Episode 31: design through a filmmaker’s lens (Dereck Joubert)

In episode 31 of DESIGN POD, Editor Hamish Kilburn strips back the layers to understand how two National Geographic wildlife filmmakers and photographers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, have designed luxury safari camps in harmony with the natural world…

Great Plains Dereck Joubert with camera

Welcome to Africa, where nature unapologetically rules! In episode 31 of DESIGN POD, Editor Hamish Kilburn meets Dereck Joubert, a wildlife photographer and filmmaker who for his whole life, while working with the likes of National Geographic, has campaigned to protect wildlife conservation in Africa.

To part-fund his and his wife Beverly’s selfless journey, they created Great Plains, a cluster of luxury safari camps dotted across the continent. But these aren’t just any camps. Each one tells a different story through design and has its own raw personality.

The considered approach at the start of each development always starts the same; with Dereck and Beverly camping out under the stars, exposed to the elements, in order to take conscious steps to ensure that each property, deliberately designed to feel ‘semi-permanent’ – works with and not just in nature’s spectacular setting. “The way we design was to limit impact on environment,” Dereck says. “I also wanted to convey a sense on impermanence. I wanted to give a sense that we, all of our guests are temporary here. We are here for a moment. We are visitors to landscapes like this.”

Redefining luxury through the filmmaker’s lens, Dereck and Beverly’s social approach to luxury travel has resulted in Great Plains African safari experiences in Botswana, Kenya and now Zimbabwe. And it doesn’t stop there. The husband-and-wife team are committed not only to wildlife conservation in Africa, but, through many charities and initiatives launched and nurtured by Dereck and Beverly themselves, they also work tirelessly to offer and promote equal opportunities for those living and working in and around their camps. This took on a whole new meaning after one incident, sensitively explored on the podcast episode, that Beverly fighting for her life in hospital.

DESIGN POD is brought to you by Hotel Designs. This series is sponsored by Geberit, produced by Mel Yates and hosted by Hamish Kilburn.

Main image credit: DESIGN POD