Selinda Camp is located in the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve of northern Botswana along the eastern banks of the Selinda Spillway, near the confluence of the Linyanti, Savute and Kwando Rivers. At the peak of dry season, this concession boasts elephants by the thousands and regular sightings of the Selinda pack of African wild dogs. Set under an impressive thatch structure, Selinda’s décor is centered on the four elements of air, water, fire and earth with art by Keith Joubert. The camp’s has nine tented rooms are cooled by thatch, and expansive with large en-suite bathrooms and private verandahs. It is a very careful blend of humble bush camp with some extra bells ‘n’ whistles, making for a home away from home atmosphere. This careful mix makes Selinda Camp a popular favorite.
Each of Selinda Camp’s eight spacious, sturdy canvas tents is shaded with thatch roofing and raised on wooden decks with a large private verandah for a slice of one’s own private Africa. Each tent has a small seating area and desk. Selinda’s little surprise is the extended en suite dressing and dual basin vanity area and bathroom complete with a deep stone bath and antique shower. One of the tents is a family unit, consisting of one main bedroom, a kid’s room and two bathrooms connected by a wrap-around deck. Selinda’s commanding main lounge and dining area is raised with views of the Spillway. Nearby is the large walk-in wine cellar and art gallery as well as the curio shop. After the day’s events, the pool is a welcome respite, and then a drink around the fire pit rounds out the day.
Great Plains Conservation came to Selinda Reserve in 2007, reclaiming this magnificent area from the shadows of hunting, and placing all the acreage under photographic tourism. Recent census (2012) shows an overall increase in wildlife, of considerable amount, and Selinda and its guests are a key component of this conservation success.
A patchwork of microhabitats, Selinda Reserve hosts a staggering diversity of wildlife. The open plains are an ideal habitat for cheetah and the thicker woodlands are refuge for leopard. It is famous for elephant and lion, wild dog and hippo, buffalo and giraffe and the more rarely seen roan and sable. Some days we will spend hours with a single herd of elephants; other days we may track predators, or wait in a hide for Slaty egrets to arrive and fish. Each winter we wait hopefully for the Selinda pack of African wild dogs to pick their den, which is often near camp.
The Selinda Reserve is west (upstream) from Savute Channel and Chobe, so it has all the advantages of both of those famous areas but with the tremendous advantage of exclusivity. It is a truly spectacular and unique landscape.
Luxury Safari Tents on raised platforms
On arriving at Selinda Camp, one is struck by the grand architecture of the main area. The high-beamed ceilings and traditional thatch roof coupled with the raised wooden foundation keep the area cool in the African sun.
The main lounge has been designed around the four basic elements of nature: water, air, earth and fire. Each element is also complemented by local art.
Upon entering the open-air thatched main area, bright touches of blue evoke the imagery of water. Large sculpted mekoros (dugout canoes), painted by world-renowned artist Keith Joubert are the focal points. Perched off the main lounge, is a quaint tea verandah. Here, billowing soft fabrics in light colors provide shade and ambiance in the spirit of air. And the journey continues to the element of earth, manifested in the dining spaces – either under thatch or under the stars – where naturally wholesome food and African wines served table d’hôte providing sustenance. And as the day ends, a tradition continues: the exchange of philosophy, laughter, folklore and stories of safari often communed by nature’s final element of fire. The evening open-air fireside is a seductive end to the day in the bush.
Just adjacent to the fire pit, “Zanzibari” doors lead down to a generous wine cellar. Here, a selection of wines of the region and Europe are available. Meals are generally table d’hôte and include a light breakfast at dawn, a hearty brunch on return from the morning activity, afternoon tea and snacks before the afternoon activity, rounded off with a sumptuous dinner in the evening. Special meals and dietary requirements can be catered for on request.
Next to the cellar is a gallery, where inspiration comes in the form of fine art, including a sample of the collected photographic works of Beverly Joubert paying tribute to her stunning work with National Geographic. The gallery is a place for quiet reflection, reading and learning. Above the gallery, many other local wares are available for purchase in the curio shop.
