Duba Plains Safari Camp Review
Duba Plains is a safari camp in Botswana. It's accessible only by chartered plane. Located in the Okavango Delta, you're be smack in the middle of a wilderness full of more types of animals than you're likely to see anywhere else. And if you go in the dry season, you'll have an easier time finding animals as they congregate around the water supply that is the Delta.
So for those that want me to cut to the chase, Duba Plains is awesome. For everyone else, here are the details…
The camp is small with room for just 12 guests (6 tents). There is a high staff to guest ratio and yet feels fairly intimate with everyone there learning and eventually calling you by name. The location is remote so there are no crowds whatsoever on the safari drives (at most you'll encounter one or two other jeeps while out).
Don't be alarmed by the use of the word “camp”. The tents at Duba Plains are in no way to be confused with the sort of tent you'd use in a campground in the US. Instead, they're more like hotel suites where the walls happen to be made out of canvas. The tents had running water and electricity. While electricity was stable, we temporarily lost running water twice which can be a bit of a drag when you're showering.
Our safari guide was named James who is native to Botswana and who has been tracking and guiding at Duba Plains for 15 years — he's even taken the President of Botswana out 6 times. Our guide, along with two camp managers made sure that we were well cared for throughout our stay.
The food is excellent and varied. No joke or exaggeration. In many cases it was as good as you'd get in a high end restaurant in New York City without all of the fussing that so annoys me at said high-end restaurants. There's also plenty of food — breakfast, morning snack, lunch, early afternoon tea, late afternoon snack, and dinner. The camp also made special dishes for one guest that was gluten intolerant.
The daily schedule revolves around the safari drives — shocking I know. You'll be woken up at 6am giving you 30 minutes to prepare for breakfast. You don't shower in the morning so this amount of time to prepare worked out well.
Breakfast is as light or filling as you want it to be with warm and cold options — I tended to go for the porridge (which a fellow traveler informed me tastes really good with honey and butter) along with cut up fruit and freshly baked muffins.
After breakfast you head out just as the light from the predawn sun is appearing — the safaris and sightings will of course differ by time of year, but our track record was particularly impressive with giraffes, elephants, red lechwe, kudu, reedboks, warthogs, baboons, vervet monkeys, hippos, along with a multitude of birds such as the bee eater, lilac breasted roller, and fishing eagle.
Included in the mix was of course lion sightings which for us included lions eating, sleeping, playing, roaring, and walking through water.
The safaris were successful because our guide James was every bit as skilled as you would hope a guide to be. He not only knew what general vicinity to look in for animals, but how to track them to their actual location. He also knew every name of bird and animal we came across and was able to distinguish creatures at a distance when the best we could do was say, “antelope.”
One final thing I wanted to point out is that the Duba staff were very accommodating. This was evident on our last day when our departure time was early enough in the day that it would cut short our morning safari. However, to maximize the time we had, the staff prepared a special take away lunch for us for our flight out of the camp.
Despite the minor water problems, I highly recommend Duba Plains Camp. The accommodations, staff, food, and wildlife are all top notch. Other guests we spoke with at this camp and other camps agreed — some were on their second visit while others said they would go back there out of the 5 camps they had visited.