Most of Wilderness Safaris' guests come from developed countries and have travelled extensively, often staying in the best hotels. The vast majority of our guests do not want a conventional hotel room out in the bush when they come on an African safari. What we try to do is to provide the atmosphere of Africa, as it was 100 or 200 years ago, but still offer comfort. It is a very delicate juggling act to get this balance right. We provide our guests with many of the comforts of a hotel room ~ but when our guests lie in bed at night we want them to feel the pulse of wild Africa. When Lions roar, they must hear the roars, but they must also be safe! Experiencing this wildness in a brick building is nigh impossible. So most of our camps are tented or are under thatch with canvas walls. These rooms offer a safe sanctuary, but have atmosphere.
The design of our rooms is such that our guests experience every comfort. Each camp's interiors have been tastefully designed. We supply large deluxe beds, fresh linen, towels, face cloths, good lighting (though this is often 12 volts). Even all the soaps and shampoos are supplied. We always have en suite bathrooms with flush toilets. Some camps even have an additional and optional outdoor shower or bath "under the stars" to get you even closer to nature if that's what you enjoy. The camps are sprayed on a regular basis with an enviro~friendly pyrethroid chemical that is effective against mosquitoes and malaria. We have a remarkably good record in this regard.
Safaris that include Camping
A few of our safaris include some fully serviced camping, such as our "4 paw" safaris like the Jacana Safari in Botswana or Rhino Safari in Zimbabwe. This allows guests to experience Africa in a very traditional way, affording guests a true "out of Africa" experience. The mosquito-proof tents are large, and furnishings are basic but comfortable, and meals are served in a dining tent. Each tent has its own private chemical toilet and hot bush shower.
On our participation safaris, like the Mopane Safari in Botswana, guests are accommodated in smaller igloo tents, which are furnished with 4-inch foam mattresses. Guests must supply their own sleeping bags (or hire then from us) and meals, which guests help prepare, are taken around the campfire. Ablution facilities are normally shared pit latrines and bush bucket showers, with hot water normally always available. These participatory safaris allow participants to feel as close to nature as possible, and experience all that Africa has to offer on an affordable basis. They are geared for the true adventurer!
Size of our Camps and Safaris
All our camps are small. Our smallest comprises four rooms and our largest, ten rooms. Most are between four and eight rooms, so that guests enjoy great exclusivity and personal attention. The small size of the camps also ensures that we minimise our impact on the area.
Our safaris may take a minimum of two people, and a maximum of eight to twelve. The safaris that include a vehicle component are normally limited to eight guests in total. Our fly-in safaris can sometimes take ten or twelve, depending on the size of the camps and the aircraft used.
We do not build walls or put up electric fences around our camps, nor are the campsites we use on some safaris fenced. Animals do sometimes wander through the camps. Please listen to your guide's instructions to ensure you are safe. There has never been a guest injured in any way in a tented camp or campsite who has obeyed the rules. Keep your tent door or flaps closed and you will be safe. We provide flashlights in all camps, but some of the camping safaris require that guests bring their own.
The camps must be eco~friendly. We employ full time ecologists whose job is to ensure that our camps are as eco~friendly as possible. Their focus is to work with the park or reserve authorities and with our camp managers to make sure that we "tread" as gently as possible.
How We Supply Power in our Camps
Solar panels for hot water Most camps have no access to regular electrical power as we are in such remote locations. The camps may have a generator on site that produces 220V electricity, or they may use solar panels. We don't want to have the sounds of a generator in camp, so the generators are silenced as much as possible - and they run for only three or four hours in the morning and the same again in the afternoon when guests are out on activities. The electricity created is used to power ice machines, deep freezers and fridges (with special "hold over plates" which are able to keep food and drinks cold all day). The generator also has to charge up the batteries that store the power for the bedroom lights and for the fans above the beds. There is ample electricity for charging batteries for video cameras direct from the generator (when you are out on game drives) - but not for hairdryers and air conditioning.