Each of Selinda Camp’s eight spacious, sturdy canvas tents are shaded with thatch roofing and are raised on wooden decks. Comfortable three-quarter sized beds dressed in fine linen are draped with flowing mosquito nets to complete the romantic atmosphere. Each bed can be joined seamlessly to create a grand extra-large double bed. Ceiling fans, combined with roof vents, bring the African breeze in, cooling the surrounds. For moments of reflection, a writing desk and lounge furniture provide a private respite. A large private verandah, extends into the bush and provides each tent with a slice of it’s own private Africa. Selinda’s little surprise is the extended en-suite dressing and dual basin vanity area and bathroom complete with a deep stone bath and antique shower – accessible via sliding wood doors, for privacy or an open-air feel and guaranteed luxury.
If the cool shade of the thatch simply isn’t enough to quell the midday heat, then a plunge pool is tucked away from the main area. Offering privacy and lush surrounds, it is a fabulous afternoon retreat. In-room massages are available (at additional cost).
Game Drives (day & night), walks & boating
At Selinda Camp there is no set routine. The wildlife knows the most forgiving times of day, and we take its lead. Early morning, late afternoon and evenings are the prime game viewing times – it’s when the colors are vibrant, the sun is low and spirits are up.
Setting out at dawn, when predators are active, our guides are as keen as the guests to discover the riches of each day in Selinda Reserve. Usually, once the sun is high and strong, we retreat with the herds to our midday resting post, Selinda Camp. Then, as the sun begins to wane again, we head out for the late afternoon to evening, searching for nocturnal wildlife and the action that comes with sunset. But nothing is regimented. Regimes don’t suit Selinda, which is why we all love being out here in the first place.
Selinda Reserve is famous for elephant and lion, wild dog and hippo, buffalo and giraffe. Some days we will spend hours with a single herd of elephants; other days we may track cheetah, or wait in a hide for Slaty egrets to arrive and fish. Wattled cranes, a highly coveted sighting, are often spotted here.
Made famous in Dereck and Beverly Joubert’s National Geographic films (Ultimate Enemies, Hunting with the Moon, The African Diaries), the Selinda Reserve is home to the hippo-killing lions. The hunting of large prey by lions is legendary, and a highlight, but random of course. It’s never guaranteed, but always a possibility. This is wild Africa, unpredictable and magical, where each day is different, thank goodness.
The open plains are an ideal habitat for cheetah and the thicker woodlands are refuge for leopard.
One of Africa’s most endangered predators, the African wild dog, is usually resident and the Selinda pack frequently dens in close proximity to the camp. Other common species include: large herds of buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, hyena, waterbuck, kudu, steenbuck, lechwe, and impala. Nocturnal species include civet, serval, wildcat, honey badger, springhares, aardvark and aardwolf.
Our Toyota Land Cruisers have been specially designed by the Jouberts. The thoughtful engineering provides all-round visibility with removable canvas roofs, and comfortable bucket seats. These rugged, 4X4 vehicles provide access to all of the Selinda Reserve’s diverse ecosystems, and do so with ease.
Selinda is primarily a land-based camp; however, boating is possible on the Spillway in one of the camp’s two powerboats usually year-round; and toss the bait with some rod/reel fishing from March to December each year. If stretching one’s legs and getting a feel for Africa by foot is the guest’s preference, then it’s possible to arrange morning walks. In the mid-day, during siesta, guests can take refuge at one of our hides overlooking the Spillway or waterhole and do some birding.
Sleep outs under a mosquito net on a raised platform in the African wild are available for those who want an extra adventure. Must be booked in advance, subject to extra cost and availability.
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- Special InterestsWildlife, Birding, Nature, Relaxation, Adventure, Big 5, Birding, Flora, Star Gazing, Fishing, Wine
- No. of Rooms8
- By Pure Botswana
- Email: [email protected]