The culmination of a lifetime’s experience, built with grace and love in honour of an incredible wilderness…

“Zarafa Camp,” says Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains Conservation, “is a beautiful sweeping design we had a little fun with and epitomises the romantic Botswana safari many seek. The décor is hand made in a colonial style, all from reclaimed wood, which we purchased after the 2005 Tsunami to support local artisans in the East. I love spending an afternoon drifting quietly along the edges of the Zibadianja Lake in our houseboat. Sharing great stories as we watch the setting sun cast long shadows over huge herds of hippos and crocodiles or gently track elephant bulls as they swim the deep water from island to island. We recently watched painted dogs (wild dogs) chase impala into this lake once, only to have it stolen by a hippo!

Zarafa Camp was the first camp where we added our beautiful copper baths to the suite’s bathrooms. That romantic Botswana safari touch has become a sort of signature for us in all our camps, especially our Réserve Collection camps. We inserted Zanzibar doors to the suite’s designs, and the camp’s name Zarafa (meaning Beloved One) is a nod to the story of the first giraffe to be taken from Africa to Europe as a gift to King Charles X of France. The Zarafa Dhow Suite pays homage to this story and is an extension of the camp, and that story, downstream from the main camp.

We are, in essence, storytellers, of which there is still a beautiful ancient history of in Africa to be told.”

Under a canopy of ebony trees, the main camp area offers guests a sizable main lounge, library, dining area and bush boutique. An outdoor gym and in-room massage are available. With all its careful appointments, Zarafa Camp maintains the perfect balance between luxury, adventure and offering that romantic Botswana safari experience. The camp has no equal when it comes to its environmental credentials. The camp’s construction consists of recycled hardwoods and canvas. All the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm, and a biogas system converts vegetable waste into usable cooking gas.

The private Selinda Reserve is home to leopard, lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, red lechwe, zebra and giraffe. It is also a refuge for some uncommon species such as African wild dogs, roan and sable. And for birders, the nearby African skimmer colony is a highlight. From camp, hippos are visible in the Lagoon, and elephants wander through regularly. It is an exciting area, and guests are in the heart of this wilderness wonderland.

Zarafa Camp (and the nearby Zarafa Dhow Suite) were Botswana’s first Relais & Châteaux member properties. Today they are joined by our Selinda Camp, Selinda Suite, Duba Plains Camp and Duba Plains Suite as proud members in Botswana.

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  • Location

    Zarafa Camp is located on the private 130,000-hectare (320,000-acre) Selinda Reserve. The Selinda Reserve links Botswana’s Okavango Delta with the Linyanti waterways, and every area of the camp offers stunning views over the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savuti Channel, built around a palm island in a sea of floodplain savannah, Zarafa Camp’s Meru-style tents are all en-suite and built on wooden decks with wide vistas of the surrounding floodplains of Botswana.

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