Highlights of Zarafa Camp
- Zarafa is probably the most eco-friendly safari camp in Botswana
- Named as one of Tatler magazine’s top 101 hotels and lodges
- Superb location overlooking Zibadianja Lagoon in the Linyanti Swamps
- Only 4 luxurious suites each over 100sqm in size
Zarafa Camp on the Selinda Reserve is one of the most luxurious and eco-friendly of all camps in Botswana. National Geographic Adventure magazine has just honoured Zarafa as one of the world’s top 50 eco-lodges. Tatler Magazine has recognised Zarafa Camp as one of its top 101 hotels and lodges in the world.
The camp is blessed with an extraordinary location in the eastern sector of the Selinda Reserve (320,000 acres) which lies within the broader Linyanti Swamps adjacent to the Chobe Park. The Selinda Reserve links the Okavango Delta with the Chobe – Savute corridors. It overlooks the vast savanna and floodplains of the crystal clear Zibadianja Lagoon so that every area of the camp has a magnificent view. The enormous Jackalberry shady trees, the palm fringed savanna, the rich wildlife and birdlife concentrations on view characterise Zarafa as does its elevated views across the flood plain and lagoon.
Zarafa Camp has just four large and luxuriously appointed double or twin ‘marquis style’ tents. Each tented rooms is close on 100 square meters in size (approx 1000 sq. feet) and is positioned along the edge of the forests to take advantage of the spectacular view over the floodplains whilst offering cool shade. Each tent has a spacious bedroom with en-suite bathroom with copper bath & shower (as well as an outdoor shower). Outside is a large deck with private pool. Overhead fans, flowing and seductive mosquito nets, and a beautiful handcrafted copper fireplace – strategically placed between the bathroom and bedroom for the winter months – complete the picture . The furniture has been handcrafted and is made from recycled ancient hardwoods.
Under an impressive canopy of African ebony trees, the camp has a sizable main lounge, with adjacent library and dining area. A curio shop and ‘jungle gym’ satiate those who need retail therapy or a good work out.
Zarafa Camp has to be one of the few luxury camps in the world that is powered entirely from the sun. The in-house electricity generation system coupled with stringent use of recycled hardwoods and careful operating processes throughout the camp make this one of the ‘greenest’ camps on the planet. Nothing has been spared to keep carbon and emissions footprint to the minimum. All electricity to run ice machines, the cold room for food and drinks, deep freezers, lighting and all guest appliances is derived from their solar farm at the back of the camp. ‘Bio gas’ plants recycle waste into usable cooking gas.
The Dhow Suites of Zarafa Villa offers the ultimate private retreat. Operating on an exclusive use basis for just four to six guests, the Suites are hosted separately from the main camp with their own private chef and staff. The two tented suites share a private sitting area and retain an indoor/outdoor ambiance of palatial proportions. There’s an expansive veranda with a private pool on the lower deck and dining/sitting area upstairs for views across the lagoon.
Game viewing at Zarafa Camp
The Selinda Reserve in Botswana is the domain of the big cats and game-viewing is both private and riveting. The lagoon is the source of the famous Savute channel but also the vital water source for wildlife. Dry season sightings boast big herds of buffalo and elephant. Activities at Zarafa are not regimented. Inevitably though, your activities are driven by the best game viewing times, the animal movements, or the weather. Wildlife and nature drives often start at dawn because this is the best time when the predators are active. You usually return mid to late morning for brunch, and head out again in the mid to late afternoon. The midday siesta time can be spent at one of Zarafa’s waterholes in an elevated hide. Short walks from camp with their fully qualified guides are also offered.
Safari "Marquis" Styled tents on raised decking with Private PoolsZarafa Camp is designed with exclusivity and privacy at its core. Each tent is positioned on the forest's edge, rimming the shores of the floodplains and far from a neighbour. The 1,000 square foot 'marquis style' canvas tents are expansive and open-air without exposing guests to the elements. Each of the three "rooms" of the tent is decorated with custom-made furniture, handcrafted from recycled ancient hardwoods. The raised decks, constructed of recycled African railroad sleepers, form the tent's foundation.
