Okavango Delta, Tubu Tree Camp
This small, traditional tented safari camp is situated on a large island in the 600km² Jao Reserve, on the west of the Okavango Delta. Although this reserve is dominated by permanent wetlands with deep-water channels, seasonal floodplains and islands, Tubu is built on Hunda Island, the largest dry island in the reserve . The Camp is very comfortable and its small size appeals to travellers who prefer a more intimate feel. The experience here in previous years has been that, in the dry season, the game viewing on this western side of the Delta tends to be quieter than in other parts of the Okavango, but with its location on the permanently dry Hunda Island, Tubu Tree offers the reserve’s best game viewing – and has a track record of particularly good leopard sightings even during the drier months.
The raised main area at Tubu Tree feels like an enormous tree house and the views over the seasonal plains in front of the camp are fantastic. One can be welcomed by a heard of red lechwe or a family of warthog right in front of the camp. Although the plains were dry when I visited, the view changes completely during the flood season when the plains in front of the camp fill with water.
Off to one side of the building is the open-air lounge with a number of comfy sofas and chairs, and the adjacent loo with a view. There’s a good selection of reference books available, and the deck in front has a viewing scope for guests to use. The dining area at the opposite end is large and simply decorated, but flanked by a quirky bar, hand carved from a large sausage tree and built around trees to the front of the camp. From there a wooden walkway leads down to a small plunge pool and sundeck, and – just beyond – a firepit, where a fire is lit most evenings. The main camp has eight tented chalets, each built on individual decks, giving them the feel almost of tree houses and are reached along raised wooden walkways. In keeping with the style of the camp, the design of the rooms is very traditional. The tents have big windows and a large sliding door with mesh panels, making them feel quite light and spacious. Little Tubu where I was staying has only three tents.
The larger animals I first had sightings of were impala, steenbok, zebra, gnu, buffalo, giraffe, hartebeest and kudu. One day on the return journey to the lodge in the dark a leopard was spotted.