ZarafaCamp wilddog

Africa’s Greenest Game Lodges: Zarafa Camp

Last week’s feature, Mombo Camp, was an introduction into the ultra-luxurious world of eco-friendly safaris, and it delivered. Not much changes this week, as we bring you Zarafa Camp, the exclusive of the exclusive; from its private platform in the Selinda Game Reserve in Botswana’s northern Linyanti, to its gloriously spacious ‘canvas homes’. Intended for the safari of a lifetime, Zarafa evokes awe and imprints memories of an elite African experience. What is proved at this masterpiece delta camp, is that uncompromised decadence does not have to come at the cost of the environment, something that David Bristow and Colin Bell emphasise in their book, Africa’s Finest. Zarafa Camp celebrates its incredibly special environment, treasuring the natural elements that make Africa what it is; remote, sensual, peaceful and enriching.

Where this beautiful construction adorns the Zibadianja Lake, co-founders of Great Plains Conservation and awarded wildlife filmmakers, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, lived for a good two decades. Their expressed appreciation for Africa and its wild residents is contagious, and here, at Zarafa Camp, guests to Botswana are invited to enjoy their home country in absolute indulgence. The décor around camp is reminiscent of an older era, where copper bath tubs and antique ottomans furnished houses. Leather coverings and Persian carpets collaborate to create warmth and comfort alongside the evident sense of wealth and luxury.

Zarafa Camp tent interior. © Dana Allen
Copper bathtubs in Zarafa Camp tents. © Dana Allen

Canvas walls and ceilings keep with the tented style that is so loved on safari, with zip-up windows allowing one to invite in the light or close up for privacy. Dark floors and other woodwork has been built using ancient teak that has been reinvented from an old life as railway sleepers. Everything used to construct Zarafa is sustainable for the environment, and everything used in the flawless operation of this camp leaves the lightest footprints possible on the precious wetland upon which it rests. 177 Solar panels harness the sun’s rays and converts the energy into plentiful heat and power, so that all baths, indoor and outdoor showers in each of the four tents is more than generously supplied.

Inside each of these liberally sized accommodations is a king size bed, elegantly draped in mosquito netting, softly lit lanterns illuminating the Arabian influence that runs through the tents’ design. There are lounges adjoining the bedrooms; one’s private space to relax, to read and to gaze wonderingly out at the lake and the Mahogany trees that root themselves around camp. Truly unique at Zarafa Camp are the Canon, high shutter-speed digital cameras that await guests in their tents, for personal use during their stay. Telescopes also enhance the marvellous viewing that can be done from the private, wooden verandas, allowing guests to look more closely at the stellar skies above.

Looking out onto the Zibadianja Lake from bed. © Dana Allen
Each tent at Zarafa Camp has a private lounge and wooden veranda for ultimate relaxation. © Dana Allen

At quite a hefty asking price, the quality of service need not be questioned. Zarafa is run like a well-oiled machine. Undeniable pride is evident in the dishes that are presented at meal times, and in the delivery of knowledge from guides and staff. Sadly, rhinos no longer amble their way through the Selinda Game Reserve, but what this corridor of the Delta offers is relief to the pressurising elephant population of Chobe. The world’s largest land mammal thrives in Zarafa’s surroundings, as do the endangered cheetah and Painted dog. Lions, leopards, hyenas and hippos are a part of what game drives have to offer, while the combination of bird songs trickle mysteriously from the trees, until one settles on Zarafa’s expansive deck and awaits the evening’s bustle of birdlife.

Contact us to arrange your unforgettable safari at Zarafa Camp.

Chloe Cooper

© Dana Allen
© Dana Allen