Great Plains’ Sitatunga Private Island opens in Botswana

Great Plains, the iconic eco-tourism company, has announced the opening of Sitatunga Private Island, a water-based Réserve-Collection Safari Camp in the upper reaches of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, built entirely from recycled materials…

draped curtains around bed in outdoor camp with wooden chair and tray with coffee

Built on a raised, wrap-around railway sleeper private deck, Sitatunga Private Island can accommodate a maximum of four adults in two separate and stunning private suites. The spacious double-bedroom Sitatunga Private Island Suite hosts four adults or a family of two adults and up to three children, offering a total footprint of approximately 607 square metres. Sitatunga Private Island can host up to eight guests in total sharing the two suites and the two-bedroom Sitatunga Private Island Suite.

wooden driftwood sculpture of a lion in foreground with thatched ceiling and wooden frame of safari camp lounge in the background with sides open to the delta

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

Constructed almost entirely of recycled materials, breathing new life into old treasures, the new camp offers discerning explorers a ‘slow safari’ experience that is as sustainable as it is luxurious. Each of the two guest suites, as well as the 2-bedroomed suite comes complete with an indoor lounge, gorgeously appointed bathrooms with baths and separate showers, a private deck with outdoor lounging and seating areas as well as a private pool with expansive views over the lagoon that stretches in front of the camp itself.

heavy studded antique wooden door opening onto guest suite at Sitatunga Private Island

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

“Sitatunga Private Island is unlike any other Great Plains property, pushing the eco-design boundary in a remote region in Botswana whilst also offering the highest level of hospitality and accommodation,” elaborated Dereck Joubert, CEO, Great Plains. “It is also one of the few locations in the world where one can still see sitatunga, the rare aquatic antelope, from camp and by boat, which is the main activity here in addition to walking. It is deep Okavango Delta and, as such, is rich in birding. Head out on a boat to view elephants, crocodiles, and hippos all day, every day. I know our guests will enjoy every moment of it, as I do.”

safari style guestroom made from recycled wood with traditional victorian bath looking out across the water

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

Dereck and Beverly Joubert have both been pivotal in the interior design process, imbibing a sense of place and authenticity into the camp, with the giant bamboo fisherman basket structures of the suites paying homage to the Bayei people who historically occupied the area. “Sitatunga’s design tells the story of the Okavango, a camp surrounded by water, and one that has had indigenous fishermen in the region for over 200 years,” explained Joubert. “Those fishermen designed and used fishing baskets and traps made from reeds in a funnel shape, so I took this reference and designed the rooms as tents hanging inside of giant fishing baskets. The interiors, as a result, draw on a colour range that mirrors that of the Okavango – a blend of misty greens and light bleached woods.”

open sided lounge area with traditional thatched roof and wooden construction in the Okavango Delta

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

A true labour of love, all materials within the camp have been personally sourced by Dereck and Beverly over the years and used to create Sitatunga Private Island. The suites seamlessly blend into the natural landscape of the Okavango Delta, conjuring a strong imaging of its ancestral origins while respecting the local environment.

wooden poles on exterior of the safari guest suite with doors leading onto wooden deck and private swimming pool

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

“Sitatunga Private Island is very ‘Robinson Crusoe, desert island-ish’,” continued Joubert. “It is designed with a ‘salvage’ inspired reference. Thick, shaggy thatch covers canvas roofs and walls. There is thick pole woodwork, feeling like masts salvaged from a shipwreck, but the very spacious inner floorspace is actually some of the largest we have ever built. Each suite is set up very high in the ebony trees, a traditional way to seek and find safety, take advantage of the views, and rest in the cool shade. And, of course, to spot sitatunga!”

an elephant walking across the door to a guestroom at Sitatunga Private Island

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

A water-based camp, guests can choose from a variety of ‘slow safari’ adventures, from boating safaris and mekoro rides and more. For the traditionalist, walking safaris and game drives are also available, and for a truly indulgent celebration, guests can even opt for a scenic private helicopter tour of the Okavango Delta – complete with champagne, naturally! Flexibility is at the core of every Great Plains’ stay, and guests are encouraged to create their own unique itinerary in line with their interests, with guidance and recommendations from professional guides who know the Delta like the back of their hand.

“Sitatunga Private Island is the perfect camp to slow down in, to walk, to get on the ever-soothing water”, added Joubert. “Get on the river. Let its pace determine yours, give yourself to it and find silent moments on your safari. Because, like the river, it is not about the water itself but the journey.”

view from the water looking towards wooden jetty leading to the wooden camp buildings of Sitatunga Private Island

Image credit: Sitatunga Private Island

For those guests keen to unwind within their new home-away-from-home in Botswana, Sitatunga Private Island offers yoga mats, an exercise bike, light weights with in-room massages available upon request. A unique wine cellar and boutique complete with D&B Explorer clothing are also available to guests within the camp. As has become synonymous with a Great Plains Conservation Réserve-Collection safari camp, each suite comes complete with a complimentary professional camera and lens set, for use while out on the water and in the bush, ensuring lifelong memories can be captured during one’s stay.

Main image credit: Sitatunga Private Island