Great Plains Conservation provides a bespoke and conservation-focused African safari experience

Great Plains Conservation Africa safari experience in Botswana

Great Plains Conservation offers an ethical and luxurious African safari journey par excellence

A story about an African safari experience writes itself. The mind conjures images of sun-bathed savannahs and rugged rocky outcrops before one needs to put them to words. So do the distant, yet familiar dramas that unfold in these grand theatres: the ferocious lion chasing a languid zebra, the thunderous march of majestic elephants, the solemn anticipation moments before a leopard catches its prey.

The best luxury safari experiences are inadvertently set against Africa’s breathtaking landscapes, where you are immersed in defining moments of nature. But more so, they will bring you close to the heart of Africa through people whose sole purpose in life is to love and care for the land.

two animals fighting in the wild African safari
The best African safari experiences immerse you in defining moments of nature. Photo by Great Plains Conservation

People like Dereck and Beverly Joubert, an award-winning film-making duo, acclaimed for their in-depth wildlife documentaries and owners of Great Plains Conservation, a luxury and conservation-focused safari company. Founded in 2006, Great Plains Conservation offers bespoke journeys across 18 private safari camps, nestled within the continent’s vast, untouched landscapes.

These lodges, beacons of luxury amid the wild, offer guests a seamless blend of exploration and comfort, promising an intimate connection with Africa’s raw beauty through meticulously designed spaces. In these expansive private conservancies, one connects with nature in the most exclusive and profound ways possible.

the selinda suite in Botswana by Great Plains Conservation
Great Plains Conservation offers camps set in pristine wilderness areas. Photo by Great Plains Conservation

“We make sure that the real spirit and soul of Africa come through in each and every one of our camps. In some camps, you will be sitting near a waterhole with giant elephants just two or three metres away. In others, you will follow cheetahs, or lions and buffalos. Each camp offers a completely different experience and each area is vastly different,” says Dereck.

The Jouberts’ love for the land is apparent. While many safari companies have adopted conservation policies in recent years, the Jouberts have long been involved in conservation efforts in Africa. In 2009, the duo founded the Big Cats Initiative with National Geographic Society, a project that has since reduced threats for around 3,000 big cats.

Dereck and Beverly Joubert in a jeep in Africa with cameras
The Jouberts have long been involved in conservation efforts. Photo by Great Plains Conservation

With Great Plains Conservation, the Jouberts have created a sustainable and effective way to expand their conservation efforts, supported directly by patrons of their luxury safari camps.

“The entire foundation of this company was built on the idea of conservation. We still continue the Big Cats Initiative and we’re currently involved in a massive Noah’s Ark-type project to move about 3,000 struggling animals from the drought-affected, southern part of Zimbabwe to the north. These are just a few of our many initiatives. And we use tourism to help us pay for these efforts”, says Dereck.

“But we do more than conservation work,” adds Beverly. “In all our areas, we help the bordering communities as much as we can. We’ve trained women rangers, provided education to children and adults, and started feeding schemes. Sometimes our guests want to get personally involved. I remember one of our guests bought 600 solar lanterns for us to distribute to the nearby villages.”

men helping a rhino out in the African safari
Photo by Great Plains Conservation

In return for their patronage and support, guests receive a luxurious and bespoke safari experience. Expert guides await you at Great Plains’ luxury camps, along with private chefs and dedicated staff who ensure you have an unforgettable experience. Wine cellars and spa treatments are among their many amenities, including professional cameras and lenses for avid photographers.

Staying true to its eco-conscious ethos, Great Plains has eliminated single-use plastics in its camps, all of which are equipped with eco-friendly greywater recycling systems. And any time a guest flies in to visit its camps, Great Plains plants trees in proportion to the expended carbon footprint.

An elephant in an African safari resting near a waterhole
Guests receive an authentic and luxurious African safari experience. Photo by Great Plains Conservation

But if there’s one thing the Jouberts guarantee for your experience—it’s authenticity.

“It drives everything we do. We bring you to real villages, where you can speak with villagers who are happy to share their culture. You can engage with our all-local staff. I love the genuine interactions and conversations our guests have with our staff. That’s why you come to Africa, not just to see the cheetahs, but to understand the heart and soul of this continent,” says Dereck.

As the Jouberts look towards their future conservation efforts and plans, one burning question remains, why Africa?

“It’s not always easy and it’s not always pleasant,” says Dereck with a smile. “But there’s a certain something about the smell of elephants and the soil of Africa. We were born here, it’s in our blood to protect this place.”

Great Plains Conservation

This story first appeared in the April 2024 issue. Purchase it as a print or digital copy, or consider subscribing to us here