Located in the hearts of Kenya, Zimbabwe and Botswana, is Great Plains Conservation – a unique collection of safari experiences developed by award-winning National Geographic documentarians Dereck and Beverly Joubert to support local communities as well as the environments surrounding their conservations.
The Jouberts have successfully built an empire and there are many new touches to experience all the time with their luxury safari lodges. Recent successes included new vegan menus to be rolled out in each conservation, Great Plains Foundation as well as clothing line: the D&B Explorer Clothing Line. Through each venture, the couple are dedicated to extending their knowledge of the African environment to their audience using sustainable practices.
Dereck and Beverly met when they were mere teenagers, and have always been drawn to the outdoors. Their hobbies of exploring the nature around them has transformed into being the creators and CEOs of Great Plains–a brand that allows them to share their interests with a wider audience.
Originally, Dereck and Beverly were filmmakers in addition to being explorers, specialising in nature documentaries created with National Geographic. The couple have produced roughly 40 films, published 12 books, contributed to a number of scientific papers and received a number of awards for their art, including 22 Emmy nominations and 8 Emmy Awards. Other accolades include a Peabody Award, the World Ecology Award and the Presidential Order of Merit in Botswana.
In 2006, the Jouberts created the Great Plains Conservation–a tourism company that has expanded to three countries and 20 sites. Under the same Great Plains brand, Dereck and Beverly have created the Great Plains Foundation, a charity that has several initiatives, but overall aims to support local communities as well as the environments surrounding their conservations. The couple has extended their brand by creating their very own fashion line, allowing anyone to be fully equipped with the necessary attire to explore the African wilderness as they would.
New Vegan Menus
Each conservation site is carefully built to offer its guests the most valuable experiences. When staying at a campsite, either in Kenya, Botswana or Zimbabwe, guests can expect nothing short of pure luxury as they enjoy and explore the African safari. With 12 sites in Botswana, 6 in Kenya and 2 in Zimbabwe, each offering their own experiences unique to their specific region, guests will never have a dull moment.
Despite the fact that the Great Plains Conservations have been operating for about 16 years, Dereck and Beverly are still finding new ways of elevating the Great Plains experience. Most recently, the Jouberts have implemented an entirely vegan menu throughout their conservations, in an effort to bring healthy and sustainable food to their guests.
After being vegan for over a year, Dereck and Beverly decided to introduce a 5-star plant-based menu, consisting entirely of locally sourced ingredients. As a result, many of the menu items change on a seasonal basis to keep things fresh, especially for their many repeat visitors.
Chefs working within the conservations undergo an intense period of culinary training, specialising in plant-based cuisine in order to yield a product that is of the highest standards. In the Mara Nyika Camp located in Kenya, chef Dominique Saningo Kota offers a series of expertly crafted vegan dishes. Highlights of Kota’s menu include aubergine and kimchi tacos, chilli and lime cauliflower steak with coconut and lime tzatziki, double chocolate fudge cake, and watermelon coconut sorbet.
The Jouberts plan to take their plant-based cuisine to the next level, as they are in the process of developing The Great Plains Plant Based Recipe Cookbook. When discussing his upcoming cookbook, Dereck said, “You can make something delicious that is good for you without compromising on taste, which is what we are showcasing at all our camps and what our upcoming Great Plains Plant-Based Cookbook will be all about.”
The Great Plains Foundation
Within the Great Plains foundation, the Jouberts have implemented three projects that strive to assist local communities through innovative conservation initiatives: the Solar Mamas, Project Ranger, and Project Rewild Zambezi.
In an attempt to transition to solar power, the Jouberts have created the Solar Mamas project. Nine women are taken from Botswana’s rural communities to India for a period of six months where they are trained in solar engineering. With the help of these women, sustainable electricity has been brought to 450 households.
Project Ranger was established in March 2020, and continued to assist communities amidst and after the first outbreaks of COVID-19. This project recently reached $1 million in funding support, and has been used to fund over 200 rangers in 7 countries who are dedicated to conservation efforts as well as the prevention of poaching.
Project Rewild Zambezi is a long term project that has relocated nearly 300 animals so far in an effort to combat extensive wildlife overpopulation. The Great Plains’ newest camp site, Tembo Plains, sits in the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage site, allowing its guests to experience this initiative first-hand.
The D&B Explorer Collection
The D&B Explorer Collection, a new clothing line created by the Jouberts, consists of a variety of pieces that are well suited for any adventure in the African valleys. The clothing line offers pieces made for men and women, including trousers, skirts, vests, scarves and belts.
When designing the clothing line, Dereck and Beverly drew inspiration from the very landscapes of Africa–opting for khaki, beige and sky blue tones. The line consists mainly of organic linen, a material that is lightweight, but strong enough to withstand Africa’s climate. In addition, the material does not lose its charm when creased.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this clothing line is that materials are ethically sourced and production is sustainable through every stage, further enforcing the desire to positively impact the environment.
In a Nutshell
Regardless of the project Dereck and Beverly pursue, it is clear that they have a deep passion in the African environment, wildlife, and people. In every aspect of their company, they strive to use sustainable practices that simultaneously offer a variety of opportunities to both their guests as well as local communities. All explorers are welcome at the Great Plains Conservation camps, especially those who share Dereck and Beverly’s interest of uplifting communities around them.
To discover more about the Great Plains Conservation, visit greatplainsconservation.com
To discover more about the Great Plains Foundation, visit greatplainsfoundation.com
To discover more about the D&B Explorer Collection, visit greatplainsconservation.com
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All imagery courtesy of Great Plains Conservation.