Botswana: thoughts on the all-new Selinda Camp


The Selinda Spillway is one of the most unspoilt and wildlife rich places in the Okavango Delta. Great Plains’ Selinda Camp has long been one of our favourite places to stay in Botswana, and it has now reopened after a complete rebuild. This is what you can expect from the new Selinda Camp.

The location

The Selinda Spillway is located in the northern part of Botswana, and it is a stretch of water linking the Okavango Delta with the Linyanti Swamps in the east. The camp is on a remote stretch of the river, in a private 332,000 acre reserve. The floodplain is rich in game all through the year, and as just 18 guests are permitted to visit the reserve at any one time, the chances of seeing anyone else whilst out on a game drive is minimal.

The camp

When the architects and designers envisaged the new Selinda Camp, they drew inspiration from three different cultural styles – European, Mokololo, and Bayei – and also the four essential elements of water, air, earth and fire. Natural materials feature prominently in the construction, and there’s a strong sense of place, which recognises the artistic contributions of local artisans. Look out for spears and shields decorating the walls, but also beautiful swathes of coloured silk rippling in the breeze.

Selinda is an expedition-style camp, and when you set down your bags in one of the four individually designed tents, you will certainly feel like an explorer. This feeling is emphasised if you arrive at the camp by boat.

Each tent has a large private veranda on which to relax, sip your morning coffee, and watch the world go by. The tents have their own colour palette, the vintage trunks give a nod to the past, and the furnishings are undoubtedly elegant, albeit with a bohemian twist.

Guests typically dine together in the main lodge, enjoying fresh produce from the camp’s own kitchen garden. The staff want you to feel at one with the natural surroundings and attach great importance to what they grow and cook for you.

Selinda Camp’s crystal-clear swimming pool is a welcome feature, especially on a hot afternoon.

The wildlife and activities

The opportunities for wildlife spotting in the Selinda Spillway are second to none. The area is known to have some 200 species of birds, plus elephant, cheetah, hyena, giraffe, and more.

When you stay at Selinda Camp, you can take two game drives each day.  The first of these is at day break, and the second in late afternoon. There are opportunities for guided walks, and when the water levels permit, canoeing on the channels, too.

If you have children in tow, they are bound to love Great Plains’ Young Explorers programme. These activities carefully blend conservation education with a great deal of fun, and might include anything from bush craft and Swahili lessons to animal tracking and star gazing. Parents are welcome to join in, too!

Laura Burdett-Munns is Managing Director at Africa Exclusive. Africa Exclusive has been creating the finest tailor-made safaris since 1990, specialising in luxurious accommodation in beautiful remote places.

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Comments (4)

  1. Fiona says:

    I’m definitely feeling the desire to go on another safari coming on, every few years I get that itch to head out into the wild of Africa. I’ve not visited Botswana and I’m getting the impression that with its vast open spaces and luxurious camps it’s becoming the place to Safari.

    I like the look of the Selinda Camp it’s clearly aiming to combine a sense of adventure, a sort of 19th Century colonial explorer chic, with contemporary expectations of comfort.

  2. Ivor Hunter says:

    There’s something very appealing about those two words : Okavango Delta and I’ve been wanting to get there for a very long time. It’s all the more attractive when you learn that only 18 guests are allowed on to the private game reserve at any one time.

    The arrival of the Selinda Camp looks to complete the Okavango’s complete package. It’s hard to think of anything that could be done to improve it as a base for a safari.

  3. Lisa Shaw says:

    It’s great the reserve limits the amounts of people who can visit to just 18, that must keep it very peaceful. As for Selinda Camp, they really want all out on their renovation, it looks incredible! It’s like a bit of everything all in one, from rustic and authentic to having contemporary touches and and boho vibe. I can imagine it being so comfortable and grounding to stay there, around natural beauty that’s right on your doorstep.

  4. Vernon says:

    I like it when people dine together. It encourages people to be sociable and you never know where the conversation will go.

    At a place like Selinda you’ll find that people will have seen different things during the day. Sometimes you’ll stay with someone who is an expert on bird life or geology or has down a bit of background reading on the area.

    Dining with other people often gives you a better understanding of the destination and puts things into context.

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