Experience true African safaris with Great Plains Conservation to Botswana and Kenya.
Great Plains Conservation offers a range of safari camps in pristine, remote locations in Botswana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe (not covered in this Blog). Each safari camp provides guests with a meaningful and life-enriching experience and does so with a strong commitment to the lowest environmental impact and highest value safari operation.
Through their utilisation of tourism supporting the economics of conservation, their 9 camps in Botswana, 5 in Kenya, and 2 in Zimbabwe are leaders in environmental sustainability and community partnership.
Great Plains Conservation, a proud member of Relais & Châteaux and National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, is continually recognised for its role in harmonising the needs of local communities and wildlife to provide havens for Africa’s wildlife and the ultimate in guest experience.
At GPC’s luxury camps you can expect 1000 square foot tents, plunge pools, wine cellars, in-room massages and spa treatments and even a Canon camera and lenses and Swarovski binoculars in each tent.
They also offer two-bedroom villas complete with their own private vehicle, guide, chef and staff; perfect for families or groups of friends wanting privacy and exclusivity. Alongside these luxury touches Great Plains’ sustainable ethos includes camps constructed from natural and recycled materials and run almost entirely off solar power.
Great Plains and its Foundation currently manages approximately 1,000,000 acres with plans to expand to 5,000,000 acres across a variety of fragile landscapes.
Established in 2006 by five individuals who, in their 50s, pooled their considerable skills and experience to create innovative, world-class conservation projects in diverse and threatened habitats throughout Africa. Two of the founders, Dereck and Beverly Joubert, are multi-award winning filmmakers and National Geographic “Explorers in Residence”. Many of their Nat Geo documentaries have been filmed on the same reserves in which the camps are based, such as the Last Lions and Relentless Enemies shot on the Duba Concession and Birth of a Pride on thee Selinda Reserve.
Okavango: River of Dreams is the latest film from the Joubert team, a three part series exploring the Okavango River as a lifeline to the wildlife in the region, described as a love letter to one of the greatest rivers in Africa.
I have dedicated this blog to the amazing experiences they have to offer on their Safaris in Africa, which includes stay at their camps in pristine locations in Kenya, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
I cannot emphasize this enough that just like their elevated and immersive experience offerings, their camps provide similar level of comfort and luxury like none other in Africa. It’s easy to rate them as Best of the Best in the regions they operate.
Alert: Safaris and stay with Great Plains Conservation is not for tourists seeking pre-packaged park-hopping multi-day packages running daily or weekly fixed departure schedules.
Great Plains Safaris is far from mass-tourism, and meant only for discerning travelers who are seeking deeper, meaningful, immersive safari experiences in the most pristine environment where nature and landscapes take precedence, and of-course who appreciate the finer things in life.
GPC’s local conservation, community out-reach and sustainability programs also set them apart from others, and gets my vote to travel with them, since you can be sure that your travels and safaris with GPC ensures a positive contribution to life of local people, communities, and of-course wildlife conservation for long term sustainability.
Return of the Safari Pioneers:
Come July 2021 (1-8 July), they have curated an amazing Journey for Kenya, creating a VIP travel and safety bubble for clients from India, with specially negotiated business class fares with their preferred partner airline Kenya Airways, and private charter flights from/to Nairobi to their camps on the itinerary in Kenya.
This Journey is named Return of the Safari Pioneers, and offers a unique, once in a lifetime safari experience in Kenya. Below is the sketch of how it looks:
CHYULU HILLS AND MARA NABOISHO CONSERVANCY
8 Days / 7 Nights
|ol Donyo Lodge||Chyulu Hills||FI||Pool Suite||3 Nights|
|Mara Nyika Camp||Mara Naboisho Conservancy||FI||Luxury Suite||3 Nights|
|Hemingways||Nairobi||BB||Deluxe Room||1 Night|
BB: Bed & Breakfast
FI: Fully Inclusive – Bed, All Meals, Fees and Activities
Upgrade to a Luxury Private Jet Safari:
There is a new way of travel today, “the travel bubble”, where you and your family intersect as little as is possible so you can experience a full and rewarding safari safely and you would do like in normal times.
GPC’s solution to this is to go private! Private jets for small parties that stay in the same camp and even more between camps together, all done privately. Private guides, private vehicles, private butlers and chefs.
