GreatPlains ZarafaCamp 001

Welcome to Zarafa Camp

The culmination of a lifetime’s experience, built with grace and love in honour of an incredible wilderness…

“Zarafa Camp,” says Dereck Joubert, CEO of Great Plains Conservation, “is a beautiful sweeping design we had a little fun with and epitomises the romantic Botswana safari many seek. The décor is hand-made in a colonial style, all from reclaimed wood, which we purchased after the 2005 Tsunami to support local artisans in the East. I love spending an afternoon drifting quietly along the edges of the Zibadianja Lake in our houseboat. Sharing great stories as we watch the setting sun cast long shadows over huge herds of hippos and crocodiles or gently track elephant bulls as they swim the deep water from island to island. We recently watched painted dogs (wild dogs) chase an impala into this lake once, only to have it stolen by a hippo!

Zarafa Camp was the first camp where we added our beautiful copper baths to the suite’s bathrooms. That romantic Botswana safari touch has become our signature design feature in all our camps, especially our Réserve Collection camps. We inserted Zanzibar doors to the suite’s designs, and the camp’s name Zarafa (meaning Beloved One) is a nod to the story of the first giraffe to be taken from Africa to Europe as a gift to King Charles X of France. The Dhow Suite at Zarafa pays homage to this story and is an extension of the camp, and that story, downstream from the main camp.

We are, in essence, storytellers, of which there is still a beautiful ancient history in Africa to be told.”

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Zarafa Camp is located on the private 130,000-hectare (320,000-acre) Selinda Reserve. The Selinda Reserve links Botswana’s Okavango Delta with the Linyanti waterways, and every area of the camp offers stunning views over the Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the Savuti Channel.

Zarafa Camp’s four guest suites individually measure over 100 square meters (1000 square feet) under flowing canvas. Each suite rests on raised reclaimed railway sleeper decking, with the interiors consisting of a lounge area that flows to a beautiful bedroom and an open layout indoor bathroom complete with a copper claw-foot bath. Expansive outdoor decking that wraps around each guest suite offers guests a private plunge pool, outdoor seating and private outdoor shower.

In early 2023, Zarafa closed for a short period. The wine cellar was relocated, and new, refreshing décor added, as well as new water and solar systems were installed.

With all its careful appointments, Zarafa Camp maintains the perfect balance between luxury and adventure that offers that romantic Botswana safari experience. Under a canopy of ebony trees, the main camp area offers guests a sizable main lounge, library, dining area and bush boutique. An outdoor gym and in-room massage are available. The camp has no equal when it comes to its environmental credentials. The camp’s construction consists of recycled hardwoods and canvas. All the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm, and a biogas system converts vegetable waste into usable cooking gas.

The private Selinda Reserve is home to leopard, lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, red lechwe, zebra and giraffe. It is also a refuge for some uncommon species, such as African wild dogs, roan and sable. And for birders, the nearby African skimmer colony is a highlight. From camp, hippos are visible in the Lagoon, and elephants wander through regularly. It is an exciting area, and guests are in the heart of this wilderness wonderland.

Zarafa Camp (and the nearby The Dhow Suite at Zarafa) were Botswana’s first Relais & Châteaux member properties. Today they are joined by our Selinda CampSelinda SuiteDuba Plains Camp and Duba Plains Suite as proud members in Botswana.

Conservation is only successful when communities living alongside wildlife and protected areas are afforded opportunities to learn, interact, and benefit from these conserved areas. In Ngamiland, in the upper reaches of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, there is a community we care deeply about and want to support in their journey to prosperity, with strong links to the environment. In support of that community, the Great Plains Foundation launched the Great Plains Academy to provide personal and community enrichment opportunities for individuals living alongside wildlife. The goal of the Great Plains Academy is to provide vocational training, supplemental education and scholarships with a conservation and tourism focus to those living alongside Botswana’s Okavango Delta. All programs seek to invest in the skill and capacity of the individual while imparting respect for natural heritage and a solid conservation ethic.

Quick Key

GreatPlains fireplace

$ 1 935
11 January – 31 March 2024

$ 2 460
01 April – 14 June 2024 & 01 November – 19 December 2024

$ 3 665
15 June – 31 October 2024 & 20 December 2024 – 10 January 2025

The above rates are in US$ and based on a per person per night sharing basis. Single guest, child rates, private safari drive and guide rates are available on request

Zarafa Gallery

In addition to our own programs, Great Plains Foundation keeps a list of school needs in the countries where we work.

Needed items can be hand-carried by travellers or we can help purchase them locally. To learn more or to help support students and educators as part of your trip please reach out to