It was March 2010, and we were on the move from Dumatau, our wilderness camp on the Savute Channel. Our next stop was Duba Plains in the Okavango. We took a helicopter out of the camp and to Selinda Airstrip and then it was a 40-minute plane flight to Omdop Airstrip in the Kwedi Concession.
As we were flying over the landscape, I noticed more and more water. Then as we neared Duba Plains, I saw that all the roads were flooded. How on Earth were we to get around, I thought. I was soon to find out.
Having landed, we climbed on a safari vehicle and headed towards the lodge. We were greeted with big smiles and shown to our room. Soon afterwards we were piled back onto the safari vehicle for a game drive. It was then that I found out that Land Rovers have amphibious qualities.
Having crossed a bridge and causeway over the water, we started to plow along the roads, through water up to the doors and into the vehicle. Keep your bags and cameras off the floor, said Spike, our guide, or they will get wet. And that was how we drove around large swaths of the Kwedi Concession – up to the axles in water. What fun.
Spike told us that the water was high, but it gets a lot higher as the floods come down. The Okavango has an unusual flooding season. During the rains, November-March, the landscape floods with local rain. Later, though, the Kavango River brings all the rainwater from Angola through a strip of Nambia and then into the Okavango. That water does not arrive until May-August. And that is when the Okavango really floods.
Much of the Okavango is within the Moremi Game Reserve, but surrounding the reserve there are many private concessions, which are leased out to companies offering up-market safaris. Kwedi is one such concession on lease to Wilderness Safaris. We were staying at Duba Plains. There are two more lodges in Kwedi – Vumbura Plains and Little Vumbura Camp.
Duba Plains Camp has 6 tented rooms. It always makes me smile when companies call these camps “tented,” because the rooms are so far removed from being tents. The only allowance for being a tent is that the walls and roofs are canvas. The rooms at Duba are large with ensuite bathrooms and a veranda outside. All of them are perched on decks off the ground and all with views overlooking the water and the plains in front.
The main area was a combination of inside and outside rooms – a lounge, a bar, a pool deck, a dining deck, and a fireside evening sit-around-spot.
Our time at Duba Plains was spent touring the region, watching the animals and birds, enjoying sunsets along with sundowners, and swapping stories with Spike and guests at the lodge. It was two days packed with game viewing, starting at 5:00 am – well worth the early rise.