You have option to upgrade “Return of the Safari Pioneers” to include a Private Jet from your country/city of origin, instead of a commercial airline and reach directly to your Camps in Kenya. The only difference will be eliminating need for an overnight stay in Nairobi, since now you are flying private from to your country of origin directly to camps in Kenya (Note: you will still have to transit Nairobi for immigration before you hop on for a chartered private air transfer to your camp).
This is how your arrival will look like:
Depart either Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore or Ahmedabad in a private jet and fly directly to Nairobi. VIP Meet and greet at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on arrival around mid-morning with priority access and processing through customs and health before heading into the bush on a private air transfer.
On arrival at Naboisho Airstrip, you will be transferred to Mara Nyika Camp.
You can download a sample 6 nights private jet journey from India to Kenya with Great Plains Reserve Collection HERE.
This also gives you an opportunity to select your own dates, and customize your stay as per your preferences, like adding nights to your stay at camps at either or both locations, or even adding other camp locations GPS offers in Kenya.
Like many guests may opt to spend a few days in Mara Nyika combined with a stay at either Mara Expedition or Mara Plains Camp to get exposure to all three wildlife areas, namely the private Olare Motorogi and Naboisho Conservancies and Maasai Mara Reserve. Each wildlife experience from our camps is unique and offers a different face of the incredible Maasai Mara ecosystem.
Where do you stay on this Journey:
Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills:
ol Donyo Lodge is located on the Maasai-owned Mbirikani Group Ranch, comprising 275,000 acres of wilderness between Amboseli and Tsavo National Parks, bordering Chyulu Hills National Park.
This stunningly beautiful area is incredibly diverse, and often has spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. ol Donyo Lodge is a harmonious blend of contemporary and rustic, merging the landscape into each suite.
Designed for a wide appeal, the lodge is a perfect getaway for families, honeymooners or multigenerational groups. What makes it a standout is its variety of activities – from cultural visits, good quality wildlife viewing, hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking – ol Donyo Lodge is a place to feel Africa, and get out from behind the wheel.
Add to this the lodge’s creature comforts of fine dining, massage, infinity pool, star beds and multiple lounges, and it is a place to relax and unwind for days. Each suite has a private plunge pool, and two are connected for a ‘villa’ concept, perfect for families or couples traveling together.
Constructed of local thatch and gunnite, the suites blend with the environment despite their commanding design. The lodge’s main lounge, complete with grand stone fireplace, a small library, inviting open bar and expansive verandah are the place to rendezvous with new friends, and the local staff.
The attached dining area as well as the nearby pool lounge/dining is where sumptuous meals are served, and good times abound. The main infinity pool, curio shop and office provide other diversions should exploring the area not be enough.
A maximum of 16 guests, sharing, can be accommodated in 8 Tents, plus an additional guide’s room as required.
Children from 5 years are welcome. Families with children between the ages of 5 & 15 will be accommodated in the Pool Suites.
Mara Nyika, Mara Naboisho Conservancy, Greater Mara Region:
Mara Nyika, meaning “Large Plains or Great Plains,” is an intimate tented camp set in a valley, straddling a small stream on the western side of the Naboisho Conservancy bordering the Maasai Mara.
It allows guests to explore the private and exclusive 50,000-acre Naboisho Conservancy, the second largest conservancy in the greater Maasai Mara region.
Mara Nyika’s light-coloured canvas tents were designed to sit under the canopy of umbrella thorn trees while still offering guests views out over the plains. Walkways from the tents to the main area evoke the feeling of a treehouse under canvas and the camp’s ethic and inspiration is one of exploration and adventure.
Privacy is the key to Mara Nyika. Privacy to live, think, explore, be romantic and be pampered– all the while with one of the most spectacular backdrops Africa can provide.
Mara Nyika can accommodate 10 guests sharing, plus an additional guide’s tent as required. Children from 6 years are welcome and can be accommodated in our family suite.
Mara Nyika offers guests 3 double or twin configuration guest tents, plus 2 x 2-Bedroom family tents.
Hemingways Nairobi, a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World, is an elegant boutique hotel situated in Nairobi’s Karen residential area with magnificent views of the nearby Ngong hills.
