Amidst The Wild Prides

Posted On November 25, 2009 

Common Info

Duba Plains, famous for its lion safari,is one of the most remote wildlife camps in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Located on a low, sandy island in the Kwedi Reserve, the camp is renowned for the fierce rivalry between the lion and the wild buffalo that is found here (award-winning national geographic documentary Relentless Enemies is made on this rivalry). The Moremi Game Reserve is located adjacent to the Duba Plains in the south.

Country Info

Botswana (6,00,000 square kilometres) is located in the southern Africa and has a rich biodiversity. It comprises a large part of the Kalahari Desert that includes the magnificent wetland of the Okavango Delta and home to African wildlife. Botswana is a landlocked country and is flanked by Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is bisected by the Tropic of Capricorn. Excepting the eastern region, the rest of the country is desert land. Botswana is one of the most developed countries in the Africa. Population of Botswana stands around 19,50,000. National capital is Gaborone.


Thi Duba Plains offer an unobtrusive camp surrounded by expanses of seasonal floodplains and feature trees like ebony, sycamore fig and mangosteen. Visitors can experience a rich variety ranging from the vast floodplains and grasslands isolated by


Duba Plains are best known for their lions, the buffalos and the tremendous struggle of survival that takes place between the two. However, there are also elephants and hippos (the latter found in the deeper channels), besides blue wildebeests and Tessebe, bat-eared fox, red lechwe, wild dog, leopard (in the forest isaland) and spotted hyena that can be seen in this region. One can also get the glimpses of Aardwolfs and caracals on rare occasions. Birdlife is equally attractive. Species like Slaty Egret, Wattled Crane and Rosy-throated Longclaw are visible. In fact, most of Okavango’s famous birdlife can be found in the Duba Plains including Swamp Boubou, Hartlaub’s Babbler and Swamp Nightjar. Waterbirds like herons, lapwings and jacanas are abundantly seen during the annual floods. However, as has been saidlions in duba plains earlier, since the open grasslands here are often cut off from the mainland by deep waterways, the wildlife diversity might not be as high as in some other areas. But the lion population makes up for that.


Duba offers the rare opportunity to view several lions at a time. The lion concentration in the Duba Plains is arguably the highest in the world. It is a perfect place to closely observe the behaviour patterns of the king of the jungle. Lions are also found in the Savuti Marshes in Chobe National Park. Of the lions of Duba, Tsaro, a massive pride of the female lions often venture into the water to knock down the herds of buffalos. Also significant are the Duba Boys, two huge male lion brothers dominating the region for years, something in line with the Ghost and the Darkness.

Relentless enemies

The memorable feature of the Duba, i.e., the lion-buffalo tussle was documented in a documentary called ‘Relentless Enemies: Lions and Buffalo’ by the Joubert couples, Dereck and Beverly in 2006.

Buffalo in duba plainsBuffalo

Buffalos survive on the rich grasslands of the Duba plains and they in turn is preyed upon by the lions and the hyenas. The huge buffalo herds are hunted by the lions almost everyday and the fierce struggle during the hunting offers great photo shooting opportunities. The lion-hyena face-off over the same prey is equally enticing to follow.

Activities at the Duba Plains:
  • Watching the clashes between the mammoth buffalo herd and the prowling lions. One can track down the buffalo herds to see if there are any lions waiting nearby.
  • Walking safari to get glimpse of flora and fauna that are not seen from vehicles.
  • Viewing hyena cub in the hyena dens in the Duba plains.
  • Birding
  • Day and night game drives in the plains. Land Rovers are available in the camp.
  • Undertaking Makoro trips during floods, usually between May and September.  Makoros are canoes used to travel in shallow waters. Makoro trip is a major tourist attraction in Okavango Delta safari. Sandals and shoes are must while making the Makoro trip. However, then trips are not encouraged during floods because of the hippos which can overturn the canoes. Water activities are best suited in the months between April to September.
  • Going for a walking trip in Kalahari. Here again, light walking shoes are essential to keep off the thorn and the overwhelmingly hot sand
AccommodationDuba Plains Accommodation

Accommodation at Duba Plains Camp consists of six tents which give panoramic vistas of the Okavango Delta floodplains. There are Thatched lounge, dining and bar areas that have been raised along the pool on wooden platforms for more breathtaking views.

Reaching the Duba Plains

The plains are only accessible by airway. The Omdop airstrip is just 5 minutes’ drive from camp. Heavy aircrafts however can not use this airstrip. There is also Vumbura airstrip which is approximately an hour’s drive from the Duba Plains Camp. It is unusable from May to September when water levels are high.

Time to visit the Duba Plains

The plains are open throughout the year. However, the time from July till October is the best time to visit the plains. October is extremely hot in these parts. The shoulder season extends from November to December.

Suggested daily activity routine while staying at Duba (for both summer and winter seasons):

5-6 am – Wake up and have a light breakfast with cereals, tea/coffee/juices and pastries.

5:30-6:30 am – Start with the morning activities that can include walking safari, return to camp at around 10:00.

10:00-11:00 am – Time to relax. You can have light food, preferable called a brunch

16:00-17:00 pm– Afternoon tea

17:00 pm – Depart for afternoon game viewing activity

19:30-20:00 pm – Return to camp after dark and prepare for a night drive (this time can be postponed)

20:00-20:30 pm – Time for pre-dinner drinks and snacks

21:00-21:30 pm – 3-course dinner

22:00 pm: Campfire

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