Lodges

Zarafa Camp

Style and service in a remote floodplain paradise

Zarafa Camp

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 hotel

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!).

The rooms

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.

On safari

Experiences

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.

When to go

Linyanti by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Weather is characterised by high temperatures, a drop in humidity and relatively high rainfall.
  • A month of high excitement, due to the many newborns afoot, predator hunts are a frequent occurrence.
  • A wonderful time for photography, vegetation is green and in bloom, migratory birds are present and in breeding plumage, the animals are all in prime condition.
  • Make sure the mosquito repellent is packed during this time of year.

February

Season: Wet
  • Weather is characterised by high temperatures, a drop in humidity and relatively high rainfall.
  • A month of high excitement, due to the many newborns afoot, predator hunts are a frequent occurrence.
  • A wonderful time for photography, vegetation is lush and in bloom, migratory birds are present and in breeding plumage, the animals are all in prime condition.
  • Make sure the mosquito repellent is packed during this time of year.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are still quite hot, with the number of rainy days decreasing, expect the occasional afternoon shower.
  • Although wildlife is still more spread out than the dry months, wonderful diversity more than makes up for this.
  • An interesting time for photography, vegetation is green, migratory birds are present and the animals are all in prime condition.
  • Make sure the mosquito repellent is packed during this time of year.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures begin to cool, the average daily sunshine hours begin to climb and rain is relatively rare.
  • Some of the animals will still be spread out, however lion, leopard, wild dog and cheetah usually add to the safari excitement .
  • Enjoy the last opportunity to view the migratory birds before they head North for the dry winter months.
  • This is the last opportunity to capture a lush green wilderness before the dry winter months set in, changing the landscape drastically.

May

Season: Dry
  • A transition month from wet summer to dry winter, offering moderate temperatures and little to no rain.
  • The "emerald season" is coming to an end, vegetation will slowly begin to thin and animals will migrate into the area following the year round water sources.
  • Improved visibility will increase your chances of spotting the rare and endangered Sable and Roan antelope.
  • A great time of year to star gaze, with relatively few clouds and no ambient light, enjoy a sky twinkling with a blanket of stars.

June

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures drop considerably in the morning and evenings, with the daylight hours being comfortably warm.
  • Animals return to the region as water becomes scarce elsewhere, leading to increased interactions between species, as they compete for the limited resources.
  • This is usually the best time to view the elusive wild dogs of the region as they begin their denning period.
  • Vegetation has started to thin, improving chances of spotting the rare and endangered Sable and Roan antelope.
  • Remember to pack a winter jacket, as frost can occur on particularly cold June mornings.

July

Season: Dry
  • The best time to visit, with warm daytime weather, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky.
  • July offers ideal photographic conditions, the low humidity and sparse vegetation means wonderful image clarity and no shortage picture perfect moments.
  • Vegetation is thin due to the lack of rainfall, causing animals to cluster around the remaining water sources and the Savute Channel.
  • This is usually the best time to view the endangered wild dogs of the region as they den over this month.
  • Be sure to pack a warm jacket for the early morning and late evenings, as temperatures can get chilly.

August

Season: Dry
  • The best time to visit, with warm daytime weather, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky.
  • Vegetation is thin due to the lack of rainfall causing, animals to cluster around the remaining water sources and the Savute Channel.
  • August offers ideal photographic conditions, low humidity and sparse vegetation means wonderful image clarity and no shortage of picture perfect moments.
  • This is usually the best time to view the wild dogs of region as their denning period slowly approaches an end.
  • Be sure to pack a warm jacket for the early morning and late evenings, as temperatures can get chilly.

September

Season: Dry
  • The best time to visit, with warm daytime weather, low humidity and not a cloud in the sky.
  • Be sure to pack a warm jacket for the early morning and late evenings, as temperatures can get chilly.
  • Vegetation is thin due to the lack of rainfall causing animals to cluster around the remaining water sources and the Savute Channel.
  • September offers ideal photographic conditions, low humidity and sparse vegetation means wonderful image clarity and no shortage of picture perfect moments.
  • A great time for landscape photography with the crisp mornings ensuring views for miles around.

October

Season: Dry
  • October is also a transitional month with temperatures being hot and humid preceding the arrival of the wet season.
  • This is the harshest month of the year, water and food is scarce causing animals to congregate along water sources.
  • Game viewing is still very good with vegetation sparse, ensuring quality sightings of a wide variety of wildlife.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration in this month.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures and humidity are still high with the arrival of the summer rains, expect afternoon showers only.
  • The arrival of the rains causes animals to spread out once more, enjoying a time of plenty as water sources are replenished for the coming months.
  • Migratory birds begin to return, creating a hive of activity and colour in the tree tops.
  • Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day to avoid dehydration in this month.

December

Season: Wet
  • A wonderful time of year to get out on foot, experiencing all the smaller details often missed during game drive.
  • Weather is becoming less hot and humid, with afternoon showers providing solace from the African heat.
  • The birthing season kicks off towards the end of the month, causing a buzz of predator excitement.
  • The "emerald season" is the perfect time for photography, plants are green and in bloom, migratory birds are in full breeding plumage and the animals are all in prime condition.

Wildlife


The Linyanti's diverse environment is composed of woodlands, marshlands, savannah and palm islands, attracting a wide variety of species. The area is famous for large herds of elephant, buffalo, giraffe, roan, sable, zebra, and more. However, it is the predators that take centre stage in the Linyanti, with the rare wild dog, lion, cheetah and leopard producing some thrilling encounters.

Map

Customise our trips online

Change lodges, add new destinations and make our suggested trips your own.

Explore trips

Get the inside scoop on safaris and where to go in Africa

Just the good stuff in your inbox every now and again!