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Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp
Duke’s Camp

Duke’s Camp: Our full report

Summer 2022 saw the opening of the elegant Duke's Camp in the north-west of Botswana's Okavango Delta.

Set at the foot of the Panhandle on the private Kgao Island, it lies on the shores of a permanent lagoon within a vast 89,000-hectare concession that reaches as far south as the Moremi Game Reserve.

Duke's – along with the smaller but near identical Duke’s East – is the fulfilment of a vision by Ralph Bousfield, creator of Jack's Camp on the wide open Makgadikgadi Salt Pans. Boasting a similarly eclectic yet luxurious approach, it also benefits from the exacting standards of guiding and service for which Ralph’s teams are known.

The camp's namesake is Sarefo “Duke” Sarefo, born and bred on the island which now belongs to him, and with a long heritage of traditional fishing in the Okavango. It's that tradition that has kept the land pristine.

With its 8 tented chalets raised on wooden decks and nestled among mature ebony and leadwood trees, Duke's aims to blend into the landscape. Whether in doubles, twins or the family tent – two en-suite rooms with a lounge in between – guests will find rooms redolent of old-style safaris with many a quirky twist.

Not for Duke's the standard tent linings; here you'll be almost enveloped in patterned drapery that sets the scene for mahogany furniture, raised four-poster beds allowing a vantage point during your afternoon siesta. Persian rugs on polished floors and brass fittings in the en-suite bathroom continue the theme, while on each private deck you'll find both leather directors' chairs and a chaise-longue from which to scan the plains in front for wildlife.

The same style permeates the main area, where you can cosy down at low tables in the tea tent, or relax in the more traditional lounge with a view out onto the channel and the plains beyond. In keeping with safari tradition, meals are served at one long table, either outside under the trees or in the dining area. Either way, polished crystal and antique cutlery are the order of the day; dining is taken seriously here.

Wildlife watching can continue around the pool, while as night falls the firepit comes into its own to chat over the day's adventures. On our recent visit in January 2024, we particularly enjoyed seeing a pair of Pel’s fishing owls roost within the camp’s African ebony (jackalberry) trees.

Duke’s sister property, Dukes East, a five-minute drive away, is a smaller yet otherwise almost identical twin camp, ideal for groups or individual travellers. With 4 tented chalets, including a large family tent with its own private plunge pool and Evening Breeze cooling systems. The two camps are run independently of each other but the guide teams work together, which comes in handy when tracking fast-paced wild dogs or that elusive leopard!

Both camps have a low fence designed to restrict hippo and elephant movement within the camp. Guests are, however, escorted to their rooms after dark, which is typical of most camps in the region.

During the daytime, adventures are plenty. Game drives top the list of activities, exploring this exceptional wilderness area in 4WD vehicles in search of wildlife that ranges from sitatunga and elephant to lion, leopard and wild dog – and bird species in the hundreds.

We had an incredible first game drive when we saw three leopard, including a cub that was no more than six weeks old. Other sightings of note were a pair of large male lions and a pack of 22 wild dogs making repeated hunts, flushing reedbuck in the long grass only to lose sight of them bounding over the reeds, all overlooked by an inquisitive herd of giraffe.

Water levels permitting, glide almost silently along the channels or try your hand at fishing (excluding January to March). Walking safaris are a further option. Or, at extra cost, consider a helicopter trip, either to view the surrounding area or to the Tsodilo Hills. And in case you need a little more adventure, there's the possibility of spending a night under the stars on a separate island.


Our view

We are excited about this new camp in the Okavango. A mix of romance and remoteness with a level of luxury that includes WiFi in the pool and main area only, electric lighting and excellent guiding and cuisine. All in an area well known for great game viewing.

Anton Walker

Anton Walker

Botswana expert

Geographics

Location
Okavango Delta Safari Reserves, Botswana
Ideal length of stay
3 - 4 nights.
Directions
Duke's Camp is approximately 40 minutes by light aircraft from Maun, followed by an estimated 20-minute game drive into camp. The duration of the drive depends on the wildlife you see along the way and the water levels. Duke’s East is a 5-minute drive from Duke’s Camp.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
Meals at Duke’s are usually sociable occasions around a communal table – although special requests can usually be catered for.

On our most recent stay, in January 2024, the food was tasty and fresh. The camp is able to cater for most dietary needs – vegetarian, vegan, coeliacs etc – but they must be informed well in advance.

Duke’s East offers works in a similar way and offers the same menus.