In our mobile-tented camps on three paw (and some nights on four paw safaris), there will be no electricity, and lighting will be by paraffin lamps and campfires - the traditional African experience!
In the vast majority of our camps, we do not burn firewood to heat the water in your showers or baths. Instead, we heat the water with the sun's rays by means of solar panels. The only firewood we burn is the small amount needed for the evening's campfire! Dead wood should be left out in the veld so that it can be recycled naturally to ensure that nutrients are returned to the soil.
All Inclusive Rates in our Camps
The next ingredient of the Wilderness "recipe" is that we try to be as all-inclusive as possible in our camps and on our safaris. All the camps and safaris listed have all the core activities included in the cost, and many include drinks and laundry as well. Optional excursions such as hot air ballooning, helicopter flights and scuba are naturally excluded. However, all the main activities, such as park fees, game drives, game walks, mekoros, boating and meals (with the exception of city centres such as Victoria Falls and Windhoek), are included. Most camps and some safaris even include local drinks, mineral water, beers and wines! As a general rule, the Botswana and Zimbabwe camps and four paw safaris, as well as that of the Skeleton Coast, include all local drinks, mineral water, wines and beers. In Namibia, all wine at dinner and all soft drinks on game drives in our own camps are included, but not included in hotels and lodges owned by others. As the tariffs in our Malawi and South African camps are low, we unfortunately have to charge for drinks. Please consult your itinerary for the exact details of what is included and excluded.
The Camp Owners
We own very few of our camps. Superb partners who share our vision and ideals own many of the camps in the Wilderness Safaris portfolio. These partners have meaningful stakes in the camps and are therefore focused on delivering a superb experience, as well as contributing their own characters and personalities to the camp atmosphere. To give you an idea of who owns what camps, we have included a profile of the owners on most camp description pages in this website. Where there is no profile or photo, Wilderness Safaris owns the camp.
We pride ourselves in the dedication, experience and enthusiasm of our guides. From top management to camp staff, we are committed to ensuring that everything is done to make each safari a memorable experience. Our professionalism has attracted guides who are serious about a career in wildlife and are very experienced in their region of operation. They are all excellent naturalists, keen conservationists, and quite a few are accomplished photographers. For more information and pictures on each guide, please visit our Guides page.
Dining at Duba Plains In Camps and Lodges
This varies from country to country and is dependent on what we can buy in that country. Generally, we are not a "nouvelle cuisine" safari company. We prefer to opt for good, wholesome home style cooking at elegantly set dining tables (sometimes under the stars, sometimes under thatch or canvas) where guests can discuss and debate the day's events with their guides. The meal times are geared around the best game viewing times, and the activities specific to a particular camp. In game viewing areas, for instance, we don't come back into camp at 8am just to have breakfast. We would rather be out in the field enjoying the fauna and flora when the viewing is at its best. Our meal times take this into account. In these camps, we abandon the traditional three meals a day routine. We start off at first light with a very quick continental breakfast of juices, tea or coffee plus a quick bowl of cereal or toast - and then we are off in the vehicles. We usually return at approximately 10 or 11am for a large brunch…literally, a combination of breakfast and lunch. Light snacks and tea / coffee / juices would be provided before the start of the afternoon game drive which would be followed by a return to camp for a hearty dinner. We can cater for vegetarians, but please warn us when making your reservation so that we can be fully prepared.
Meals on Camping Safaris On Cross Country Safaris
On cross country safaris, refrigerators or cooler boxes are on the vehicles and fresh food is enjoyed each day. Most meals on safari are included, the exception being any lunches or dinners in bigger towns such as Victoria Falls or in Windhoek, where there are a variety of restaurant choices. Please refer to the individual itineraries for exact details. There is no additional food kitty to be collected on arrival. On accommodated safaris (5 Paw), the lodges take care of all the meals. On first class camping safaris (4 Paw), our staff handle all the cooking and the camp chores. Meals on these safaris are normally three course, and wine is included with dinner. On participation camping safaris (3 Paw), meals are often prepared on an open fire under the stars and the group normally prepares their own meals on a roster system basis. However, the guide purchases all supplies in advance and normally offers suggestions regarding daily menus.
