Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp | Selinda Reserve, Botswana

Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp is a highly exclusive, four-bedroom safari camp situated in the little-visited Selinda Reserve, where it overlooks the Selinda Spillway, the link between the Okavango and Linyanti water systems.

Zarafa Camp (formerly Zibadianja Camp) is among the most remote and exclusive camps in the whole of the Okavango Delta. It is located in the 130,000 hectare Selinda Reserve, where it is one of only two camps (the other being Zarafa’s much larger sister property, Selinda Camp). Here it enjoys an enviable position on the edge of the huge Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savute Channel and the link between the Linyanti and Okavango water systems.

Zarafa Camp is tiny. Accommodating a maximum of eight people, it has just four tents, tucked away in a stand of ivory and ebony trees, on raised wooden decks at the edge of the lagoon. On either side of the camp stretch large areas of permanently dry land—savannah grasslands and mopane woodland—that are rich in game and a pleasure to explore on game drives and walking safaris. This prime position, on the edge of the waterways but surrounded by dry land, allows for a full range of land-based and water-based activities. Walking safaris, day and night game drives, and, for much of the year, boat safaris, are all possible at Zarafa Camp.

Part-owned by National Geographic photographers Dereck and Beverly Joubert, Zarafa Camp has a very distinctive appearance. It boasts huge marquee pole tents with roll-up sides, a nice change from the more familiar East African, or Meru-style tents, which tend to be darker and more confined. There’s a 1920s settler theme throughout, but it’s not at all contrived; the décor is well chosen, a subtle combination of modern furnishings and classic safari pieces. It’s all very tastefully put together, much like its sister camp, Selinda, only Zarafa is more exclusive.

Zarafa Camp is open throughout the year, but water activities are best between April and August.

Accommodation

While Zarafa Camp as a whole is small, its individual tented suites are huge. There are just four of these suites, identical marquee tents built on raised wooden platforms constructed from recycled railway sleepers. They are set on the edge of the lagoon, sheltered under giant ebony and ivory trees.

Each unit is divided into three separate sections, or “rooms”, with canvas walls and Swahili carved wooden doors separating the lounge, air-conditioned bedroom, and en-suite bathroom. They are beautifully-decorated, with soft leather furnishings, thick rugs, wide canopy beds and, in a unique touch, copper fireplaces. The sides of the tents roll up allowing in the light and air, and granting marvellous views. Outside of the tents, private verandahs are furnished with canvas chairs. Each tented suite also features a private plunge pool and outdoor shower.

Zarafa's bathrooms deserve special attention. In keeping with the 1920s theme, they feature freestanding copper bathtubs, twin basins, and indoor and outdoor showers.

There are many little touches that really help Zarafa stand out. In your tent you’ll find a Canon professional camera that is free to use during your stay, a selection of wildlife books, a watercolour painting set, and a self-service bar generously stocked with imported drinks—all provided complimentary.

New for 2014 are the two Zarafa Dhow Suites, which together form a self-contained villa situated close to the main camp, but serviced separately to it. These are designed to be booked on an exclusive basis by a group of family or friends. Together, they accommodate four adults (or a larger family). We have yet to visit the Dhow Suites.

Dining

Despite the remote location of the camp, the kitchen team at Zarafa prepare a wonderful variety of dishes. The lunch and dinner menus are generally fixed, but the staff are very flexible and will cater to most any dietary requirement if requested in advance.

Meals are typically served on the outdoor dinner deck, overlooking the lagoon, but when the weather’s poor they may be served under the shelter of the main marquee.

All drinks are included during your stay at Zarafa Camp.

Facilities

- Lounge and bar
- Dining room
- Boutique store
- Jungle gym

Activities

- Morning and evening game drives
- Waking safaris
- Boating safaris

Child Policy

Zarafa Camp will accommodate children over the age of eight, but they do require that you book a private vehicle (at additional cost) if travelling with children under the age of twelve.