Guests per Safari Vehicle
For more than 30 years, Jack’s Camp has been an icon of African safaris, pioneering under-canvas luxury on the fringes of Botswana’s ethereal Makgadikgadi Pans. This year the adventurous spirit of Jack Bousfield ventures into new territory, with the early June opening of Duke’s Camp in the magical wilderness of the northern Okavango Delta. While Jack’s has long taken its cue from the desert, Duke’s Camp draws its inspiration from the crystal-clear channels of the Okavango Delta, which wind sinuously around this permanent camp.
Duke’s Camp offers twelve canvas safari suites, each one carefully positioned to offer unforgettable views of the Okavango Delta. The tents are on raised wooden decks and sit elegantly amongst leadwood and ebony trees.
Taking their cue from the style and panache of the original Jack’s Camp, the guest tents at Duke’s Camp revel in the much-loved vintage safari aesthetic of plush fabrics, Persian rugs and hand-carved four-poster beds. Think mahogany sideboards filled with African memorabilia; richly-patterned kilims atop wooden floors and a butler tray decked with a steaming pot of filter coffee come morning. It’s a seamless blend of yesteryear charm, safari savoir-faire and deep respect for the surrounding natural ecosystems.
Each tent offers a spacious en-suite bathroom, bedecked with brass fittings and bespoke amenities, as well as a private viewing deck. Here leather campaign chairs offer a space for quiet reflection on your time in the wilderness, and the opportunity for spontaneous game sightings. Herds of elephant and red lechwe are common here, and moments spent in quiet observation rarely go unrewarded.
Meals are enjoyed under the shade of the giant leadwood trees or in the communal dining tent, where the long vintage dining table dominates the space. Guests gather to trade tales of their days in the wilderness or admire the cabinets of curiosities filled with Africana and collectables gathered by the Bousfield family through generations of African travel.
Meals are a lavish affair of crystal glasses and antique silverware, with three-course dinners that celebrate the rich Jack’s Camp tradition of honouring guests with fine food and wine in the African bush. Beside the flickering lanterns you’ll find, of course, pots of the Bousfield’s legendary hot chilli relish. At day’s end, gather by the firepit to watch the mopane wood smoke curl up into the southern skies, hinting at tomorrow’s promise of yet more African adventure.
The largest inland delta in the world, the Okavango Delta is the most unexpected wonder – water present in a desert. The broad Okavango River sinks into the dry sands of the Kalahari Desert, creating a lush and waterlogged oasis with crystal clear lagoons and channels, reeded islands and fertile floodplains. Dubbed “the river that never finds the sea”, this magical oasis spreads over more than 15 500 km² (almost 6 000 square miles) and yet is so fragile that, if it were denied water for even a decade, it would revert to a semi-desert.
This breath-taking environment constantly adapts and changes with the ebb and flow of the floodwaters that seasonally inundate large portions of the Delta. Although dry for two-thirds of the year, during the winter months the rising floodwaters create a maze of marshes, small wooded islands and shallow lagoons. Water lilies and other aquatic plants flourish in the shallow water, while water birds inhabit the banks of papyrus. As relatively little water can be found elsewhere during this time, the wildlife is drawn to the clear waters of the Delta.
On the edges of the Delta, where land blurs with water, breeding herds of elephant splash gently through shallow channels, the long necks of a family of giraffe materialise slowly out of the Delta skyline and graceful sitatunga antelope hide in the reeds. It is a place where you can wonder at the antics of wild dog in the morning and cast a line for tiger fish in the afternoon, wake in the dappled shade of a forest and enjoy dinner beneath the boughs of a massive baobab at full moon.
Beautiful little reed frogs cling to the water grasses and a variety of incredible bird species make their appearance, from jewelled kingfishers and bee-eaters to ponderous herons and cranes and solemn-looking owls. Red lechwe scamper through the shallows and wild cat, serval and pangolin can be spotted at night, when the moon reflects off the backs of a family of hippo coming out of the water to graze, turning them into slabs of shining silver.
The Okavango Delta is home to a large number of species, including some that are specially adapted to the semi-aquatic lifestyle, like the elegant red lechwe and shy sitatunga antelope. Lion prides, cheetah, leopard and African wild dog may be encountered, while hippo resides in deeper channels and lagoons. Honey badgers are observed during daylight hours. Roan and sable antelope favour taller grass in open woodlands and families of dwarf and banded mongoose occupy large termite mounds.
Graceful giraffe, with their impossibly long necks, and herds of zebra can be encountered on the floodplains. Lion, as well as other predators, can also be found in the area, particularly in the drier areas. Although predominantly nocturnal and difficult to spot, leopard occurs in the dense forest are the water’s edge. The sparkling channels teem with a variety of fish, while hundreds of bird species, frogs and insects inhabit the reeded banks.
Duke's Camp has no Wi-Fi or Cellphone Signal
8 Canvas Tents
1 Family Tent (2 Bedroom Suite)
*Coming soon in 2024 - Jack's Villa
*NB During low water season from October – January, mokoro and boating may be limited as these activities are always subject to water levels.
**At an additional charge
6+ welcome on game drives
Okavango Delta Botswana, Maun, Botswana