Drinks policies can vary in the lodges from country to country and safari to safari.
Our camps and lodges in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia include all drinks with the exception of premium wines, champagnes, spirits and liqueurs. The lodges in Namibia include drinks on game or nature activities, and house wine at dinner, but all other drinks are excluded. Our Malawi and South African lodges do not include any drinks as the price is low. On the safaris, drinks are included (with the exception of premium wines, champagnes, spirits and liqueurs) on the following safaris: Best of Southern Africa Fly-In, Mana Canoe Trail, Rhino Safari, Jacana Safari, Skeleton Coast and Okavango & Linyanti Adventure. On the Best of Namibia Wings Safari, drinks on game or nature drives and house wine at dinner are included. On the Mopane, Suricate and Toktokkie safaris, no drinks are included in the cost of the safari.
Game Viewing at Duba Plains
In Camps and Lodges
We use open 4x4 Land Rovers almost exclusively in our camps. As we generally operate on private concessions, most of our camps have open vehicles. For those who have travelled in East Africa before, please don't come expecting a closed vehicle. The local conditions in Southern Africa are much more suited to open vehicles, and the all-round visibility is, therefore, so much better. The only game drive exception is Etosha where, by law, we have to have a canvas roof on our vehicles. Here we use 4x4 Nissans. All our game viewing camp vehicles have a similar layout. We normally have three rows of seats on a vehicle, plus seats for the driver and front passenger. Each of the three rows usually has three seats, so in theory we can seat 11 people including the driver. However, we restrict the number on a vehicle to 6 or 7 guests plus your guide. The only exception is in our 8-bedded camps where we may have 8 on a vehicle.
All our tailor-made safaris are sold on a "shared vehicle" basis. However, many of our guests have a special interest, be it photography or birding, or perhaps they just want to be on their own so that they can dictate the pace without worrying about the interests of another. Private vehicles and guides can be arranged, but at an extra cost. We can only guarantee a private vehicle service if you have booked this in advance, as some camps have vehicle restrictions by law and we cannot guarantee that the camps will have a spare vehicle and a spare guide if you try to book on site. So, if you require this facility, please book the private vehicle service with your travel agent when you are booking your safari.
Cross Country Vehicle On Cross Country Safaris
The mode of transport on our vehicle safaris in the different countries depends primarily on local conditions. Vehicles are normally customized Land Rovers and very occasionally we may use a minibus (non-camping safaris only). A library of wildlife reference books and a first aid kit are standard on each camping safari vehicle. On participation camping trips we tow a trailer to carry all the camping equipment. Open 4x4 vehicles are sometimes used on game drives once we arrive at our tented camps on some four and five paw safaris.
All of our fly-in safaris have guaranteed departures for a minimum of two people - and some have guaranteed departures for one guest once they have paid the single surcharge. Our vehicle and camping safari departures are guaranteed once you have paid your deposit and we have confirmed your booking in writing. You can therefore book your safari safe in the knowledge that we will not cancel your holiday. We are one of the very few companies who offer this guarantee. With us, you can plan your holiday with confidence. A comprehensive information pack detailing important information about your safari will be sent to your agent prior to departure. Please make sure you receive this.
On scheduled departure safaris we have weekly, bimonthly or monthly departures. On these safaris, you will be travelling, for the duration of your trip, with a small number of like-minded people, possibly from a range of age groups and usually from several different areas of the world. These safaris attract people from all walks of life, but all have a passion for the wilderness. Part of the experience is the way the group interacts. There is nothing like being out in the wilderness to bring out the best in people. To get the most out of your experience, co-operation and harmony with fellow travellers is essential. Please do not book a safari of this nature if you are a grumpy individual or if you do not enjoy travelling with others.
