Selinda Concession, Linyanti, Botswana
At a Glance
Guided game walks in the Selinda Reserve
Seasonal Kayaking on the Savute channel
Each suite has a large bathroom including a huge copper bathtub
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Botswana’s winter is May to October when the weather is hot during the day (not stiflingly hot) and cold at night. Botswana's summer months (November to April) can be hot and humid and there is a chance of rain. Botswana has one rainy season which runs between mid-December and runs through to mid-March.
To start planning your holiday to Zarafa Camp
Situated in The Selinda, a 1,350km private reserve that straddles the Selinda Spillway, Zarafa Camp (which was Zibalianja) offers just four vast and airy luxury tented rooms all set on polished, raised wooden decks with en-suite, open air bathrooms.
Zarafa Camp overlooks the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the world-famous Savute Channel. The camp evokes a sense of old-style safari with its four large, luxuriously appointed double or twin 'marquis style' tents. Hosting a maximum of eight guests, the emphasis at Zarafa Camp is on offering a personalised and private experience to guests - perfect if you favour a more intimate experience or an entire camp to yourself.
Built on a palm island, in a sea of floodplain savannah, Zarafa puts the emphasis on intimate hospitality in the tradition of a bygone safari era.
There are four huge and stunning tented rooms with views onto the Zibadianja Lagoon and, unusually, each room is kitted out with a professional camera with lenses and a pair of binoculars. At the end of their stay guests will be presented with a USB drive of the images they have been able to capture.
The thatch bar and viewing deck are great for spotting wildlife whilst meals are taken in the warmth of the well appointed "mess tent". Siesta time can also be spent in the sunken hide at the waterhole’s edge. The Selinda Reserve is host to a wide variety bird species (300+) and wildlife including hippo, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, cheetah, wild dog, lion, plenty of elephant and several species of antelope. Night drives allow guests to see nocturnal species such as porcupine, spring-hare, hyaena and perhaps even the elusive leopard.
Accommodation at Zarafa Camp consists of four spacious tents with verandas, positioned under cool and shady trees with breathtaking vistas of the Zibidianja Lagoon. A large bedroom, en-suite bathroom, featuring a copper bath and both indoor and outdoor showers, are standard. There is also wifi available in each guest tent.
There is a minimum age of 8 years but younger children may be accepted if booking the whole camp.
Zarafa camp has a plunge pool for guests to enjoy between safaris, there is also a curio shop and a hide for game viewing.
Activities at Zarafa Camp are flexible to suit guests' particular interests and include morning, afternoon and night game drives, with experienced professional guides in custom-built 4x4 Toyota Land Cruisers. Short guided nature walks from camp are encouraged to introduce guests to some of Africa's less prominent wildlife. Guests can relax in camp and enjoy a massage too.
Meg Shepro (Staff)
Zarafa's elegant luxury camp is the perfect way to end your Botswana safari. Located in the Linyanti region, famed for an abundance of elephants herds, you'll enjoy blissful sunsets from your private deck as the gorgeous copper colours of Zarafa create a heavenly glow. A stay here is truly unforgettable with world renowned Relais & chateau certified kitchen and style from a bygone safari era.
Katie Fewkes (Staff)
Often lauded as one of the ultimate safari camps in Africa, I had pretty high expectations for Zarafa, and I wasn't sure if it would meet them to be honest. But my scepticism was proven totally unfounded. There is something untangibly special about Zarafa that's hard to describe, but I'll try....
The tented suites are enormous - larger than the three-bed flat I live in in London! As well as the luxury of space, you have the wonderful mix of textures, the roughness of the weathered old railway sleepers that form the outside deck, the shiny copper of the bathtub and outdoor shower, the beautiful hand-crafted and bespoke leather furniture - it is truly beautiful. There are boxes and trunks everywhere just begging to be opened and explored, each containing a little gem - an ice bucket regularly refreshed, a drinks trunk so you don't have to stroll to the main mess area if you want a gin and tonic, a toy box with amazing camera kit and lenses, Swarovski binoculars and yoga mat, and much more. The bed is worthy of a mention in itself - it is metres wide and extra-length, you could fit an entire family in it! It wasn't cold enough to try out the beautiful copper fire pit, but that gives me a good excuse to return, surely? Likewise the fact that I didn't have time to enjoy a soak in the rolltop copper bathtub.
