The Selinda Reserve, Botswana
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SELINDA CAMP RATES: Selinda Camp
SELINDA CAMP - SELINDA RESERVE,
Selinda Camp has been completely rebuilt and re-opened in March 2007 to acclaim. It is a small, wonderful, luxury tented safari camp that is situated on the banks of the eastern Selinda Spillway - a waterway that links Botswana's Okavango Delta to the Linyanti and Kwando marshes, rivers and floodplains. The shaded camp is raised a meter or so off the ground and offers extraordinary views over the floodplains, waterways and wide open savannas which are only broken by distinctive and attractive palm islands. It is these views that are one of Selinda's most compelling features. Guests sit on their verandas while enjoying their meals and gaze pensively over the floodplains of Africa enjoying the passing wildlife as it has done for millennia. There is hardly a moment which goes by without animals in front of camp.
Selinda Camp is owned
and operated by Seba Safaris/Selinda Reserve and is the sister camp to Zarafa
Camp, also located nearby in The Selinda. Selinda also offers a special walking safari, the Selinda Walking Trails. Selinda is a derivative
meaning "many small pools of water" in the Khoesan language
of northern Botswana.
Selinda Camp is located in the 300,000 acre (135,000 hectare) Selinda Reserve, one of Botswana's prime wildlife viewing locations and most beautiful settings. The Selinda Reserve is fortunate in that it is the only reserve that straddles both the Okavango Delta in the west and the Linyanti waterways and savannahs in the east. The Selinda Reserve follows the course of the Selinda Spillway as it connects the Okavango to the Linyanti / Kwando river systems. The Selinda Spillway is like no other. It is a river that can flow in two directions, depending on where the water levels are the highest. In most years it flows in both directions with water pushing 'up' from the Linyanti waterways and also 'down' from the west, fed by the waters of the Okavango Delta
The Selinda Reserve is one of Botswana's famous wildlife 'concessions' or private reserves that offers all the privacy that Botswana is famous for. At the same time, guests to the Selinda can enjoy wildlife viewing at a level that Chobe National Park is famous for - but without any of the crowds and without the restrictive rules and regulations that are needed in areas of high tourism density. With only 18 guests, Selinda can offer a peaceful and private experience far from the crowds - but with unrestrictive and exhilarating wildlife viewing. The Selinda Reserve has a network of small tracks that traverse the area, and if there is something special on the go, we can go 'off-road' sensitively when there is something exceptionable. There are still places in this reserve where no person has ever set foot before.
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Images For Layout map of Selinda Camp, click Selinda
Selinda has nine guest tents under thatch, accommodating a maximum of 18 guests. Each tent has comfortable three-quarter sized beds, and fine linen. Luxurious mosquito nets add to the romantic atmosphere of our tents and ceiling fans and roof vents cool your living space when needed. The interiors have writing desks and lounge furniture collected from around the world for those that want to write or relax between drives and walks.
There are spacious, en-suite bathrooms, with full sized stone baths and antique showers. Dual vanity basins complement the sense of luxury and sliding doors allow for privacy or create an open-air bathroom feel as well. Hot and cold water is in ample supply.
A large private veranda allows guests to relax looking out over their own piece of African heaven.
The new main living area has a lounge and a raised thatched dining area that overlooks the floodplains and the Spillway. There is also a raised deck for evening meals under the stars! The main lounge has been designed around art pieces and to represent the four basic elements of nature. As you enter the building your journey starts with touches of blue that evoke imagery of WATER, with decorated dugout canoes, sculpted and painted by world renowned artist Keith Joubert as a centrepiece. As you leave the lounge there is an inviting tea area jutting out over the floodplain. Here the billowing of soft fabrics and light colours suggest that AIR element. In the dining area, which is either under the tall thatch or out under the stars, EARTH tones representing the wholesome food and exotic wines from both Africa and Europe that you will be able to taste and enjoy at Selinda. Evenings are completed around the fire beyond the main building, a tradition that evokes stories of the day's safari, shared philosophies. Since ancient times the companionship of mankind has somehow, almost magically, infected us all and so often been centred around nature's final element; the communal FIRE. It is an important way to end a day in the bush and your journey through the design of the lodge.
Unlike our ancestors' hearths, here the flames dance their flickering light against the tall East African doors nearby, through which you enter the dual delights of our wine cellar or the curio/jewellery store.
The cellar carries a selection of wines from the region and from Europe . Most wines and all other drinks or refreshments are included in your daily tariff. Above the cellar is a quiet reading area, an area of the camp that you can retire to alone to read from the library and to enjoy the fine art selection of Beverly Joubert's images collected over the years from her work with National Geographic; her preferred collection. From time to time art from local artists will be exhibited in camp as well. The gallery is a place for quiet reflection and learning, as well as a place to download your own images from your safari. Under shade, the camp's plunge pool is surrounded by lush grass and away from the main area for privacy, an ideal way to cool off on a hot afternoon.