This 45-suite boutique hotel elevates the standard of luxury for travellers in the region. Beautiful in its symmetry and flooded with natural light, this plantation-style property is airy and spacious. Each of their 80m² suites have a private balcony overlooking the iconic silhouette of the Ngong Hills, a magical view which can also be enjoyed over sundowners at the Bar.
Photographic Safaris with Great Plains Conservation:
Great Plains Conservation was founded by world renowned wildlife filmmakers and photographers – Dereck and Beverly Joubert, so photography becomes a natural ingredient and central to Great Plains Conservation’s Safari Experiences.
Their camps are perfect for any level of photographer from professional to committed hobbyist to novice. From the Selinda Reserve’s (Botswana) herds of elephants, to sunrises over the Zambezi River at Sapi Explorers Camp (Zimbabwe) to ol Donyo’s Lodge (Kenya) two photographic hides, perfectly placed in front of a water hole that draws some of the regions last “big tusker” elephants, these camps are a photographers dream!
Their vehicles are open 4x4s with a maximum of 6 guests (private vehicles available), many of which come with stabilizing bean bags and camera mounts. Duba Plains (Botswana) is even home to a specialist photographic boat for exploring the Okavango Delta. At Duba Plains, Zarafa (Botswana), Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge (Kenya) each tent has a Canon camera and lenses for guests to use with their images downloaded on departure.
At Mpala Jena in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) and at the camps in Botswana guests can book a scenic helicopter flight to capture stunning aerial shots.
For those looking to improve their photography skills at any level we have developed our Wild Studio Photography program which offers photographic tuition for all abilities taught by a professional photographer in both small groups and on a private basis.
Highlights of Wild Studio Photography Program:
- ANYONE CAN LEARN
Great Plains Wild Studio is an opportunity for all levels of photographic abilities to become published wildlife photographers.
They have designed the courses to accommodate non-photographers also, ideal for couples and families looking for different experiences.
- PRIVATE TUITION OR IN GROUPS
They provide both workshop and tailored private tuition in all our camps.
The workshops can be as short as three days making them extremely accessible to all travellers visiting different areas of the country.
- GPC’s SPECIALIST PHOTOGRAPHERS
Professional photographers, who live in either Botswana or Kenya, will guide you through the technical aspects of photography, and then take you even further by developing meaningful portfolios that they will assist in publishing for you.
Example itinerary for your 3 Nights Wild Studio Safari Worskshop:
There are no fixed times during a Wild Studio workshop. In fact they are completely tailor made for you. Below is only a guidance of what you might expect.
Day 1: Arrival by light aircraft to meet your guide and specialist photographer.
Evening game drive of 3 to 4 hours.
Dinner around 8pm.
Introduction to Wild Studio
The first day is about acclimatizing to the area and planning for the next 3 days. Your Wild Studio photographer will take you through the first steps of portfolio building, which is to start with the contents page and brief of the book you will create.
Chapters might be; Soul of the Elephant, Africa’s Antelopes, The Challenge of Birds in Flight, The Predators of Botswana or even The Happiest of Hippos…..It is your story to tell and book template to create.
You will then go on a relaxed game drive to settle in and acquaint ourselves with your vehicle and camera equipment.
Day 2 and Day 3:
- Rise to be in the field for sunrise. Typically 5am.
- Breakfast in the bush from, around 8am
- Morning game drive – average 5 to 6 hours
- Lunch from 12pm
- Image reviews and portfolio building
- Pm game drive from 4pm to 7 pm
- Dinner usually 8pm
After an early start you will spend the best part of the mornings searching for wildlife and photographing. You might look to focus on a specific animal as per your book chapters. The important part is to begin collecting a diversity of images to create your album.
After lunch this period gives you time to rest but also review your efforts and transfer files and backup your prized photographs before a more relaxed evening drive.
Your final evening will be to summarize everything you have learned and present some of your best shots from the workshop.
This is the fun time where you can give your book its title and write down your introduction and biography. It is also a must to have some photos of you in your portfolio.
The technical aspects of photography are there to support your creative vision of the images you are looking to get. Your Wild Studio photographer will support and guide you in your chosen course and not let the camera dictate.
- Morning game drive 3 to 4 hours prior to departure.
- Depart for next destination from the airstrip.
- There should always be some time to have a last game drive in the morning, you can enjoy this drive knowing you have some excellent photos backed up on your hard drives having learned new skills to use on your next adventures.
