Daka Plains Camp

Article: Rudo Nhamoinesu

Images: Daka Plains Camp

As we entered the park, and approached the camp, my eyes drank in the sight of the remote north-western region of Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest reserve, where Daka Plains Camp resides. A brief 40-minute safari transfer from Robin’s airstrip leads you to this unique destination. Nestled atop a low hill, the camp postured itself to command breathtaking views over the sprawling floodplains, the Daka Seeps.

A sense of exclusivity permeates Daka Plains Camp; it houses just six guest units, each a perfect blend of canvas, local rock, and thatch. The rustic architecture seamlessly marries with the stunning topography, offering a feeling of intimate immersion in these wild surroundings. My private veranda allowed me to savour the panoramic vistas, a tranquil space to relax and reflect.

Inside the guest unit, a plush double bed awaited, draped in the finest quality linen. The en-suite bathroom, equipped with a flush toilet, washbasin, and shower, offered the comfort of modern amenities amidst the rustic charm of the camp. Upon arrival, a heartwarming welcome note and a charming giraffe keychain greeted me, a testament to the thoughtful hospitality curated by the staff.

The main area, as with the guest units, is a harmonious blend of canvas, local rock, and thatch. Here, a comfortable library brimming with fascinating reads beckoned, a perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon. The dining area, filled with convivial chatter and laughter, was where delightful culinary experiences unfolded under the watchful guidance of Daina and her team.

The camp’s plunge pool, a refreshing oasis, offered a much-needed respite from the African sun. As I dipped into the cool waters, the mesmerising views of the floodplains stretched out before me, painting a picture of unspoilt wilderness. Such instances of serenity punctuated my stay, leaving indelible impressions.

Yet, the true essence of Daka Plains Camp lies in its safari experiences. The expert guidance of Ian Batchelor illuminated the morning walk and afternoon game drives. The rugged terrain, punctuated by granite boulders and mopane trees, was a playground for incredible wildlife- elephant, lion, hyena and as we were told, leopard too!  Each sighting, a thrilling encounter. We encountered an impressive concentration of buffalo and elephants, and the sight of a fallen giant, a testament to the harsh realities of the drought, left us in quiet contemplation. The park’s diverse birdlife, boasting over 450 species, was a veritable feast for the eyes.

As twilight descended, we embarked on a night drive, an exclusive offering owing to the camp’s private concession. The nocturnal world of Hwange unfolded before us, revealing the lesser-known inhabitants.

Our morning walking safari offered an intimate exploration of the park’s smaller lives, from intriguing insects to vibrant plant life, Ian’s vast knowledge carrying us through. However, it was the magical rains of the green season that truly elevated these walks, filling the landscape with an ethereal beauty.

Evenings at Daka Plains Camp were a celebration of camaraderie, as we gathered around the fire under a star-studded sky. Every moment was a testament to the exceptional hospitality of the entire team, each day a new chapter in this enchanting journey.

Daka Plains Camp truly is a sanctuary for those seeking an authentic African safari experience, a place where nature’s grandeur unfolds in the most extraordinary ways. It’s a testament to Zimbabwe’s indomitable spirit and its rich natural heritage. As I bid farewell, I carried with me cherished memories and a yearning to return, for the call of the wild is an irresistible siren’s song.

See you on the road!

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