Laundry is done on a daily basis and is of course included in the tariff.
We have a silent 220 volt system in camp. The camp's container-housed generator runs quietly and mostly when guests are out of camp, steadily charging up the "state of the art" battery inverter system; a perfect combination of power efficiency for all your needs and respect for your peace and quiet. It is that quiet that brings the tranquillity to your experience as you visit from sometimes over stimulating, noisy worlds. Places that you want to escape from when you visit us. So no expense of effort has been spared to keep it quiet. As a result we find that wildlife feels comfortable around the camp and we encourage that. We try very hard to limit our impact on the environment, to walk quietly and softly on the Earth, and that includes the noise we create, the light pollution we generate as well as the more obvious by products of our society.
The standard in our part of Africa is 220 volt, so please make sure that your equipment is compatible. Although we have a selection of converters in camp if you are travelling elsewhere it is a good idea to pick up a universal, international converter plug set at the airport or before you leave home. Video camera batteries can be charged in your tent at any time.
Again be aware that it is 220 volt, if in doubt the managers or guides will help you. Most importantly, please bring a spare set of batteries so we can charge these while you are out of camp on game drives.
Wildlife & Activities
Wildlife and nature drives are conducted by our resident guides in rugged and open 4x4 Toyota Landcruisers. The vehicles have excellent all round visibility allowing for great photo opportunities. These wildlife drives are included in the cost of your accommodation
At Selinda there is no routine. If you want to tailor make your stay, let us know. Inevitably though we are driven by the best game viewing times, the animal movements, or the weather. It is an outdoor activity, so when it is hot some animals retire to shade, the light for photography turns harsh and experience shows that sometimes this is the best time for us to imitate the wildlife and take a break. But nothing is regimented. We hate regimes, which is why we all love being out here in the first place. Our wildlife and nature drives often start at dawn though because this is the best time. Your guide will tell you the best periods on the day, but often we return mid to late morning, and head out again from mid-to-late afternoon to early evening. It is a relaxed schedule that varies but as our guides are as keen as you are to do bush time, they will steer you in the direction of the best chances of seeing the riches that Selinda offers.
We usually return to camp after dark with spotlight so that guests can enjoy the nocturnal wildlife viewing of the Selinda.
Short walks from camp with our fully qualified guides are offered. Arrangements can be made with management on site, but it is recommended that if you are keen on these activities and need to have walking guaranteed, that you arrange in advance.
Please also consider the Selinda Walking Trails if you enjoy walking in wildlife areas. The trails guides are considered to be some of the best in Africa.
Complementary refreshments and snacks are served on all our drives and include tea and coffee on the morning drive and the traditional "sundowner" cocktail in the late afternoon. This is a safari, enjoy the adventure and the effect of letting Africa wash over you. Traditionally a gin and tonic or glass of wine, or refreshing soft drink while watching the sunset gives you that moment to contemplate the grandeur of the wild. We prefer not to clutter that with frivolity, or too much chatter, but hey this is your safari, make of it what you enjoy most.
Special request activities are available e.g., sole use of a vehicle, full day drive with picnic, etc. These arrangements can be made at the time of booking and may incur a surcharge.
Our guides are constantly upgrading their skills and refreshing their knowledge on courses on firearm use, snakes and reptile identification and handling, tracking wildlife or birding. We give them specialised hands-on guide training by the leading experts in the field each year. They are considered expert birders and trackers. In Botswana there is a wealth of local knowledge about plants and animals that extends beyond the academic, and our guides excel at adding their traditional knowledge to your experience. As a result we are happy to entrust our guests enjoyment and safety to them. Please make use of this opportunity to find out more about whatever subject you can from them. Our guides are particularly good in trying to know everything, but who can?
We have expert birders visiting from around the world because Selinda is famous for a number of unique species. We have specialist botanists as guests, as well as people who have studied wildlife in their own countries, again because Selinda is developing a reputation as being a haven for so many specialist species. So our guides are good at saying so if they don't know, and spending the afternoon finding out for you. In their hands you will see great things. Each day of course is different, and like the wonders of Arabian nights, your journey will be filled with delights of knowledge and learning, experiences and the sights and sounds unfamiliar to you.
The area is famous for elephant and lions, wild dogs and hippos, buffalo and giraffe. In fact it's hard to know where to begin. It's all here. Some days you will spend hours with a single herd of elephants if you like, others you may track cheetah, or wait in a hide for rare slaty egrets to come down to fish. Look out for wattled cranes here, also a rare but often seen visitor to Selinda. Each day is different, thank goodness, but understandably, because this is wild Africa, unpredictable and magical.