Family Safaris with Great Plains Conservation: Young Explorers Program:
Safaris with kids are much the same – a time to stimulate all the senses. Safaris open up a whole new world to us all, but for kids it is magical.
While new animals are a huge part of the excitement of safari, stepping away from everyday life in favor of spotting animal tracks and practicing your newly learnt traditional bush survival skills is an experience that kids and parents alike will cherish.
The Great Plains Young Explorers Program blends fun with conservation learning. On arrival each child receives a Young Explorers pack full of all that is needed for them to become a Conservation Ambassador. The pack includes an activity book full of interesting information including animal tracks, seTswana or Kiswahili vocabulary, facts on flora, fauna and stars, word games and a safari journal. Great Plains guides and staff seamlessly modify the level of activities according to age.
Like any vacation, a family safari is a time to connect with one another, but there is something extra special about sharing the first sighting of a favorite animal together and reliving it around the fire together each night. The freedom and purity of Africa is the ideal way to escape the everyday and bond with the land and with each other.
Horse Back Safaris:
Experience the magic of the bush on Horseback with Ride Kenya Horseback Safaris.
You will ride in the shadow of Mount Kilimanjaro with Great Plains Ride Kenya, the Chyulu Hills and the exclusive wilderness around ol Donyo Lodge is yours to discover.
With low tourist densities you are more likely to come across the paw print of a lion than the footprint of a human! Instead expect to encounter everything from elephant and giraffe, to zebra, gazelle and warthog.
The horses at ol Donyo Lodge are sourced and schooled with the guest’s comfort and enjoyment as highest priority. The horses are soft, responsive, sensible and enormously fun to ride. Not only are they ridden in the bush but they also live amongst the wildlife during the day – free and unfenced. This makes for horses that are completely at home in their environment and that are an absolute joy to ride.
Rides can be enjoyed from ol Donyo Lodge by riders of all levels from novice to advanced.
Stay at Ol Donyo Lodge: The soft volcanic soils and the variety of the terrain make this area a fantastic and very unique riding destination. The stables themselves are set within the beautiful acacia forest at the base of the Chyulu Hills and are easily accessible by all guests residing at ol Donyo Lodge.
INTERMEDIATE AND ABOVE
For Intermediate riders and above GPC offers 2 to 4 hour rides exploring the concession. Enjoy exhilarating medium to fast paced canters and encounters with the famous big Tuskers.
For this riding option, you need to be riding fit, confident and competent, ride with an independent seat and be able to control an easy horse at all paces over uneven terrain.
Amateur riders can enjoy a gentle 60/90 minute ride exploring the open plains.
All riders will need to have a short assessment in the arena prior to setting out to ensure you are comfortable with your horse and equipment. Plains riders will be given some instruction, a minimum requirement is a short trot.
- All rides will be a Maximum of 6 guests accompanied by 2 experienced guides.
- A selection of Riding hats, riding boots, breeches and half chaps are available for guests with no additional charge.
- No riders over 95Kg.
- For safety reasons they have an age limit of 12. All children between 12 and 15 must be accompanied by a riding parent or guardian. They offer arena riding to under 12’s, a 30/45 minute lesson or just a little bit of fun.
Other activities during your stay at Ol Donyo Lodge, Chyulu Hills, Kenya:
- Guided bush walks.
- Hill hikes and exploration of extinct volcanic lava tubes.
- Mountain biking.
- Game viewing drives.
- Night game viewing drives.
- Lion tracking.
- Cultural villages visits.
- Anti-poaching tracker dog experience.
- Amboseli day trip.
- Scenic Kilimanjaro flight.
The Great Migration with Great Plains Conservation, Kenya:
Every year the plains of East Africa are home to one of the world’s most sought-after wildlife spectacles, the migration of more than a million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and gazelle, tracked by Africa’s great predators.
Between July and October each year the Maasai Mara Reserve and the private conservancies that surround it are the best place to witness the power of this natural phenomenon. Mara Expedition Camp, Mara Plains Camp are perfectly positioned to put guests in the middle of the action.
Spend the whole day out with a packed lunch and cameras ready to capture a river-crossing or retreat to the calm of the conservancies and experience the herds without the crowds.
I need to mention that even outside of the July and October period not only is the resident game in the Maasai Mara outstanding year-round but the area is home to Kenya’s best-kept wildlife secret, a second migration!
