Bream ceviche with smoked eggplant puree . . . garden pea and thyme soup with cauliflower tempura . . .  exotic mushroom and spiralized zucchini noodle stir fry with baby bok choi. Definitely not the kind of dishes you expect to come across in the African bush.

Yet Duba Plains Camp in the Okavango Delta of northern Botswana offers these decadent dishes and more thanks to a skilled cooking staff and the culinary flair of head chef Herman Breedt.

One of a dozen Great Plains Conservation safari camps spread between Botswana and Kenya, Duba perches on the edge of Africa’s legendary wetlands. The camp is open year-round — both rainy season and dry season in the Okavango — and comprises only five luxury tents.

Amazing wildlife and lush landscapes are the main reason that people travel to the Okavango. But anyone who stays at Duba Plains comes away raving about Herman, too.

“I was stunned with what he was able to do in a ‘bush kitchen,’ says Amy Green from Hills of Africa, who visited Duba Plains and sampled Herman’s wondrous concoctions last September. “He created a fabulous six-course tasting menu for us. It’s amazing what these chefs are working with, yet still manage to provide gourmet food. Always fresh and sometimes very surprising.”

We recently caught up with Herman again at Duba Plains Camp to ask about the secret to his success at wilderness cooking:

How did you get your start cooking? Do you have formal training?

Photo courtesy of Great Plains Conservation, Duba Plains

Photo courtesy of Great Plains Conservation, Duba Plains

I can’t say I’ve ever had a calling to become a chef. I’ve always been passionate about food, but like many people, I had no idea what to do with my life after school and somehow ending up being assimilated into the hospitality industry. The best description would be that I came for the food and stayed for the surreal life experiences — seeing the world through the “back door.” I indeed have some short formal training. However, everything I’ve learn was outside of that. I was very fortunate to have a handful of incredible mentors who I will always be indebted to. Actual work experience made me a chef.

What’s the biggest challenge to cooking in the bush?

Has to be the isolation from the world. The outside world stops existing after a while. Being out here in the wilderness for so long changes the way you see the world when you’re back again. The transition can be difficult. Like a pause/play button for the world. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Also, remaining passionate and creative every day for three months — under lots of constraints — as we are in such a remote location.

What’s the best thing about cooking in the bush?

The moments that guests can’t buy. Going on a helicopter ride for the first time thanks to the kindness of a pilot. Joining a maintenance trip through the Okavango Delta for a whole day in the most uncomfortable truck, losing the lights for hours and driving with a cellphone torch [flashlight]. Forgetting where you are and nearly driving into a lion on your commute. Elephants eating berries off my roof when I go to bed. Living with the staff. Enjoying the contrast of the enormously different worlds between guests and staff.

What are your favorite dishes to create?  What’s your specialty, your style?

I spent two years working in an Italian restaurant, so that has forever cemented my love for anything Mediterranean. I love the robust, simple flavors and the celebration of seasonal produce. Dishes that show off something as honest and humble as a tomato. I also love all Eastern food for the amazing variety — so much more interesting than Western cuisine — perhaps as I didn’t grow up with it. So I would say my style would be a fusion between Eastern and Mediterranean. Great Plains gives chefs total freedom, so I make the food I love and also experiment with new ideas.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Food is one of the most real tangible things I can think of. It lived and died for us to enjoy. I can experience it with all my senses. It’s as infinite as music in the endless variations of countless ingredients. But mostly, it’s a common thing that all humans share. It brings people together and makes us feel good. All these things make me very happy to devote so much of my life to this. And truly sincere compliments make all the slavery worthwhile.

Photo courtesy of Great Plains Conservation, Duba Plains

Photo courtesy of Great Plains Conservation, Duba Plains

Is there something you are requested to cook that you secretly despise?

Meringue. Silly weather-dependent, overly sugary white crisps.

What would you like our readers to know about experiencing a safari in the Okavango?