The hippo-killing lions of the Selinda are part of what has made this region famous by Dereck and Beverly Joubert in their National Geographic films and books from the Selinda area, (Ultimate Enemies, Hunting with the Moon, The African Diaries). The hunting of large prey by lions is legendary and a highlight, but random of course. Don't bank on it but always keep an eye out.
There is also always a chance for "spotted predators". The open plains are an ideal habitat for cheetah and the thicker woodlands good for leopard.
One of Africa's most endangered predators, the Wild Dog, is usually resident and the Selinda pack frequently dens in close proximity to our camps.
Other common species include: buffalo (that sometimes congregate in huge herds numbering many thousand), giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hippo, hyena, waterbuck, kudu, steenbuck, lechwe, impala. At night there is a chance to see the more nocturnal species like civet, serval, wild cats, springhares, aardvark and aardwolf.
What you will find on a regular basis is that you will not go hungry on safari. The fresh air, getting on and off vehicles, walking, tracking if you like, will give you an appetite. We also find that our guests sleep well at night!
Special request activities, such as sole use vehicle game drives and full day game drives with picnics can easily be organised (the private vehicles will be at an additional cost) but please arrange early, preferably at time of booking.
The reserve has a network of small tracks that traverse the area, and if something exceptional begs our attention we do go off-road. This we try to do as sensitively as possible, ever aware of the impact we have on the environment.
Research and the Selinda Foundation
We try to give back as much as possible. In this we are fortunate in being custodians of a vast wilderness, and from time to time we sponsor or get involved in a variety of research projects. Each year we compile detailed notes on the area, a 100 page research document that covers predation to vegetation types sampling.
At present we have Roger and Alison Heath, who are compiling a complete plant species catalogue, as well as both a computerised and paper field guide to identifying plants in the area. This will be done in association with Kew Gardens in the UK.
Roger and Alison are becoming more and more part of the Selinda family, adding their unique knowledge and insights that indicate that the wildlife experience is more than lions and buffalo, but rather a holistic one.
Each month game counts are done and we invite our guests to share in this experience if they like. Moonlight waterhole counts and quarterly aerial surveys just increase our knowledge and show us trends. So far we can see that the cessation of hunting is paying off tremendously, as wildlife learns that at Selinda there is a safe haven for them.
In addition the Foundation, which takes donations in camp, sponsors an education program in the towns nearest to our supply hub in Kasane. We have helped establish a wildlife society, offer lectures for the children and annually arrange for class leaders from the local schools to visit the area and experience their own indigenous wildlife. It is our belief that the future of all wildlife in Africa lies in that unique partnership between people like us, the travellers who visit us, the communities closest to its wild places and the wildlife itself. It is however our belief that this can be a passive relationship not one based on meat production, harvesting animals or to the detriment of nature. Education is the key to that future.
The Selinda Reserve - 300,000 acres of pure wilderness
There are few places on earth where humans have not walked. deep in the forests of Selinda there are such places. vast areas of woodland, dotted with seasonally filled rainwater pans. places that are for lions and elephants only, or herds of buffalo, never exposed to the pressures of human society. There are impenetrable woodlands and rolling great plains. this is the place where wildlife can breathe freely, unmolested, unrestrained.
The Selinda Reserve is a 300,000 acre / 135,000 hectare private wildlife sanctuary straddling both the Okavango and Chobe systems in northern Botswana. It’s vast floodplains and ancient forests offer an authentic and timeless African experience. But what makes this reserve so special is exclusivity. Within this massive wilderness, we allow only 8 game viewing vehicles… a truly exclusive experience.
The Selinda Reserve is owned and managed by a small group of good friends who believe passionately in making the Earth better. Ownership is less about laying claim to a vast tract of land like this, than it is about taking care of the reserve and making it better than when we found it. When we took over just a few years ago, most of Selinda was used as hunting land, where people could shoot ‘trophy’ animals; lions, elephants, leopards…just about anything.
On the first day they took over, they stopped all the hunting and since then not a shot has been fired in the area. Wildlife has responded in kind and concentrations are increasing. Elephants sense the difference and now calmly drink as you pass by. Once they ran at the first sound of a vehicle. Lion and leopards numbers are getting back to their natural levels and in general the whole area seems to now breathe a deep sigh of relief.
The reserve is one of the best places in all of Africa to view the highly endangered African wild dog, especially while they are less nomadic when they come to Selinda to den and raise their young.
Every decision made in Selinda is based on how we can be better, how we can enhance natural habitats and be role models in our society for looking after the environment; how we can develop ‘greener’ ways to conduct our business, respect our communities’ culture and bring subtle, low volume, responsible tourism to the wild places of Africa.
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