We were ready for our next camp on our Botswana safari and leave our first camp at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero to go farther into the Botswana interior. Our plans were to visit two of the Great Plains Conservation Safari lodges: Duba Plains Camp and Zarafa Camp. To get there, we drove to the Kasane airport to board a private charter into the Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta.
Our pilot and co-pilot were informative and professional. We were in a new caravan airplane with air conditioning. Since we were the only ones aboard, we had plenty of room to move around and did not have to worry about our baggage weight restrictions.
We met our guide, K.B. at the airstrip. After loading our bags, we were off to Duba Plains. The camp was not far. We arrived, unloaded everything and proceeded to the main tent lodge for an orientation and cold drink. We met the local manager and his staff.
Afterwards, we went to our tent lodge #4 next to the main tent. Our tent had a sitting area, desk, bar area, king bed, huge bathroom with giant indoor shower and a solid brass bathtub! As each day went, we used our free time to shower and rest. It was so hot in the afternoon that we had the big standing fan on high!
Sometimes we saw the rhinos that were relocated here from neighboring African areas. We saw huge lion prides with many cubs. We would be out on safari late, eat dinner and then collapse into bed. The schedule for the days are pretty much the same. We have a wake up delivery of a cappuccino and hot chocolate at 5:30 to 6:30 am. There is no sit down breakfast but during the morning break time we would have rolls, cheese and Bloody Marys.
We like to go down to the main tent for “Tea Time”. On African safari, this really means cocktails, wine and beer time with an incredible assortment of pastries and sweets! They really outdid themselves! Our meals were private with our own table at various locations in the tent or deck. No one sat communally. For dinner we get out of our safari clothes. Steve will wear a shirt and shorts, and a dress for me. We go to the main tent to meet and talk with the camp personnel and guests with cocktails. There is always a selection offered for dinner. All orders are taken in advance at lunch time.
The game drives at Duba Plains were hit and miss, feast or famine. There was either a lot of game or nobody was home. The concession had been leased by Wilderness Safaris as a hunting area. The game were afraid of the hunters and left. Dereck and Beverly Joubert, the famous African wildlife photographers and writers, put together an investment group, “The Ultimate African Safari” forming The Great Plains Safari Camps. They took over the Wilderness leases and rebuilt the camps for the conservation of the animals and the African safari experience. They are continually working to build the numbers and the variety of animals.
Duba Plains has a very long handmade, wooden bridge across the water to the other side of the swamp. One morning K.B. decided we would go to the other side to check on the lions. We were on the bridge about midway across, when we saw the lions on the far end coming toward us! We could not go any further to push back the lions. We had to slowly back up the entire length to the bridge entrance. Since the bridge was elevated, it was very narrow. As K.B. backed up, Steve and I hung over the sides to guide the back wheels.
Two other trucks from the camp were watching this is intense lion scenario. The lions were unsure of this new territory or even where they were. The lions moved over to the airstrip, but got frightened by a powerful buffalo herd. They made a run for it to go back across the bridge. I bet they will not do that again!
One morning the camp surprised us with a bush breakfast! The chef and the kitchen crew came with a camp cook stove and a beautiful table set up with fruits, muffins, juices and a bar. The chef cooked eggs, bacon and sausages. Yum, yum! We really enjoyed it!
It was time for us to leave Duba Plains for Zarafa Camp; our second Great Plains Conservation destination!