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Safari Lifestyles View
When the people in the know are often asked which is the best camp in Botswana, they reply with Mombo Camp. Safari Lifestyles is not so sure about this as an answer, we tend to consider that Zarafa now holds this title.
If you are looking for the very best accommodation in the very best game area then Zarafa is hard to beat. We are big fans of the management company, Great Plains Conservation and like how they operate with their other lodges such as Zarafa’s sister camp, Selinda. What they have achieved here is amazing.
At just 4 rooms, this camp has to be one of the smallest occupancies of any lodge in Botswana so you certainly will not feel overcrowded. The opulence of the lodge is astonishing but it still manages to feel like a bush camp and not over the top even though the rooms are huge and have copper roll-top baths and open fires.
Couple this with the game experience and you have a very appealing camp. Predominantly a dry area, the Selinda reserve remains one of the best areas in Botswana for very large concentrations of elephant, buffalo and lion with good sightings of wild dog. Being a private concession, you will be able to conduct very good day and night drives and will be able to follow game off road, a huge advantage.
With the Selinda spillway now flowing, this concession is incredible. It is even possible here to arrange a sleep-out a hide with an elevated platform. Safari Lifestyles has no hesitation in recommending Zarafa Camp.
As Botswana is so flat, this river can flow in one of two directions or – as happens in some years – it can flow in both! Waters from the Okavango Delta pour into the Selinda Spillway and flow from west to east. In the extreme east of the Selinda Reserve, waters from the Kwando and Linyanti rivers and floodplains force their way up the Selinda Spillway from east to west. Only in years of exceptional water levels in both these systems does the water that flows in from both the east and the west join up.
The area in which Zafara Camp is situated blessed with a variety of habitats: wide-open savannah dotted with attractive palm trees; thirst-quenching waterways surrounded by dry woodland; and the river systems and floodplains themselves. These waterways draw thousands of animals seeking to quench their thirst in the dry season.
The Zafara Camp floodplains are host to a wide diversity of antelope and plains game. Game drives are fruitful with a multiplicity of antelope, Burchell’s zebra, southern giraffe, blue wildebeest, and plenty of elephant and buffalo to be seen. Predator viewing is exceptional, including the incredible hippo-killing lions of Selinda, leopard, wild dog and cheetah.
The Selinda Reserve is ecologically similar to the Linyanti Reserve, but differs in the increased extent of its floodplains. Like the Linyanti, in the dry winter months, enormous herds of elephant remain close to the permanent water of the Zibadianja Lagoon (the Savute Channel’s origin) and the Linyanti waters.
Whats Not Included
Children of 8 years and older accepted
Zarafa Camp is located near the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savute Channel, and is one of the best game viewing areas possibly the world. All of the wildlife found in Chobe is present at Zarafa Camp, with excellent density and variety of both birds and mammals. The camp is set within the 320,000 acre private Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana, which is well known for its intimate wildlife experiences.
Zarafa means “the beloved one” or “the lovely one” in Arabic. The name comes from a giraffe, which was presented to Charles X of France in 1826 by the Viceroy of Egypt. The giraffe was a sensation to all who saw her, and provided inspiration. The new Zarafa Camp lives up to the name, inspiring even the well traveled, and renewing the spirit of all who visit.
Zarafa has won just about every award for style and conservation in the industry and for good reason. It is often listed as the finest camp in Africa.
The lodge lies in the forested edge of an island and takes full advantage of the views over floodplains of the Zibadianja Lagoon. The camp is of extremely high quality with large open spaces and voluminous accommodation.
Spread along the fringes of the trees, the central main area is flanked on either side by two sets of accommodation. One side of the lodge houses the jungle gym.
Although the camp is quite sizable, it is still quite intimate in the fact that it only really houses a maximum of 8 guests, a fact reflected in the communal area which although opulent, still feels cosy. This main area is constructed in a marquee style, canvas tent with a large central lounge furnished to a high standard with settees and armchairs and ornate wooden crafts.
A simple but elegant bar sits at one end and there is ample space to host dinner either under cover or on the large veranda outside whilst enjoying the sweeping views over the floodplains.
This camp is stylish and elegant in a intimate way.
The individual rooms are so impressive that you may not need, nor want to spend too much time in the main living area of the lodge itself. Tents that are again built in the marquee style canvas are very large and extremely well appointed. Built on raised decking made from old reclaimed teak, the rooms are shaped in a rectangular fashion fronting onto the flood plains.
The whole front of the tent is able to be rolled up thus giving you a complete open planned aspect onto the veranda and the Delta beyond. A very large feature bed with solid wood headboard and bedside cabinets, all covered by an ornate feature mosquito, net dominates the accommodation. Behind the bed is more than enough room to house a wooden chest of drawers and hanging space in a wardrobe area.
The bathing area to the left is open planned and very large. Again extremely well appointed, there is also the unusual inclusion of a copper roll-top bath with a great view. A second unusual feature within this accommodation is a beautiful copper gas fireplace, which is strategically placed between the bathroom and the bedroom to allay the chill of the winter months. there is also an outside shower for guests to use al-fresco.
The third unusual feature is a private en-suite lounge area that has the ability of being sectioned off by canvas partition. This lounge houses various settees and armchairs together with more ornate furnishing and a minibar.
The private verandah, running the length of the front of the tent, offers a private plunge pool, outdoor lounge and sweeping views of Zibadianja Lagoon’s waters.
Each tent comes with its own Canon professional camera including a Canon 40D body and 35-135 mm and 100-400mm zoom lenses for use during a stay. Photos are then burned to a DVD as a souvenir at the end of your stay. The accommodation at Zarafa really does feel like a lodge within a lodge
Zarafa Camp sits on an island in the floodplains of southern shores of the Zibadianja Lagoon, which is the source of the Savute Channel. Positioned in the extreme eastern side of the Selinda Reserve, its location is in prime wildlife territory. Zarafa Camp sits on an island in the floodplains of southern shores of the Zibadianja Lagoon, which is the source of the Savute Channel. Positioned in the extreme eastern side of the Selinda Reserve, its location is in prime wildlife territory.
There are few places in northern Botswana as dynamic as the Selinda Reserve, which is centred on the famous Selinda Spillway, which weaves its way east, linking the far reaches of the Okavango Delta in the south with the Linyanti water systems in the east. The Selinda Reserve is west (upstream) from Savute Channel and Chobe, so it has all the advantages of both of those famous areas but with the tremendous advantage of exclusivity. It is a truly spectacular and unique landscape.
Zarafa Camp boasts all of the Chobe wildlife, with a varied bird and mammal community. Abundant plains game can be found here including lechwe, kudu, buffalo, zebra and giraffe. It is also a predator-rich reserve including cheetah, wild dog, lion, and leopard. The massive herds of elephant are another highlight while a wide variety of birds – some 300 or more – can be seen.
The Selinda Reserve is a private 135 000-hectare (330 000-acre) wildlife area which follows the floodplains of the Selinda Spillway, the waterway that winds its way through dry countryside to connect the Okavango Delta in the west to the Linyanti and Kwando wetlands and rivers in the east. The full length of the Selinda Spillway winds its way through the Selinda Reserve and forms a magnet for the wildlife of the region
Please note: These are retail rates and should be seen as indicative, and they can change. All rates are subject to availability. Safari Lifestyles will always endeavour to provide you with prices under these rates if possible.