Each year between late November and June more than 200,000 wildebeest move east to west from the Loita plains to the Mara traversing the Naibosho, Olare Motorogi and Mara North Conservancies, home to Mara Expedition, Mara Plains and Mara Nyika. This means that almost 95% of the year the Great Plains camps in the Mara are at the heart of one of these two wildlife migration paths.
GCP’s Migration Camps in Kenya:
Mara Plains is a small, intimate camp located with the exclusive Olare Motorogi Conservancy, adjacent to the Maasai Mara, Kenya. Mara Plains has just 7-uniquely designed canvas rooms on raised platforms, accommodating a maximum of 14-guests.
Located on the Ntiakatek River, in the northern border of the Maasai Mara, within the 35,000 acre Olare Motorogi Conservancy and being one of only five camps in this conservancy Mara Plains has the lowest vehicle density in the region.
Mara Plains has unrivalled access to more than 100,000 acres of exclusive land, prime habitat for a vast number of wildlife species, as well as unfettered access to the 375,000 Maasai Mara Reserve.
The beautiful camp is situated in a game rich area, and at night you can often hear the sounds of lion roaring or in the morning see traces of leopard that walked through during the night. As it is in a private conservancy guests can go for bush walks and night game drives, all of which can be arranged as and when you wish. There are no set rules or time schedules allowing you to tailor your stay to your personal preferences.
Children from 6 years are welcome and can be accommodated in their family suite.
Mara Expedition Camp:
Mara Expedition is set a short distance from its larger sister Mara Plains, in the Mara North Conservancy, bordering Kenya’s Maasai Mara. With just 5 luxury tents, in the shade on the bank of the Ntiakitiak River, it is an exclusive option in prime wilderness.
This is a brand new camp, positioned on high ground in a grove of typical East African acacia trees overlooking a valley in the Maasai Mara Game Reserve. It is on private land, so very exclusive but with access to some of the region’s best wildlife, the river crossings of the great wildebeest and zebra migration.
Mara Expeditions is designed for those who seek the levels of service and attention to detail of a Great Plains camp, but are prepared to forgo some of the fancier amenities. However, guests will still be pampered with fine dining, beautifully appointed tents and warm hospitality.
It is safari chic style with light, airy, and spacious canvas tents, each with en-suite bathrooms where you enjoy piping hot water from huge brass safari showers.
The camp is locally famous for its leopard residents wandering nearby and is positioned to take the best advantage of two migrations – the famous annual Serengeti migration and the green season migration from Loita Plains, an additional 50,000 wildebeest and over 100,000 zebras vying for grazing rights.
Children from 6 years are welcome.
Great Plains Expeditions, Botswana:
Great Plains Expeditions, starting in Botswana, is a 4-night experience that starts and ends in the western region of the Selinda Reserve , an area most guests have never explored as GPC’s traditional camps are located in the north eastern area.
You get to explore the entire area on foot, drives and even canoes (mekoro) when water is in the Spillway, with your private guide and the vehicle remains with you throughout.
There are 2 camps that are especially set up for this experience, and maximum number of guests on an Expedition will be only 8 sharing in 4 tents.
These expeditions will run and operate as per your schedule, and do not necessarily follow strict schedules or departure dates. You can book anytime starting from 2 guests and GPC team will plan and execute trip of a lifetime.
This perfect version of a Botswana Expedition experience begins in the Duba area, starting at GPC’s base camp (Duba Explorers, stay for 2-3 Nights). They discuss the journey with you, stock up, look at the maps and plot the expedition. Then you head out on mekoros (the dugout canoes famous in Botswana’s Okavango). You then connect to a small track aiming due north with your expedition game-drive vehicles awaiting to explore the western, undiscovered areas of the Selinda Reserve over 4 nights.
Your expedition vehicles are equipped with only four seats (instead of six-seats in normal vehicles), each with a camera or counting mount, binoculars and notebooks, everything you need for your safari mission. And that mission is to count elephants, hippos, log the GPS coordinates of dens, pangolin sightings, nests of large raptors, and note all elephant carcasses. Elephants, for example, die naturally and their presence remains as bleached bones. We need to register these sites to fully understand the area and levels of both natural and unnatural mortalities.