Upon entry is a large lounge appointed with a leather sofa, armchairs, personal bar and writing desk. Adjoining the lounge is the main bedroom and dressing area, where the overhead fans and seductive mosquito nets set the ambiance. Exiting the bedroom, a beautiful copper gas fireplace is strategically placed between the bathroom and the bedroom to allay the chill of the winter months. The main bathroom is comprised of a copper bath and shower, double sinks and private toilet. Off the bathroom, the raised walkway leads to the outdoor shower, complete with wrap around showerheads! The private verandah, running the length of the front of the tent, offers a private plunge pool, outdoor lounge and sweeping view of Zibadianja Lagoon's waters.
In keeping with the style of the guest tents, Zarafa’s main lounge is also under 'marquis style' canvas. The emphasis of the architecture is on bringing the outside in. A grand African ebony tree provides shade while the breeze off the lagoon cools the air. Furnished in the same 'campaign' style furniture, the lounge evokes a traditional safari ambiance with dark woods and rich leathers. This style continues in the private library, home to a collection of prized works on Africa. After a day's exploits in the Reserve, tales and stories are exchanged around the fire pit on the edge of the main verandah, with stargazing above.
Meals are generally table d’hôte and include a light breakfast at dawn, a hearty brunch on return from the morning activity, afternoon tea and snacks before the afternoon activity, rounded off with a sumptuous dinner in the evening. Special meals and requirements can be catered for on request. All local soft drinks, wines, spirits and beers are included in the tariff.
A small boutique shop stocks locally made goods and quality African artifacts. There is a small ‘jungle’ gym with rowing machine, treadmill, free weights and yoga equipment. In-room massage is available (at additional cost).
Each tent comes with its own Canon professional camera including a Canon 5D 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.
Zarafa's villa: The Dhow Suites - $ 0The Zarafa Dhow Suites is an intimate, two room exquisite tented villa located on the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, an area linking the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/Savute corridors. Few properties rival the location of this little gem built entirely under canvas, as one of the largest tents ever built on the continent. The Suites are located adjacent to Zarafa Camp, Botswana’s first and only Relais & Chateaux property. Overlooking the crystal waters of Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the famous Savute Channel, every area of camp has a magnificent view. The lagoon is also the water source for a tremendous population of wildlife – dry season sightings boast buffalo and elephant by the hundreds.
Zarafa Camp is the brainchild of the founders of Great Plains Conservation, who pooled their collective experience on safari to create what they deemed to be the best and most environmentally innovative camp. 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. She travelled from Africa in a traditional Dhow boat, and it was on this journey that she was given her name reflecting her true elegance and splendor.
The villa, 210 square metre (2,260 sq ft) in extent, is under beige, flowing canvas, with canopy ceilings and completely open (yet netted) sides. Entering through the heavy wood Lamu door transports guests to a lavish space of deep reds, browns, brass and copper, evoking richness and beauty. Central to the Dhow Suites are a full lounge and dining area fitted dining table, coffee table with cappuccino machines and a full-length leather couch and chairs.
Two large bedrooms are connected to either side of the main area designed with an open layout bathroom with impressive copper claw foot bath, indoor shower, separate loo and double basins and even an open fire, with copper flu, to heat the room in winter.
A large decking area fronts onto the suites with a 5 x 2.5 metre swimming pool, exercise bike and full-body outdoor showers for each room, all with views of pristine Botswana wilderness.
The adjoining main camp has a curio shop for those who need retail therapy and an in-room massage is also available.
The Dhow Suites successfully retain a clearly African feel, while balancing that delicate relationship between personal and informal and romance and adventure. There is no equal in terms of its environmental credentials and its careful appointments.