Age Limits on Safari
Due to the active nature of some of our safaris, we do set age limits on select departures. The Jacana, Suricate, Rhino, and Toktokkie Safaris have an upper age limit of 70 and the Mopane Safari an upper age limit of 65. All these safaris have a lower age limit of 15. The Mana Canoe Trail has an upper age limit of 65 (or to age 70 with receipt of a signed medical), and a lower age limit of 12. The Best of Southern Africa Fly-In Safari and the Okavango and Linyanti Adventure have lower age limits of 15, but no upper age limits. The Best of Namibia Wings Safari and the Skeleton Coast Safari have lower age limits of 12.
Children under the minimum age and guests over the maximum age may only travel if they are on a private, customised safari where the entire safari is booked for one group. For guests on customised safaris who are over the maximum age, we will require a medical form signed by their physician.
We have a no smoking policy at meals, on our vehicles, on the aircraft, and on boats (in fact anywhere where there is a fire hazard). If you are a smoker, we will have "smoke breaks" on the drives to keep you happy! We ask that you respect this ruling, and thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Wilderness Safaris is closely
allied to an independent air charter company. Flying is an integral part of many of the itineraries in this brochure. It is a wonderful way to get a bird's-eye view of the countryside you will be visiting. All aircraft are flown by commercially rated bush pilots in aircraft, which are serviced after every 50 or 100 hours of flying (depending on the country's regulations).
On the tailor-made fly-in safaris, inter-camp flying is usually costed on a seat-in-plane basis where guests are flown with other guests to their destination. If you prefer to book a plane for your party's exclusive use to ensure that you are flown directly to the next camp (and possibly to allow you an increased baggage allowance), please request this when booking and we will add the extra cost to your price.
We offer air transfers in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Malawi, Namibia and South Africa in Cessna 210s, Cessna 206s, Cessna Caravans and Islanders. Charters in larger and faster planes are possible from Johannesburg to Maun and Victoria Falls as well as on some of the other longer routes. However, most guests travelling from Johannesburg or Cape Town to Maun, Victoria Falls or Windhoek use scheduled flights on SAA, BA/Comair, Air Botswana or other reliable carriers.
For the inter-camp air transfers, space and safety concerns don't allow for lots of baggage on these planes - so we have a strict 12kgs (26lbs) baggage limit on all flights (unless you have booked a private flight). All bags must be soft to allow us to squeeze your bags into tight corners. 12kgs doesn't sound like much, but as the dress code in the camps is casual and as most camps and some safaris offer a laundry service (and most often this is a free service), the 12kgs is ample. If you have to have more baggage, then we can often sell you an extra seat on each flight, which will allow you and your party up to an extra 70kgs (also in soft bags). If you have lots of bags, but don't need the bags in the camps, we can often send your bags ahead to your next city as unaccompanied baggage. Work on about US$75 per person for this service.
We cannot afford to take a chance on safety. If you come with more than your 12kgs baggage allowance and you have not made arrangements with us for your extra baggage, you will be forced to leave some of your baggage behind and arrange a private charter at considerable extra cost and inconvenience to yourself.
When you book, please ask your agent to forward a copy of our
pre-safari information pack to you. This will usually consist of about 5 pages of information on your safari and the local conditions. The information pack contains essential reading which will ensure that your safari goes a lot smoother and will also list what to bring and not to bring. Please make sure that you get our information before you leave home ~ and that you read it!
Southern Africa is a relatively healthy place in which to live and travel. Please do not go overboard with the information put out by some of the disease control centres abroad. We often have guests arriving who have had every possible injection available and who are taking every pill imaginable. We sometimes meet guests travelling in totally healthy areas who are petrified to touch the local salads and fruits or drink the local water. As a result, they do not enjoy the region as much as they should. Many parts of Africa do have problems with their water and with their foods. Southern Africa, however, is generally a lot safer than the rest of Africa, so please don't overreact to the detriment of your own enjoyment. Be careful, but not overcautious. If in doubt, ask your guide for advice.
Please fill in our
form and fax it back indicating a method of payment or e-mail us.
Reservations are only accepted in writing: by fax or via e-mail.
Final availability confirmation: in writing: by fax or via e-mail.
Terms & conditions, Payment options and Cancellation policy
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