The Luxury Camp That's Changing the Safari Game

Great Plains Conservation

Botswana’s renovated Duba Plains Camp has evolved into more than just a place for game drives.

Safari camps are not exactly set up for old-fashioned relaxation. Consider the typical daily itinerary: 5:30 a.m. wake up; 6 a.m. game drive; 9:30 a.m. bush breakfast; 1 p.m. lunch; 4 p.m. tea; 4:30 p.m. game drive; 6:30 p.m. sundowner; 8 p.m. dinner. Then repeat that day after day, often at multiple lodges. When is there time to simply lie on your tent’s outdoor daybed?

Great Plains Conservation’s Duba Plains Camp (tents from $1,410), above, which reopened in March in Botswana’s Okavango Delta after a complete overhaul, offers plenty of game viewing. But like its sister property, Zarafa Camp (tents from $1,410), it’s turned the safari experience into more of a... vacation.

Duba stands apart from other African camps for several reasons. First, the five tents, outfitted in 1920s style, are quite big, at 1,290 square feet (more than twice the room size at Ian Schrager’s new Public Hotel in Manhattan). Each has an outdoor deck with a large plunge pool and—an African tent rarity—a Spinning bike. Yoga mats and weights in each tent are a plus. More standard are the in-tent massages. In the communal mess tent there are a wine cellar, a library, a media room, and a fire pit.


Courtesy Great Plains Conservation

Then there are the activities. Guests can borrow professional Canon photo equipment to enhance their wildlife drives; at camp, there’s an iMac with picture-editing software. A kitchen offers cooking lessons.

Is calling Duba Plains a bush resort a stretch? Maybe. But a case can be made for tacking on an extra day or two or even three at Duba to give yourself time to use those alfresco showers, brass bathtubs, and, of course, the outdoor daybed.