Adversity brings out the best in us sometimes.
This past weekend, a tropical weather system slammed into Africa from the east, and it seems the full thrust of it went through our tents at Duba Plains! Due to the severe winds, all of the camp’s tents are damaged, and some of those huge, ancient Garcinia and ebony trees that graced the camp were uprooted.
The last time a storm like this visited, we were filming buffalo, and as the storm boiled around us, trees literally came flying passed.
As we started getting the news of the storm, our first concern was about our staff. Everyone is okay, so I breathed a sigh of gratitude and then started thinking about adversary in general. Ironically, because just before this weekend’s storm arrived, I had just asked for this camp to be closed for two months anyway – “For some touch-ups!” I said. Well, it may be that more than just some touch-ups are needed at Duba now as we use every one of those days available to rebuild.
What an opportunity to rebuild too! Enhancing the camp’s style we would like to experience in the future, adjust and iron out some of the kinks we have been living with! And what have we learned at Duba Plains that we can roll into our other camps as we rebuild, almost everywhere?
The first is that one of the most popular things about Duba (besides the lions) is our Interactive Kitchen where guests can pull up a barstool, to watch and participate with our chefs as they prepare meals.
With our emphasis on creating delicious and healthy meals, and with Antonia Stogdale running extensive new vegan and plant-based inspired cuisine training in all our camps, watching our executive chefs prepare a meal is top-rated. So many people want to improve their eating habits but need some pointers, some guidance, some encouragement. These interactive kitchens are a natural extension of our offering at Great Plains, and great fun with a good glass of wine in hand!
So we’re taking advantage of this moment of “forced reflection”, and we will be adding interactive kitchens to all our Réserve level camps in our portfolio.
Another lesson (besides the one in humility) from Duba is celebrating life and joy in the face of adversity. Last month, whilst in Kenya, Beverly and I stopped at a waterhole and were reminded of this.
Two elephants had just had a run-in with lions, the stress seeping from their temporal glands, and then something magical happened. They stepped into a nearby waterhole where, after a short drink, started to play. It was a tension-breaker, an expression of gratitude perhaps – sheer joy. I will leave it to you to decide, but I wondered if animals can have fun and express the simple pleasure of being alive as we watched them.
When we reopen in a few months, Duba Plains will be better than how I originally designed it being something quite remarkable. We will be ready for your arrival and filled with that renewed expression of joy.
I can’t wait to share this with you.