Over the course of the last six months, we have had a plethora of safaris in southern Africa as well as to Madagascar. There have been innumerable highlights, species wise, but what has been happening particularly in Botswana over the past year, is that there are a lot of new lodges and properties that have either been rebuilt, reinvigorated or reimagined. A new Mombo is being built by Wilderness Safaris, Alistair Rankin and his partners have opened Little Machaba and Gomoti Plains, And Natural Selection have opened Meno-a-Kwena and Sable Alley. Also in South Africa, the talk-of-the-town has been the opening of Liz Biden’s The Silo Hotel in Cape Town, and the Leeu Collection’s Leeu Estate in Franschhoek. In Zambia, African Bush Camps completely rebuilt the insanely gorgeous Thorntree Lodge – this is a property to watch! It could well be one of the most gorgeous camps ever built, but has just literally opened.

All of these are more than noteworthy, as tourism in southern Africa is booming. Incredibly with the events happening worldwide, it seems southern Africa is miles and miles away from all the problems of the world, and ironically, it is now considered one of the safest areas to travel on Earth.

We always choose one property to feature on every edition of Orion’s Belt and this edition was a toughie! I think due to its honest luxury, marvelous hosting and guiding, incredible food, and the fact that Conrad saw his first ever rhinos in Botswana, the accolade this time must go to Dereck and Beverly’s new Duba Plains Camp through Great Plains. I am extraordinarily lucky to see a lot of properties all over, but I think that Duba just simply “gets it right” on every angle. Stunning, and worthy of all the praise it is getting. But to be able to see 6 white rhinos translocated from South Africa at Duba was a serious highlight. We thoroughly support this initiative between “& Beyond and Great Plains”, one of the ultimate wildlife success stories.