Duba Plains revealed and explored
Flying over the Okavango delta is simply breathtaking. When this unique and wonderful continent was created, with all its mysteries and wild places, the Okavango was not with us. Through the planets own shear will it was created. With her internal forces of molten magma, subterranean quakes and constantly changing crusts, this unique paradise was formed. In Northern Botswana mother earth’s crust twisted, shifted and subsided, and the rivers that flowed over this area were diverted and channeled in a different direction into the heart of a desert. Over centuries, the dry and desolate Kalahari desert was then transformed into a paradise of meandering crystal clear waterways and islands. This formed a watery garden of eden for the plethora of creatures that now call it home. Fortunately, this oasis in in the desert can now be explored. In the heart of this green and lush paradise, lies Duba Plains.
We had the pleasure of visiting the newly opened and re-modeled Duba Plains camp. This adventure was focused on enjoying the ample and beautifully created suites, the lodge in all it’s entirety with all the trimmings and immaculate finishings, and the vast concession that they traverse. We sampled the excellent and rather large wine collection, dined on delectable food, and relaxed in beautifully created suites. To be brief, Great Plains Conservation have done a superb job, and the Duba Plains of old has been merged seamlessly with this the new creation.
Piers the chef, literally wowed us with a fresh take on bush cuisine. The passion he feels for his job really comes through in the flavors and delectable delights that he produces. We both agreed it had been one of our top culinary experiences we have had in awhile. If the images below could exude their subtle delicious flavors through your digital devices, they would leave your mouth watering and stomachs grumbling.
The concession that Duba Plains lies in is essentially an island. A long wooden bridge over the main water channel allows access to the waterways and floodplains that can be explored via motorboats, mekoros (dugout canoes) and game drive vehicles. The concession in general, has fantastic wildlife viewing. Renowned film makers Dereck and Beverly Joubert have created numerous documentaries in this area, specifically, on lions. As such the lions of this region are rather famous, specifically the Tsaro pride. These lions have had to learn to negotiate the waterways, wade through mud and papyrus, and hunt in very tough conditions. As such, they have became astonishly stocky, with broad chests and extremely strong shoulders. They are also quite unique in that they like to hunt in daylight. We spent quite a lot of time tracking and following these lions, and were rewarded with some amazing viewing of them crossing channels, playing through waterways, and ultimately hunting in their natural habitat.
After following these famous lions for the early part of the morning and watching them play and frolicking about, it was time to hunt. Now, having watched lions for a large portion of my wildlife addicted life, their technique and approach to hunting is rather different. If you have had the chance to see african wild dog hunts, you will know that they cause panic and distress in a herd, using this to their advantage to separate individuals. Well, this pride has now learnt to do the same with warthogs and a variety of other species. They will spread out at a trot, and leave a few pride members flanking the thickets or floodplains. The rest of the pride will enter a thicket from all angles, charging in and flushing whatever they can. Then, whatever emerges, they will chase down through floodplains and thickets and ultimately kill there unlucky prey. The series of photos below show the results of this technique, where a few warthogs had an unfortunate end to there mortal existence.
The piglet however put a brave fight and even managed to challenge the sub adult male lion. He did unfortunately succumb to his injuries but here is a short clip of his bravery.
The main channel flowing past the camp is a permanent waterway all year round. This allows for boating excursions and some awesome day trips, or afternoon sundowner cruises can be enjoyed. I am fishing mad (of course on a catch and release basis) so what a fantastic idea to spend the afternoon trying our luck for the elusive tigerfish and bream that inhabit these waters. We had some success, and finished the afternoon with an amazing sunset, truly content in one of my favorite places on earth.
The last morning of this magical safari trip we were greeted with a magnificent sunrise mixed with a ghostly layer of mist over the floodplains. I think the image above describes a fitting way to end off our stay in such a magical, yet intense and soulful piece of Africa.
Bags packed and ready to go, we left with fond memories of a fresh Duba Plains that we will most definitely return to.
Written and Photographed by Chris Renshaw.