Bushman Plains Camp is Botswana’s first Bushman-owned Safari Camp, and is set in an extensive concessions in the north-west Okavango Delta. The Camp is located within a 370,000 acre wilderness concession which includes a prime wildlife area where only one other camp operates, making this arguably Botswana’s most exclusive safari area. As there are permanent water channels, guests can enjoy a wide mix of land and water-based safari activities. These high quality wildlife experiences are made richer by, arguably, the best opportunity for cultural engagement in the Okavango region.
Bushman Plains is an authentic mobile camp, with the ability to move between spectacular and exclusive areas within the private concession. This unique arrangements allows guests to be able to enjoy the best locations for wildlife viewing, in the true tradition of the Bushman culture. The Camp is not moved during the guest’s stay.
This is one of Botswana’s smallest and most intimated Camps – with only four tents. The accommodation is in a truly classic style and uses large Meru tents. Each tent measures 8 meters x 4 meters, and features comfortable beds with high-quality linens and duvets. There is also a dressing area complete with a wardrobe and a sink with running water, plus separate, private shower and toilet areas. Showers are classical bucket setup. Staff hoist a bucket of heated water, which is then delivered through a normal shower head in the privacy of your own tent. A solar inverter system provides electricity for tent lighting and battery charging. Each tent is tucked under a towering island forest with wonderful views of open flood plains.
The central area of the camp houses a mess tent and veranda for relaxing and to enjoy watching the local wildlife. Central to Bushman culture is the campfire area where the staff share ancient stories, and tales from today, under the night sky. The camp chefs produce delicious meals that, although predominantly western in style, use the best of local ingredients. There are also options to include traditional fare if you desire.
Activities are varied and the Camp includes Game drives which include off road driving. This allows for close-up viewing of the plentiful wildlife. These drives do not have to be confined to staying in the vehicle – as the guides are also able to share with you their phenomenal tracking skills. You can take to foot along with your guide/tracker team to follow fresh tracks and see where they lead (returning to the vehicle once close to predators as guest safety is always paramount).
Night drives offer excellent opportunities to see the nocturnally active species. With the use of red-filtered spotlights to minimize disturbance, you get to enjoy the night in a unique way.
Walking safaris are also available to focus on the small secrets of the bush. Your guides will be able to teach you about spoor (tracks), scat, and other fascinating natural signs. In addition, you will also learn about medicinal plants and the legendary Bushman survival skills.
The permanent water channels, allow for year-round mokoro excursions. This most traditional means of transportation in the Okavango allows you to experience the environment in a unique way.
This part of the Delta is known for predator viewing, and in particular African wild dogs and lions. The Ash Pack of wild dogs (20+ individuals) has denned in the area since 2011. A second group, the Golden Pack, used to den in the area and are still regular visitors.
There are also 2 lion prides, elephant numbers can be huge, and the seldom-sighted sable antelope is a common visitor. Even during the green season months of November through March there are big numbers of buffalo and elephant.
Birding is excellent, with the endangered wattled crane and the highly sought Pel’s fishing owl being high on the list of sightings.
At Bushman Plains you can enjoy the Okavango’s premier cultural experience, as Bushmen from Gudigwa Village visit to proudly share their culture. Storytelling, music and dancing have always been central to the culture of these first people.
Additional activities include seasonal Hot air ballooning over the Okavango (available from April to September). Each balloon ride is limited to 4 people for an intimate experience and must be booked in advance. It is also at an additional cost.
From Bushman Plains you also have the wonderful option of a Visit to Tsodilo Hills UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is done by helicopter, and is at an additional cost. The Bushmen believe that people were created at the Tsodilo Hills, and thus this is a one-of-a-kind expedition to complete your Bushman cultural experience.
Tsodilo Hills is home to an estimated 4,500 rock art paintings, some of which date back as much as 24,000 years. This fascinating excursion begins with a helicopter landing on the Bushman Plains. You then enjoy the exceptional scenic views crossing this section of the Okavango Delta, before arriving to the Tsodilo Hills. Here you are met by a vehicle and your San (Bushman) guide, who shares the treasures of this magical place with you - bringing the unique Bushman point of view as you hike amongst some of the best of the 400+ rock art sites available. Cold drinks and a picnic lunch are included, before you helicopter back to camp. The entire excursion takes between 4 to 5 hours, and is likely to be a highlight of your Safari.