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Brian Huggins   Meet Brian, one of our travel experts for Botswana.


Brian has always nurtured his passion for travel in his spare time. He's traveled the world, visiting over 40 countries. Over time, this passion grew to the point where he began to search for opportunities to work in the travel industry. He's been an African Specialist at Mango Safaris since early 2006.


Zarafa Camp

Explore > Botswana > Linyanti Wetlands > Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp

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Zarafa Camp - Zarafa Camp. Copyright Great Plains Conservation-Zarafa Camp. Just a spacer

An Overview of Zarafa Camp

As the heat of the day disipates and the dust of the plains settles, a beautiful peace descends on the Zibadianja Lagoon, source of the Savute Channel.

A Pel's fishing owl softly purrs in the canopy of a giant ebony tree and the hippos' mocking laughter echoes across the water…

This is where Dereck and Beverly Joubert, co-founders of Great Plains Conservation, lay their weary heads many long years ago, exhausted from filming. The tranquility they found as they slept under the tree stayed with them, and a decade and a half later, having raised enough money to begin their Great Plains journey, the magnificent ebony became the focal point of a camp whose name had a fascinating journey all of its own… Zarafa.

In 1826 the Viceroy of Egypt presented to Charles X of France a giraffe that had been discovered in Nubia. This giraffe was floated down the Nile in a dhow to Alexandria before being shipped to Marseille and then walked to Paris. Everyone who saw the giraffe fell in love with her and asked what she was called. The Nubians, having no name for the animal, called her simply 'Zarafa,' which is Arabic for 'the beloved one' and which the French then pronounced 'giraffe'.

The camp was originally called Zibadianja when it opened in 2008, but its beautiful design, 'green' construction and amazing position overlooking the lagoon quickly made it the beloved of all who laid eyes on it. So it became Zarafa, in name and in spirit.

Just four magnificent tented villas and a spectacular main area, all raised on decking to take advantage of views over the lagoon, reflect the desire for exclusivity and privacy which inspired Zarafa's design.

Construction took eco-friendly principles to new levels of excellence and focussed on recycling, with repurposed teak railroad sleepers for flooring and furniture made from mahogany washed up in the 2005 tsunami, commissioned in an effort to give Indonesians affected by the disaster much-needed work.

The result is a safari camp like no other, and one that you will quickly fall in love with and want to return to, time and again.



See thumbnails of all photos for this point of interest.

Overview



Zarafa Camp evokes a sense of old-style safari with its four large, luxuriously appointed double or twin 'marquis style' tents. Hosting a maximum of eight guests, the emphasis at Zarafa Camp is on offering a personalised and private experience to guests - perfect for those who favour a more intimate experience or those who prefer the entire camp for their own, exclusive use.

A large bedroom, en-suite bathroom, featuring a copper bath and both indoor and outdoor showers, are standard. The main area at Zarafa Camp is furnished in the same 'campaign' style as the tents and evokes the traditional safari ambiance of the turn of the 20th century. Lounge and dining facilities may be enjoyed under canvas or on the full-length deck shaded by giant broad-leafed trees.

Zarafa Camp boasts all of the Chobe wildlife, with a varied bird and mammal community. Abundant plains game can be found here including lechwe, kudu, buffalo, zebra and giraffe. It is also a predator-rich reserve including cheetah, wild dog, lion, and leopard. The massive herds of elephant are another highlight while a wide variety of birds - some 300 or more - can be seen.

Zarafa Camp is located near the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savute Channel, and is one of the best game viewing areas possibly the world. All of the wildlife found in Chobe is present at Zarafa Camp, with excellent density and variety of both birds and mammals.


The Selinda Reserve is a private 135 000-hectare (330 000-acre) wildlife area which follows the floodplains of the Selinda Spillway, the waterway that winds its way through dry countryside to connect the Okavango Delta in the west to the Linyanti and Kwando wetlands and rivers in the east. The full length of the Selinda Spillway winds its way through the Selinda Reserve and forms a magnet for the wildlife of the region.

As Botswana is so flat, this river can flow in one of two directions or - as happens in some years - it can flow in both! Waters from the Okavango Delta pour into the Selinda Spillway and flow from west to east. In the extreme east of the Selinda Reserve, waters from the Kwando and Linyanti rivers and floodplains force their way up the Selinda Spillway from east to west. Only in years of exceptional water levels in both these systems does the water that flows in from both the east and the west join up.

The area in which Zafara Camp is situated blessed with a variety of habitats: wide-open savannah dotted with attractive palm trees; thirst-quenching waterways surrounded by dry woodland; and the river systems and floodplains themselves. These waterways draw thousands of animals seeking to quench their thirst in the dry season.

The Zafara Camp floodplains are host to a wide diversity of antelope and plains game. Game drives are fruitful with a multiplicity of antelope, Burchell's zebra, southern giraffe, blue wildebeest, and plenty of elephant and buffalo to be seen. Predator viewing is exceptional, including the incredible hippo-killing lions of Selinda, leopard, wild dog and cheetah.


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