Before the morning activity, a quick cup of tea or coffee is served with muffins on a “to go” basis. Breakfast can be requested for those opting to take things a little slower.

A light breakfast is served while out on the morning game drive. This is usually quite a selection of cereals, fruit, hard-boiled eggs, freshly made muffins, tea and coffee.

We found lunch, served on return from the morning activity, to be varied and tasty. Over a couple of days, just some of the choices included a homemade chicken pie and tasty vegetarian samosas with green salad and a couscous salad. We opted out of desserts on both occasions.

Afternoon tea at Duke’s was delicious: shortbread biscuits, quiche tartlets, fruit and an irresistible coffee and walnut cake. There was also hot and iced tea and coffee on offer. It is during teatime that the evening's dinner menu will be announced by the chef, usually incorporating a choice of two or three main courses.

Dinner is usually a communal meal around one long table. We started with a spicy butternut soup accompanied by a freshly made bread roll. For our main course we opted for fillet of beef wrapped in bacon served with mashed potato and a selection of caramelised carrots, zucchini and beans. On our second night we had a deliciously warming lamb curry with rice and mixed vegetables. For desserts we opted for homemade ice cream – twice!

We were offered red or white wine with our dinner, and house spirits were also available. After dinner, drinks were served around the campfire.
Dining style
Mixture of group dining and individual tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included
Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits cost extra and may need to be requested in advance.

Guests can help themselves to tea and coffee in the main area throughout the day. You are also provided with your own personal bottle of water and encouraged to keep this topped up.

Special interests

Family holidays
As part of a family safari in Botswana, both Duke’s Camp and Duke’s East are good options, each surrounded by a low fence to restrict larger game movement, and both being oases for birds and smaller wildlife. Large family rooms and pools allow for a relaxing experience. Each camp has their own large family suite with is made up of two ensuite bedrooms and an interconnecting lounge area. The family suite at Dukes East has their own private plunge pool and because of the camps small size is ideal for exclusive use.
See ideas for Family holidays in Botswana
Honeymoons
"Elegance", "romance", "small and personable" are just some of the many descriptions of Dukes Camp. As part of the camp's honeymoon special, the spouse receives 50% off their stay. This offer is combinable with their sister properties, an extra bonus on a honeymoon trip in Botswana.
See ideas for Honeymoons in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children
Duke’s welcome children aged from 6 years.
Property’s age restrictions
No children under 6. For guests aged 6–12 on game drives, a private vehicle must be booked at extra cost.
Special activities & services
There are two family chalets, each with two en-suite bedrooms: one at Duke’s Camp, the other at Duke’s East.
Generally recommended for children
Although both camps accept children from the age of 6, they have an adult feel that is not in keeping with young children. They are also in an area where dangerous animals are free to roam, so are best suited to much older children.
Notes
Duke’s is surrounded by tracts of water with an unfenced pool and dangerous wildlife roaming through. Children must be supervised by a parent or carer at all times.

Communications

Power supply notes
Guest tents have 24hr solar-powered electricity.

Each chalet has a multi-point plug adaptor.
Communications
Duke's has WiFi access only in the main area and by the pool; there is currently no WiFi in the rooms. There is no cellphone signal in the camp.
TV & radio
No TV or radio
Water supply
Other
Water supply notes
All the tented chalets are plumbed with hot and cold running water and flushing toilets.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Yes
Medical care
The nearest doctor is in Maun. All managers and guides are first-aid trained and there is a nurse on call (via radio) 24 hours a day. Medical evacuation is available in case of emergency, but please note that it is only possible to fly out of camp during daylight hours as the bush airstrips do not have any lighting at night.

Swimming pool warning: Please be aware that the swimming pools at Duke's do not have depth markings or No Diving signs. Bathers need to be careful when entering the pool.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
Guests are escorted to their suites after dark as dangerous wildlife is known to wander through the camp. A safety briefing is given on arrival. “Foghorns” are provided in the suites to attract attention in case of emergency.
Fire safety

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Fishing

    Fishing

  • Fly-camping

    Fly-camping

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Helicopter

    Helicopter

  • Mokoro

    Mokoro

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
A complimentary laundry service is in place, with the exception of undergarments, for which washing powder is provided in each bathroom.
Money
There is a safe in each suite. No exchange facilities are offered.
Accepted payment on location
Visa and Mastercard are accepted, as are cash payments in US dollars, euros, GB sterling, South African rand and Botswana pula.

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