The style of the camps will be inspired by the golden era of expeditions, the early 19th century. But you will also have a private chef and expert staff on hand. Our communications (satellite phones and radios) make it safe and seamlessly supported.
The route is designed to connect the Okavango and the northern river systems up the Selinda Spillway through one of the highest densities of elephants in Africa, these two areas are, in my opinion, the most special in Botswana.
It transports you through an area that has some of the largest buffalo and elephant herds you would have seen, through sable antelope and roan antelope areas, and well… who knows?
The Great Plains Expeditions will bring you back to the safari origins, depicting an era but in style and safety, and an exclusive journey of discovery.
The Botswana Expeditions experience is being offered from August to the end of October this year. The season for 2022 onwards will run from from middle May to the end of October annually.
Botswana, Best of the Best with Great Plains Conservation:
It does not get better than this. A 9 Nights Safari Journey in Botswana taking you to Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Selinda Reserve.
You stay at Great Plains Conservation best camps in Botswana, wherein you enjoy remote and pristine settings, tucked away on the floodplains of the Okavango Delta or next to secret lagoons and rivers. Blending harmoniously with their environments, they focus on a diverse game-viewing experience.
- 3 nights Duba Plains Camp, Okavango Delta
- 3 nights Selinda Camp or Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve
- 3 nights Xiera Safari Lodge, Moremi Game Reserve
More about your stay and Experiences in Botswana:
Duba Plains Camp, Okavango Delta
Idyllically set in the Okavango Delta, the Duba Plains Private Reserve is one of the best places to start your African adventure. This premier camp lies on the vast, and wonderfully varied, 33,000 hectare private concession in the north of the Delta.
You can look forward to leisurely boating excursions down the tranquil rivers of the Delta, thrilling game drives and mystical night drives in the African bush to spot a wealth of nocturnal wildlife. Commonly spotted species include hippo, blue wildebeest, hyena, giraffe, elephant, lechwe, buffalo, tsessebe, and warthog. Visitors can also look forward to viewing over 200 species of bird, and enjoy a glass of wine under the African night sky after a wonderful day of animal sightings in the wild.
Duba Plains Camp is a wildlife connoisseur’s getaway to the Okavango Delta. Built on a wooded island, connected to the prolific wildlife area by an elaborate set of bridges, the camp is the base of many famous wildlife documentaries by National Geographic filmmakers Dereck and Beverly Joubert.
The intimate camp consists of 5 traditional-style tents and the 2-bedroom Duba Plains Suite. All sit on raised decking, each with views of the surrounding floodplain and the steady stream of wildlife parading past. Each tent has a lounge area, a private veranda, beautifully appointed en-suite facilities consisting of flush loo, double basins and indoor and outdoor showers and luxurious baths.
You will be able to enjoy their own private plunge pool and outdoor under cover sala/day rest area. The main area consists of a large raised dining room, and a comfortable lounge with private dining areas, wine cellar, library, and chef’s kitchen with ample space for guests to either find privacy or come together.
The camp’s centre-point is the gathering place of all bush experiences, the fire place on an extended deck into the swamp. Duba Plain’s Toyota Land Cruisers are aptly named ‘Swamp Vehicles’ due to their extra-high suspension and absolutely huge tyres uniquely designed to traverse the floodplains.
Duba Plains offers Botswana’s best land safari as well as an Okavango Delta experience, from wildlife viewing and birding or fishing from the boat, to walking and exciting drives with knowledgeable guides and friendly hosts.
Children from 6 years are welcome.
Selinda Camp, Selinda Reserve:
One of Botswana’s most exclusive camps, the recently rebuilt Selinda Camp lies in the pristine private paradise of the vast 130,000 hectare Selinda reserve between the Okavango and Chobe.
It is set in one of the most pristine wilderness areas left on our planet, it rests on the banks of the Selinda Spillway, as it enters the Linyanti River. The private reserve boasts elephants by the thousands, regular sightings of the Selinda pack of African wild dogs as well as the famous Selinda Lion Pride featured in the National Geographic film “Birth of a Pride” by Dereck and Beverly Joubert. The area has a sense of remoteness, a true spirit of Africa, and is a great example of the Botswana bush embodying a variety of species and rare animals.
Its architectural design elements center around Water, Air, Earth and Fire, all of which ground the design.
