incredible game viewing experiences on an unspoilt concession area filled with crystal clear river channels, palm-dotted islands and open plains. Guests can expect complete comfort and will develop a profound appreciation of the Okavango’s wildlife.
Originally a research camp and the adopted home of Great Plains Conservation founders Dereck and Beverley Joubert, Duba Plains has become famous for its large concentrations of wildlife, in particular the legendary lion prides which often swim through the river channels of the area. The camp’s guides are excellently trained and have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the bush, while the rest of the staff pitch together to produce exceptional cuisine and attentive service. Only 12 guests can stay at Duba Plains at a time, meaning that game drives and water-based safaris are always intimate experiences.
One of the seven wonders of Africa, the Okavago Delta is a massive, breathtakingly scenic inland delta that covers over 15 000 square kilometres. The summer rains that are the lifeblood of the delta, fall in the highlands of Angola, and take about four months to lazily meander their way down the 1 200km watercourse to arrive in the Delta four months later, just in time for winter.
By June each year, the flood basin has normally swelled to three times its normal size, supporting huge numbers of animals, fish and birds. During this time, guests at Duba Plains can enjoy game-viewing boat cruises and traditional mokoro trips on the placid waterways, or try their hand at catching some of the 71 fish species. Large elephant herds, leopards, wild dogs, cheetah, buffalo and lechwe, along with a dazzling array of less glamourous animal species, can all be seen on guided game drives through the Duba Plains concession.
Duba Plains is an intimate camp with six beautifully-appointed Meru style tents boasting scenic views over the seasonal floodplains. Each tent is privately situated and raised on a wooden deck to give the best perspective of the surrounds. Inside, guests will find a large bed draped with a mosquito net, leading to an impressive bathroom with double basins, a toilet, indoor and outdoor showers, a wardrobe area, dressing gowns and toiletries. Ceiling fans keep the stylish but restrained interiors cool on hot and humid summer days.
Nestling underneath huge and shady indigenous trees, the split-level communal area is reached via a short walk down one of the sandy paths. Encounters with wildlife are always a possibility, but should add an absorbing, not fearful, dimension to a stay. The lounge, library and bar are located on the lower deck, while a dining area and tea/coffee station can be found upstairs.
Most of the camp’s memorable food can be enjoyed on the outdoor deck in good weather, when the lounger-fringed plunge pool can also be put to good use. In the evenings, stories of the day can be swapped around the flickering campfire.
While Duba Plains offers exceptionally comfortable all-inclusive accommodation, the main purpose of the camp is to give guests a deep insight into the wilderness. Early morning, afternoon and night-time drives are led by guides who are eager to share their knowledge and passion for wildlife.
The game drive vehicles have been custom-built to deal with the swampy terrain. Children 6 and older are more than welcome, but families with kids under 16 need to book a private vehicle.
As the floodplains begin filling with water during winter, the emphasis moves more towards boat cruises and mokoro outings, which are a particularly magical experience.
To provide the fuel for activities, the dedicated chef prepares some exquisite meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, particularly when considering the camp’s remoteness.
A nightcap around the campfire, accompanied by a dazzling canopy of stars, good conversation and the sounds of the nocturnal bush, will bring the day at this hidden gem to a very special end.