Personal travel advisor, Lauren Barnard, embarked on an epic few days of discovery in Botswana during the month of November 2022. She visited a few of our favorite properties in Chobe National Park, Khwai Private Reserve, and the world-renowned Okavango Delta. She was lucky enough to visit Duke’s Camp while on her travels and is pleased to share her personal feedback on this luxurious new addition to the Delta.
Access to camp is via a light aircraft flight which is an experience in itself. The views were just incredible! From the landing strip, it is a 45 minute game drive transfer to camp. I was welcomed by Camp Manager, Tatenda, whose warmth and hospitality is second to none. Entrance into camp is through a forest of tall Jackalberry trees and from there one of the staff members awaits to assist with a small hand washing station with a huge copper jug and canvas basin. I was treated to a homemade welcome drink and due to my late arrival, was also fed delicious sandwiches. Tatenda provided a full orientation.
The main camp area is an ode to old world safari charm with antique furniture and ornate finishings. There is also a suspended chaise lounge that is perfect for reading a book while overlooking the delta channel. The camp is located right on the water’s edge and is as close to nature as you can get. They did not remove or cut down any trees and the space blends in seamlessly with its surroundings. All the walkways are sand and quite rustic.
There is a refreshing plunge pool to cool yourself off when returning from the morning game drive and especially great during the hot summer months. I was informed that the pool will be upgraded to a larger pool and that there will also be a new relaxation deck constructed for guests to enjoy.
The camp currently comprises 8 tented suites dotted along the channel. I was accommodated in a double tent. All doubles are actually queen size beds and then twin tents consist of 2 x 3/4 beds (these can’t be converted into doubles). The butler spoils with a morning wake-up call coffee with homemade biscuits.
Catering for clients wanting a more authentic and traditional safari with a sense of bygone sophistication, the high tea is a special event. I thoroughly enjoyed a delicious variety of treats and snacks. It was incredible! Dinner is a group setting which was beautifully presented under the Jackalberry trees in front of the main camp. We enjoyed a delicious 3-course meal comprising soup, lamb and a delectable panna cotta dessert.
A point to note is that there is no Wi-Fi in camp, which allows you to really disconnect from the outside world.
Twice daily scheduled game drives are included in your stay. Although the camp is not located in a private concession, the vastness of space ensures minimal vehicles at wildlife sightings. Sundowners during the afternoon game drive are very special and the staff will confirm your drink of choice before departing. There was a table with a selection of dried fruit, biltong and nuts and an old-school travel box, which is quite unique.
The unique and iconic game activity of year-round mokoro canoes is offered directly in front of the camp. This is provided by the local villagers, and they are incredibly knowledgeable and talented. I was led by Kenneth who serenaded me with local songs as we glided along the waterways.
Motorized boat excursions are also offered but only from May to September when the channels are at their fullest. This will also be a highlight as the boats allow you to explore more areas and see more game as they come to the channels to drink.
While on 1 game drive and 1 nature walk, I saw 16 new bird species, a hippo, elephant, buffalo, tsessebe and 2 wildlife highlights of a lion drinking at the waterhole during dinner and a hyena den with pups. There are no rhinos in this part of the Delta.
Special thanks go to guide Chabba, who has been part of the company for 17 years. He has an incredible presence and knowledge of the entire history of the company and the region. He really took the time to educate me on the various parts of the Delta. He is an incredible asset!
Get in touch with me if you’d like to add this incredible property to your next Africa itinerary!
See you out there.