Zarafa Camp


Re-opened in June 2008 as Zibadianja Camp and later re-named Zarafa, its beautiful design, ‘green’ construction and spectacular new location made it an immediate recipient of numerous accolades. 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. Each of the camp’s four immense tented suites are raised up on wooden decking and shaded by a canopy of African ebony and Red ivory trees, each with uninterrupted views.


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 is a Pack for a Purpose partner - click here to learn more.


Rooms at Zarafa Camp


Each tent is positioned on the forest's edge, rimming the shores of the floodplains and far from a neighbor. 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 shower heads! The private veranda, running the length of the front of the tent, offers a private plunge pool, outdoor lounge and sweeping view of Zibadianja Lagoon's waters.


Activities & The Experience at Zarafa Camp


There is a harmony to Zarafa. Perhaps it is the camp’s intimate size, the calming waters of the lagoon or the genuine nature of the staff, but whatever the case, it is a treasure. The privacy of the Selinda Reserve offers us the ultimate in flexibility. The options to explore the area by foot, pontoon boat or game drive vehicle open up endless opportunities for extraordinary sightings.


In keeping with the tradition of rising early to catch the morning light and the emerging activity, we usually depart camp at daybreak. At the peak of our dry winter months, we have counted at least 8,500 elephants in the Reserve - on par with populations found in Chobe National Park. Their antics are a joy to watch and photograph, especially when they are frolicking in the Lagoon and Spillway.


As is expected in a reserve of this size, wildlife varies from area to area in response to changes in vegetation and hydrology. Zarafa, due to its location close to Zibadianja Lagoon, has impressive pods of hippo and crocodiles that are a regular sighting. Water birds abound with frequent sightings of the amusing Black egret and stately Saddle-billed stork. Pied kingfishers dive for small fish while African fish eagles call in the distance. The whole scene is quintessentially Botswana.


Selinda Reserve is known for a few ‘specials’. African wild dogs have denned near camp for the last three seasons (2008, 2009 & 2010). Given this species plight, it is a true blessing to have fairly common sightings.The Selinda lions, affectionately known as the ‘surfing lions’ for their penchant for hunting hippo, are legendary. Their skill at hunting such large prey under trying conditions is unrivaled.


The open plains dotted throughout the Reserve provide ideal habitat for cheetah, and we’ve recently added two rescued young males to the population (from a rescue relocation operation near Ghanzi). Botswana is renowned for its leopard sightings, and Zarafa is no exception. A few residents often come through camp on their nightly prowls.


As the sun rises high in the sky and temperatures follow, we retreat to Zarafa Camp for a well-earned brunch and siesta. This is of course, only if we so chose. If we are tracking a sighting or witness to an extraordinary event, then we will stay in the bush to watch it unfold. Brunch can wait!

And finally, as the sun lowers again and the light softens we depart for our afternoon exploration and continue past nightfall in search of nocturnal species such as civet, genet, and possibly even aardvark.


Zarafa Camp


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Rates -
Dates Per Person Double Single Supplement
Please call us at 1.800.414.3090 for more information about incorporating Zarafa into your safari.
Registered Seller of Travel License # 602 127 852.    •   

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