Style and service in a remote floodplain paradise
Set on the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of northern Botswana's Savute Channel, and overlooking the open plains of the enormous Linyanti Selinda Concession, Zarafa (“the beloved one”) Camp was established in 2008 by award-winning wildlife film-makers Derek and Beverly Joubert. You can only reach this remote camp by air, but it's worth the trip, and every cent, for its five-star comforts, intimate accommodation, excellent service and guiding, glowing eco-credentials and the sheer number of animals that roam free and unrestrained in the landscape. The extravagant sunsets must be mentioned – they are a photographer's dream!
At the lodge
The large tented communal structure houses the dining (five-star cuisine here), seating and deck areas, and a well-stocked bar. The decor is sophisticated/colonial, with repurposed teak railway-sleeper flooring and furniture made from mahogany washed up in the 2005 tsunami, commissioned to give the disaster-struck Indonesians much-needed work. Outside is a deck, ideal for unwinding, watching wildlife or gazing up at the giant ebony tree that forms the heart of the lodge (ask about its history!).
This intimate camp has just four luxurious tented suites, each beautifully furnished with a nod to colonial chic – leather couches, wooden floors and glorious copper bathtubs and indoor and outdoor showers. There's a central fireplace for cold nights, a private plunge pool for steaming afternoons, a king-sized bed and your own exercise equipment. Soak up the views – the tents overlook the waterway so the wildlife is at your doorstep, and darkness reveals the breathtakingly dramatic African night sky.
Activities are tailored to suit each guest but there is the usual array of driving safaris – morning and afternoon – plus the option of staying out after dark to see the nocturnal species. Safari walks are also on offer, and for those needing to fully unwind, a masseuse will come to your tent. Fishing, on a catch-and-release basis, is available seasonally. From April to August you can cruise the waterways to see the wetland wildlife and the beautiful birds.