Whilst this is a beautifully luxurious camp, it is far from stuffy or in-your-face. This is a real breath of fresh air, and the atmosphere is one of a very laid-back, beautiful-people kind of house party on safari. I've come across this once before in Tanzania at Beho Beho and I don't know quite how both camps have managed it, but they just do. You feel at once relaxed, at home, welcome to do as you please, kick off your shoes at lunch, decide to have a lie-in if you don't want an early start for a game-drive, or just pop out for an hour to have a sundowner and ditch the afternoon drive - something several guests did while I was here. (I of course wanted to squeeze in as much game-viewing time as humanly possible, but that was my prerogative.) The food is healthy and nutritious, with plenty of it but never the kind of stodgy fare you find in so many camps that leave you feeling bloated and struggling to zip up your shorts after a week on safari. This in itself was a rare treat and one of many things they are leading the charge on.
My guide here, Lets, is a hugely talented photographer (I am an enthusiastic amateur photographer) which added a superb element to our safari. He could foresee the animal's behaviour so always told me where to look and what to pay attention to, knew how best to position the vehicle for the best light, and gave me all kinds of tips and tricks to improve my photography. We had some amazing sightings - a big pride of lion with two males, about six cubs and plenty of interesting interaction. And the best leopard sighting of my life; a mother and cub, really relaxed, not another vehicle in sight and something I will never forget.
The only negative I can think of about a stay at Zarafa is how you'll top it with anything afterwards! It has certainly raised the bar for what can be done on safari in terms of atmosphere, hosting, design of camp and just the way it is run, and I wonder how I'm going to top that next time?
Boat safari in the Okavango Delta
Travel through the waterways of the Okavango Delta on a boat safari, exploring the papyrus reeds and hippo habitats with your guide. The smooth ride offers a soothing alternative to time spent in a vehicle. Always subject to water levels.
Cruise on the Zibadianja Lagoon
A beautiful way to spend a leisurely afternoon instead of a game-drive or walk, head out on the HMS Zib, Zarafa's floating pontoon which explores the Zibadianja Lagoon. Complete with bar and sofas to lounge on, it's better than your average boat safari!
Game Drives in Botswana
Viewing wildlife from a vehicle is the best way to get up close to big game. Allow your professional safari guide to cover ground to guarantee you some unforgettable sightings in Africa's premier safari destination.
Great Plains Young Explorers club
Children of all ages have the opportunity to experience a safari like no other with the Great Plains Young Explorers club. With a huge variety of activities to take part in, kids will love this interactive and educational adventure.
Mokoro trips in Botswana
Botswana's northern safari areas are full of water channels just waiting to be explored. Larger boats can be used to explore the wider channels but for the aficionado, mokoro trips into the smaller channels are a real treat. Always subject to waterlevels
Photographic game-drive from Zarafa
Set off on safari in search of the Selinda Reserve's fascinating wildlife with your expert Zarafa guide. All of the guides here have been trained by professional photographers the Jouberts to understand and anticipate a photographer's needs on safari.
Walking Safaris and Nature Walks
Walking in the African bush with a professional safari guide is a fantastic experience. Enjoy a completely different perspective on foot than from a vehicle.
Botswana in Ultimate Luxury
Okavango Delta, Linyanti & Makgadikgadi Pans
from £16000 pp inc flights & transfers for 9 nights
- Ultimate safari experience showcasing Botswana's most luxurious lodges
- Botswana is renowned for its excellent game-viewing and this itinerary will take you to the top wildlife spots
- Light aircraft flights over the Okavango Delta are truly awe-inspiring
Location & directions
Selinda Concession, Linyanti, Botswana
Zarafa Camp is located near the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savute Channel in The Selinda Reserve, Linyanti, Botswana.
How to get there
Fly into Johannesburg, followed by a 2-hour international flight to Maun. Zarafa Camp is only accessible to guests by seat-in plane air transfers or private charters (45-minute flight). On arrival at the airfield, it is a 45-minute to one-hour game drive transfer to Zarafa Camp, including time for brief game viewing stops en route.