Deka Camp (Machaba)
Why photographers love Deka Camp
Deka is in the far northwest of the 14 651 square kilometre Hwange National Park close to the border with Botswana. This park which extends into the Kalahari is renowned for its elephant herds which come to drink in their hundreds during the dry season. Deka is at the headwaters of the Deka River and the seepage lines attract big herds of buffalo and game.
Machaba which has won many awards for its simple but luxurious tented camps with the focus on fine food, great hospitality. This camp has simple tented camps.
There is excellent lion and buffalo herds in the area. During our visit a pride of 22 lions were in the area.
How we rate Deka Camp
The camp had not yet opened during our visit so it was hard to assess service so the following are based on what we learned and what we expect from Machaba and from this area.
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Deka Camp at a glance
- Deka has 8 classic tents with en suite bathrooms.
- Each tent a little smaller than traditional Machaba tents but very comfortable.
- There is a combined indoor dining and library area with a fire pit and great views
- The camps depend on solar power.
Hwange was founded in 1923 with the first warden being Ted Davidson. Since the 1930s, the herds of elephants here have been sustained through the dry season by artificial waterholes and their numbers in the dry season are now estimated to be 40 000 or more.
Aside from elephant, kudu, sable antelope, zebra, wildebeest, gemsbok, the rare and endangered roan antelope, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, hyena and many other wildlife species. The Hwange game viewing experience in the dry season is mostly about waterholes and watching game come to drink.
The camp is in a private concession but game drives are also in the public areas. Game drives usually visit the area around Robin’s Camp and Deka.
It’s best to visit Hwange when it’s very dry, from June onwards when game concentrates at waterholes. The summer season from January to March is also excellent for birds, but there is a lot of black cotton soil in this area so it could be difficult to get around during wet weather visits.
The Robins airstrip is a 30-minute flight from Victoria Falls and a further 40 minute drive to camp.
Photographers need to know
Hwange provides excellent elephants and lions and wild dogs. There are special game such as roan. The birding is outstanding. There is currently no off-road driving in Hwange and that includes the private concession. Make sure you are able to go on drives with a registered professional guide as this allows you to walk and, within safety constraints, to get ground level shots of elephants.
The good news
Machaba has won awards for its tented camps and also supports the local communities. Deka is the sister camp to Deteema Springs and Verneys as well as very well with Victoria Falls and Gomoti and Machaba in Botswana.