For the most exclusive getaway in Mother Nature’s pristine playground, look no further than Selinda Camp in northern Botswana. It is known and celebrated as both a barefoot luxury safari retreat and the location of wildlife documentary filmmaking by renowned conservationists, Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Now, Selinda Camp has unveiled a new look after closing for a touch-up, and the result is even more breathtaking than before. It retains that openness we’ve always loved, and the high A-frame thatched roofs that resemble the traditional look of the Sangwali village in the Caprivi Strip. The refurbishments have emphasised Robinson Crusoe-style design, and are grounded by the four elements: Earth, Fire, Air, and Water.
Located in the 130 000-hectare Selinda Reserve, on the banks of the Selinda Spillway where it joins the Linyanti River, this is a place of pristine wilderness. Northern Botswana’s Okavango Delta wetland and associated channels and lagoons are rich in biodiversity and flourishing with wildlife. The presence of water being the source of all life here. Selinda Camp’s design pays homage to this essential natural element in the splashes of blue hues, pieces of drift wood, and inviting plunge pools outside each guest room.
The element of air is evident in the architectural design, which has left so much open space and freedom for breezes to move through living areas. The thatched roofs rise high above the wooden floors of the main guest area and the lack of walls and doors lets all the fresh air in Selinda flow right on through. Rustic textures and raw wood bring everything down to earth, making inhabitants at Selinda Camp feel connected to the earth element of the natural world. Flickering lanterns, burning amber sunsets, and bare copper light fittings hint at the presence of fire – the fourth element – tying the camp’s new look together in a warm embrace.
The ivory-coloured canvas walls and draped canvas ceilings in the bedrooms and parts of the dining and lounge area is classic nostalgia reminiscent of the old days of David Livingstone’s African explorations. Worn floor rugs blanket the wooden floors, large carved doors with brass knockers are items you’d expect to find in old Arabic cities, but that fit in just perfectly with Selinda’s inter-cultural atmosphere. African spears meet aged brass and shiny copper, bringing the Afro-European luxury to the walls and table tops decorated throughout the camp. Leather sofas and re-purposed wooden tables meet modern textiles and patterned materials to create a fusion of the old and the new. Nothing looks like it belongs, yet nothing looks out of place. A perfectly even victory of design.
There are just three guest rooms, each located in its own little spot beneath the trees along the spillway, and there is a totally private villa for exclusive occupation. It has two tented bedrooms, sleeping four people in total, plus guests will have a private chef, safari guide and game viewing vehicle for total freedom and personalisation of the experience. Each room has a private plunge pool, en suite bathroom, and viewing deck with outdoor lounge. There are no modern luxuries like no air-conditioning or WiFi, but there are fans for cooling the rooms and mosquito nets enclosing the all-cotton comfortable beds.
Selinda Camp only caters for six guests at a time, keeping things ultimately personal and intimate. It’s a destination of dreams and the expertise of the camp staff will make sure that the experience is as dreamy as the destination. Enjoy a therapeutic and relaxing massage on your own private deck, poolside with a view of wandering wildlife. Eat deliciously prepared food from a dining area that has 360-degree views of the outdoors. Spend hours reading, listening, absorbing, and resting in any one of the numerous comfortable relaxation areas. And of course, there is the private wilderness full of Botswana’s most celebrated animal species to explore every day!
Both the local pride of lions and pack of African wild dogs have featured in the Joubert’s famed documentaries, while herds of buffalo, big bull elephants, territorial hippos, towering giraffes, and bounding lechwe find residence in this magnificent place. Game drives with experienced, expertly trained field guides create amazing wildlife encounters and photographic opportunities; bush walks bring to life the tracks and signs left behind by animals in the wild; catch-and-release fishing, mokoro-cruising, and other water-orientated activities are on offer seasonally when water levels allow.
There is so very much to explore and enjoy at this masterpiece of a safari camp. It’s one of sublime exclusivity, safari quality, and now renewed style and glamour, and it will leave an everlasting impression. Honeymoon, anyone? Get in touch.