The camp has 3 expansive guest tents, each covered under thatch and with large en-suite bathrooms, large private veranda and private swimming pool. Each guest tents is unique, designed with its own colour palette and theme.
In addition to the three main tents, the Selinda Suite consists of a two-bedroom tented villa. The Selinda Suite operates exclusively, as guests enjoy their own private vehicle, safari guide, chef, manager/butler and entrance to their residence.
The safari drives, walks, boating, tracking, birding and other bespoke viewing activities are designed to place you in front of the best wildlife the area has to offer for a unique one on one life changing experience, from leopards to elephants and hippos and aim to tick off as many as the 200 or more bird species in the area.
Children from 6 years are welcome.
Zarafa Camp, Selinda Reserve:
Zarafa Camp is one of the finest camps in Botswana, occupying a stunning position overlooking a permanent lagoon on the vast and exclusive Selinda Reserve, a pristine 130,000 hectare reserve between the Okavango and Chobe/Savute corridors. This is a very special camp, and Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux property, it offers an intimate and exclusive safari experience with just four tented rooms.
It also offers a separate villa, the Dhow Suites, which consist of two tents with a private main area and operates entirely independently of main camp.
The camp overlooks the crystal waters Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the famous Savute Channel, every area of camp has a magnificent view. The lagoon is also the water source for a tremendous population of wildlife – dry season sightings boast buffalo and elephant by the hundreds.
Zarafa Camp and Dhow Suites are the brainchild of the founders of Great Plains Conservation, who pooled their collective experience on safari to create what they deemed to be the best and most environmentally innovative camp. As a consequence, Zarafa may in fact be the “greenest” luxury safari camp on the continent. Only recycled hardwoods and canvas were used in the construction and all the camp’s electricity comes from its solar farm while a ‘bio-gas’ system recycles vegetable waste into usable cooking gas.
The Zarafa Camp guest tents, 1000 sq. ft in size are under beige, flowing canvas, with canopy ceilings and completely open (yet netted) sides. Each tent has a full lounge and a gas fireplace. The large bedroom is connected to an open layout bathroom with impressive copper claw foot bath, indoor shower, separate loo and double basins.
Decking around the tent leads to the private plunge pool and outdoor shower, all with views of pristine Botswana wilderness.
Under an impressive canopy of African ebony trees, the camp has a sizable main lounge, with adjacent library and dining area.
With a maximum of just eight guests, Zarafa Camp offers complete flexibility. While drives do focus on the most comfortable and productive times of day, early morning and late afternoon, full day drives, walks and boating (water level dependent) are great ways to fill the day at Zarafa.
Children from 6 years are welcome.
Xigera Safari Lodge, Moremi Game Reserve:
Xigera Safari Lodge is located in the Moremi Game Reserve with private access to a 4,500-hectare (11,120-acre) wetland paradise in the heart of the Delta.
Situated on one of the Okavango’s key waterways, Xigera Safari Lodge is surrounded by picturesque papyrus swamps and wooded islands and is renowned for its very high density of sitatunga antelope. The area is known for remarkable mammal sightings including red lechwe, spotted-necked otter, elephant, buffalo, reedbuck and tsessebe.
Predators include lions, spotted hyenas and leopards. Guests are sometimes treated to close-up views of lions or leopards using the footbridge connecting Xigera to the next island!
This concession lies in an International Birding Area (IBA) with many ‘Okavango specials’ being present, including Pel’s Fishing-Owl, African Skimmer, Brown Firefinch, Greater Swamp Warbler, Wattled Crane, African Pygmy Goose and Lesser Jacana.
This extraordinary new safari lodge, located in the Moremi Game Reserve in the heart of the Okavango Delta, is a bold new statement, reinventing what it means to experience the African bush.
Xigera Safari Lodge offers just 12 beautiful suites and an exceptional Baobab Treehouse, each resting effortlessly in this wild landscape. Amid this remarkable setting, Xigera’s design aesthetic is wholeheartedly dedicated to celebrating African art, design and creativity.
Children 12 years and older are welcome at Xigera.
How to Book:
You can book your once in a lifetime safari experience with Great Plains Conservation through their Delhi based preferred agent – Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd. They are safari experts, and benefit from local knowledge and long established connections with GPC’s safari team in Africa to plan and execute your safari in Africa experience.