This is one of the last natural systems barely touched by humans. Come and see it sooner rather than later, as it’s difficult to be an environmental optimist in the world we currently live in.

What are your dreams for the future?

I’m still just as lost and confused about my future as when I started doing this 11 years ago. But what an amazing ride it’s been thus far. I can happily report that I am much more contented with the fact that life is totally unpredictable. If you had told me I would be writing this from the heart of the Okavango Delta a few years ago, I would have laughed at you. So I plan to continue the ride blissfully unaware of what the future holds.


Come join us on an African Safari Vacation.  It’s time to say YES and create memories in 2017.

Call us on 1-800-940-9344 or email us at


Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun: Uganda and Rwanda

April 28, 2017

The work of celebrated conservationist Dian Fossey put Rwanda on the map as the place to see mountains gorillas in the wild. But there are actually two great primate destinations in East Africa — Rwanda and the neighboring country of Uganda. It’s funny how movies paint our perceptions of far-away places. Gorillas in the Mist […]

Read the full article →

Africa in Motion — The Great Migration

April 27, 2017

There’s nothing else like it anywhere on the planet — the Great Migration that takes place in East Africa, each year, the movement of millions of large creatures across the Serengeti Plains . . . and the daily drama that plays out between predator and prey all along their route. The numbers are truly astounding: […]

Read the full article →

If You Give a Kid a Chance . . .

April 13, 2017

Much like Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, rainbows are a symbol of hope and progress in various parts of the world. Nowhere is that more true than Mozambique, where the Rainbow Fund supports a wide range of environmental and social projects. The first registered charity of its kind in Mozambique, the Rainbow Fund […]

Read the full article →

Victoria Falls – Do I REALLY need to visit? What’s all the Hype?

April 10, 2017

  We, at Hills of Africa Travel, always get asked “is it really worth visiting Victoria Falls?” and “why should I visit Victoria Falls?”. Well, we’re going to share with you why we think you should DEFINITELY include Victoria Falls in your travel plans if you are visiting Southern Africa. The Victoria Falls itself – […]

Read the full article →

Traveling from Africa to USA – what electronics am I allowed to take as carry on?

March 30, 2017

Revised as of 30th March 2017:  We know you’re so excited about going on an African Safari Vacation.  You’ve got your bags packed, you have your passport in hand and then all of a sudden you hear about new restrictions.  To help you plan and to take the stress away from you, here’s the latest […]

Read the full article →

Magical Selinda Camp in Botswana, a special place in our hearts

December 5, 2016

Selinda Camp, nestled deep in  Okavango Delta’s Selinda Reserve in Botswana, is a very special safari camp for us and is a fantastic option for the traveler looking to celebrate a birthday, honeymoon, anniversary, graduation, or  general safari travel in five-star luxury.  Combining top of the line accommodation with amazing game viewing and opportunities for […]

Read the full article →

Drifting away…A mokoro ride in Botswana

December 5, 2016

This past September I had the privilege of visiting the Okavango Delta region of Botswana.  This amazing area is widely known as being quite a different safari destination, offering boating and fishing activities not found in many other areas of the bush.  Since the Delta easily offers water based activities, we decided to forgo the […]

Read the full article →

It’s time to celebrate …. YOU …. our African Safari Partners

November 22, 2016

It’s always at this time of year that I get a little emotional and we at Hills of Africa Travel would like to thank our partners in Africa, all the amazing safari lodges, boutique hotels and their staff; our fantastic guides who always go above and beyond to make our clients feel so special; to […]

Read the full article →

Property Spotlight – Duba Expeditions Camp, Okavango Delta

November 5, 2016

Rich with wildlife, cultural heritage, and vibrant spirit, the Okavango Delta is arguably one of Africa’s most spectacular places to visit. Famous for its diverse terrain of sprawling floodplains, thriving grasslands, remote islands, savannah, and bushveld the Okavango Delta is, without a doubt, a prized area for game-viewing and birding. For those looking to visit […]

Read the full article →