Great Plains Conservation Reveals the Bush’s Best Swimming Pools

Great Plains, the tourism conservation organization founded by National Geographic filmmaker/explorers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, has unveiled new swimming pools across its camps in Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe. From a pool that doubles as the best spot in Kenya to watch the wildebeest migration, to a pool that floats atop a vintage military truck, these new bathing spots offer the ultimate bucket list in the bush experience.

Duba Explorers Camp is tucked away on an island in the northeast corner of Botswana’s Duba Plains Concession, a 33,000-hectare private reserve. Due to its location in the Okavango Delta’s northern reaches, the permanent floodplain dominates the surrounding landscapes, with guests enjoying unobstructed views across the surrounding water channels. The pool has been constructed on the back of an overland six-wheel-drive campaign military truck. Guests can expect to spot hippos, elephants, zebra, wildebeest and more.

The recently opened Mara Expedition Camp in Kenya is also home to a pool truck, the sipping spot of choice for the local zebra population. Guests can experience the best of both worlds: The intense action of the Maasai Mara ecosystem, plus the more private 70,000-acre Mara North Conservancy. The camp has six canvas tents with en-suite bathrooms where guests can enjoy hot water from huge brass safari showers. Guests can also go on guided walking safaris.

A pool on a deck overlooking the Zambezi
The Tembo Plains Camp (Photo by Great Plains)

A new private two-bedroom villa, the Mara Plains Jahazi Suite with its private plunge pool is located at Mara Plains Camp, an ideal spot in Kenya to observe the wildebeest migration. Great Plains constructed the pool from a recycled container, set beneath the shade of a giant fig tree. The design was created with a temporary feel that underlines the fact that one is a mere guest of the wildlife that calls this part of the world home. Activities include game drives within the Maasai Mara and private Olare Motorogi Conservancy and cultural visits. Hot air ballooning can be arranged at an additional expense. The new villa is ideal for group travelers and multi-generational travel. The Mara Jahazi Suite accommodates children aged eight and above.

Mpala Jena Camp in Zimbabwe is positioned along the tree-lined banks of the Zambezi River. The camp uses thatched roofs in the main areas and flowing canvas luxury tents for the bedrooms. The sand-floored bar and decked pool area is where guests can relax after their morning game drive or river cruise. The sun loungers are positioned in such a way that one feels they are floating on the river.

Tembo Plains Camp is tucked away into a thick riverine forest on the edge of the Zambezi River, in the private 128,000-hectare Sapi Private Reserve, east of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. The camp has four double suites, each with its own indoor lounge area and private plunge pool, known to attract the local wildlife at night. Guests can spot wild dogs, buffalos, elephants, lions and leopards.

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