Journey with Giants
Our journey began with a private flight from the Sabi Sands in South Africa to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, flying high above the stunning African landscapes on a PC 12. The views from the window were breathtaking, and I couldn’t wait for the next step of the journey: a helicopter ride to Duba Explorers Camp, a treat which I was keeping a surprise from the group.
As we landed in Botswana, we were greeted by friendly staff who escorted us to the helicopter for the final leg of the journey. Arriving at our private tented camp via helicopter was a breathtaking and surprising experience. The roar of the engines and the rush of the wind filled our senses as we gazed down at the vast landscape below. The ride over the Okavango Delta was nothing short of magical, as we took in the lush green landscapes dotted with wildlife and the occasional herd of elephants. As we descended, the breathtaking beauty of the African wilderness came into view, with savanna grasslands and Makalani palm trees as far as the eye could see. The sudden realisation that we were in for a truly unique and unforgettable experience set in, and we couldn’t wait to touch down. It was a thrilling start to our adventure, and the helicopter arrival added an extra element of excitement and luxury to our journey. We felt like royalty, transported to this remote and beautiful corner of the world in the most unexpected of ways.
Upon landing, we were warmly greeted by the staff and shown around the main camp before being led to our luxurious tents. The rustic tents are a true celebration of nature and simplicity. They embody the spirit of adventure, with their rough-hewn canvas exteriors and simple furnishings. Yet, they are far from basic, offering all the creature comforts you could desire. The interiors are cozy and inviting, with soft lighting and natural materials creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The beauty of the rustic tents lies in their connection to the environment. Large canvas windows and private verandas offer breathtaking views of the surrounding wilderness, allowing explorers to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.
Going on a game drive at Duba with guide Reuben is a no-nonsense, straight-up African wildlife adventure. This place is raw, untamed, and unspoiled, and you’re going to see some of the most photogenic landscapes around. As soon as we set out, we were surrounded by the rugged beauty of the Okavango Delta and its inhabitants. The first thing we saw was a sea of stripes, as zebra and wildebeest roamed the open plains. These magnificent animals are a sight to behold.
And then, just when you think it can’t get any better, we caught sight of a flash of vibrant colour as a group of carmine bee-eaters took flight. These birds are a feast for the eyes, and they’ll put on a show that we will never forget.
As we moved closer to the water, we spotted the king of the delta – the hippo. A massive creature lounging in a pool, and he was not shy. Giving us a good look, and a feeling for just how powerful they are. Reuben, is a seasoned pro, knows the delta like the back of his hand, and he’ll took us to the best spots to see the most wildlife. He’s got a passion for the bush that’s contagious, and you’ll find yourself fully invested in the experience before you know it through his smile and laughter.
On our first evening drive as the sun slowly dipped below the horizon, the sky was set ablaze with hues of orange and red. We found ourselves at a drinks stop, gin and tonic in hand, ready to take in the mesmerising scene that unfolded before us. The vast savanna was dotted with a huge herd of giraffes, their long necks reaching towards the sky. It was our first encounter with these majestic creatures and it left us in awe. The intoxicating scene, combined with the red sand in the sky, created a visual feast that will forever be etched in our memories. We toasted to the journey, and to the beauty that surrounded us, feeling grateful for this moment of serenity amidst the wild and untamed wilderness.
An ode to the giraffe :
Giraffes Galore! At Duba Plains we pause,
With Gin and Tonic in hand, what a cause!
The sun sets, painting the sky a fiery red,
A sight to behold, truly, it’s not to be said.
Our first giraffe encounter, what a thrill,
On a journey so grand, a moment so still.
Intoxicating scene, all senses ignited,
A memory to cherish, forever in sight.
Sharing the sunset with towering necks so tall,
This is living, this is adventure, have it all.
The red sand in the sky, a perfect blend,
Of nature’s beauty and a journey well-spent.
That night, on returning to the camp we settled in around the campfire and took in the magic of the African bush. The stars were like a candelabra in the sky, shining down on us as we took turns flipping our own steaks over the open flame. Some were feeling adventurous, and decided to try out some game meat. The flavours were bold and savoury, and the group savoured every bite. But it wasn’t just the meat that made the evening a delight. The vegetables that were served up were a thing of beauty. They were fresh and full of flavour, and they complemented the meats perfectly. As we sat around the fire, taking in the beauty of the bush and the taste of the wild, we were reminded of why we love Africa so much. There’s something about this place that gets under your skin and stays with you forever.
Ah, the sounds and scents of Africa, there’s nothing quite like it. Waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the sounds of the bush, it’s a feeling like no other. I stepped out of my luxurious tent, surrounded by mature trees, and knew that this day was going to be an adventure. And let me tell you, what an adventure it was. We hit the ground running, no time for dillydallying. We spotted magnificent creatures – elephants, sable, tsessebe, a clan of hyena, large herds of buffalo, warthogs, and even tracked a leopard. The tracks were so fresh, they crossed right behind us, and then the real excitement began. A herd of elephants charged out of the bush, chasing that leopard into the thick reeds. Gone, just like that. That’s the thrill of the wild.
But it’s not just about the sightings, it’s about being fully present and ready for anything. You gotta have your eyes peeled and ears open, fully immersed in the experience. And that’s exactly what we did. We were witness to the power of nature, the raw strength of these incredible beasts. That’s what it’s all about, feeling alive, experiencing the beauty and unpredictability of the wild! The unpredictability is what makes it all the more exciting, the thrill of the chase, the anticipation. You can track a leopard all day, but there’s no guarantee you’ll see it. It’s about the journey, the memories made along the way. And what a journey it was, seeing plenty of wildlife, feeling the rush of tracking a big cat, and being humbled by the beauty and power of nature.
The storm clouds rolling in, casting the sky into shades of gray, a scene straight out of a movie. But the fishing team, we were not deterred, up against the sideways rain we head out into the rolling grasslands of the Duba Plains, rod in hand, ready to take on the challenge from our aluminium fishing boat. Stoked with beverages and soaked with the smell of fresh rain we started to try our luck. Fishing with termites in Botswana is a traditional fishing method where anglers use termites as bait to catch various fish species in the rivers and lakes. Termites are commonly found in the region and are a popular food source for many fish species such as tilapia, catfish, and tigerfish. The method involves gathering a handful of termites and using them as bait on a hook. We then cast our lines into the water and waited for a bite. And bites we got, b y the end of our session we had successful caught 3 tilapia. This method of fishing provides a unique and authentic experience. The use of termites as bait also helps to minimise the impact on the environment as it is a natural and readily available food source for the fish. But the real beauty of this experience lies in the surroundings. The sound of the rain mixing with the bird calls and rustling of the grass, it’s a symphony of the wild.
And as the storm began to subside, the fishing team retire to join the game drive, sharing stories and laughter over a drinks stop. We were fortunate enough to spot an aardwolf, a nocturnal animal known for its distinctive striped coat and distinctive long snout. It’s not often that you see an aardwolf in the wild, and we were privileged to witness this incredible creature in its natural habitat.
As we made our way back to camp, crossing the bridge, our eyes were treated to a magnificent sight. There, perched on a tree branch, was a Pel’s Fishing Owl. With its distinctive brown and white feathers, sharp talons, and piercing yellow eyes, this bird is truly a sight to behold. This majestic creature is known for its fishing skills, diving into the water to catch fish with remarkable precision. Watching it hunt was a truly awe-inspiring experience. It was a perfect end to an already unforgettable day, and a reminder that even when you think you’ve seen it all, nature always has one more amazing surprise in store.