Best Safari House in Botswana

Arabella Lakin

04 Jun 2014

Zarafa Wins Best Safari House

A few weeks ago, I heard that Zarafa Camp has now opened a Dhow Suite which is a self-contained, 2 bedroom tented suite with its own private team at the very eastern side of the camp. The new suite is one of the largest tents ever built in Africa.This is a camp close to my heart so I was excited to hear news of their expansion.

Back when I started working in the safari industry, over ten years ago now, one of my favourite camps was Zibalianja camp, mainly due to its intimacy and location. It enjoyed incredible views across the Zibalianja lagoon, in the Linyanti region in northern Botswana, an area renowned for its wild dogs. In June 2008, the camp was revamped and relocated to the other side of the lagoon. I held my breath, concerned that this was the end of an era, and my dear favourite Zibalianja was no more.

To my huge relief, Zarafa Camp was born and she’s a beauty. I was very lucky to pop in for an absolutely delicious lunch (washed down with a glass or two of champagne, as one does!), when I was in Botswana in November 2013 revisiting this stunning area. I was greeted with the same charm, friendliness and intimacy of Zibalianja, but with a huge dose of luxury, without any pretentiousness - something that is not easy to combine. I have never seen such beautiful and intricate design incorporated into a camp; the tents, packed with antiques, are even larger than my apartment!

But it’s not all about brass taps and champagne. At NWS we believe in putting our clients in the right place at the right time for wildlife sightings, and Zarafa boasts incredible wildlife watching with some of the best wild dogs sightings in Botswana. When I was there in November, which is out of high season for game viewing, I was delayed for lunch by a herd of elephants, including some newborn calves. Later on in the day I was lucky to see some wild dogs. Considering I was only there for a few hours, this was very impressive!

Zarafa does comes with a price tag; it's around £1,300 per person per night in high season. Although don’t feel guilty as you sip champagne from your free standing brass bathtub, whilst watching the wildlife venture down to the lagoon, as you can sit back and relax. By staying there you are positively contributing to the communities and wildlife of Botswana. Dereck and Bevelry Joubert (award-winning National Geographic film makers), set up Great Plains Conservation who run Zarafa and are the driving force on conservation and community livelihood projects in the region.

Zarafa was envisioned as ‘the perfect safari camp’ and Dereck and Beverly have hit the nail on the head as it has just won the ‘Best Safari House in Botswana’ at the Safari Guide Awards!

Dereck Joubert is undoubtedly proud of the new suite. “We don’t love the word luxury, but it is private and exclusive and designed with the same vision and old world elegance as the main Zarafa Camp. But this is our ‘beloved suite,’ ideal for families or close friends".

If you would like to find out more information about staying at Zarafa Camp please get in touch with me. One of my favourite safaris to include a stay at Zarafa is Beauty of Botswana so take a look if you fancy the ultimate luxury safari with plenty of wildlife viewings.

Zarafa means ‘lovely one’ and it is indeed, lovely!  

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