Set in one of the most pristine wilderness areas left on our planet, the brand new Selinda Camp rests on the Selinda Spillway banks as it enters the Linyanti River.
The private 130,000 hectare Selinda Reserve boasts elephants by the thousands, regular sightings of the Selinda pack of African wild dogs, and the famous Selinda Lion Pride recently feature 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 an excellent example of Botswana bush embodying various species and rare animals.
The new Selinda Camp represents the meeting place of three cultures, European, Mokololo, and Bayei. It is themed to resemble that of the thatched village of Sangwali, one that used to house 3,000 warriors and sufficient enough to loan David Livingstone 200 men during his travels.
Spears, shields, and an African version of Robinson Crusoe is the enduring theme through the camp. Its architectural design elements centre around Water, Air, Earth, and Fire, all of which ground the design.
Selinda Camp’s design pays homage first and foremost to water, with splashes of blue and crystal-clear swimming pools offering views over the equally immaculate Selinda Spillway to ease your arrival, usually by boat.
The billowing silks, which adorn the lounge area’s ceilings, are a tribute to Air and the afternoon breezes that ripple the endless sea of nearby grasses.
Earth is represented in the cornucopia of home-grown meals lovingly prepared in our kitchens, fresh from the earth. Our evening Fire’s bright flames complete the ethos of being in harmony with nature’s natural elements.
The camp has three expansive guest suites, each covered under thatch and large en-suite bathrooms and a large open private veranda with a seating area private swimming pool. Each guest suite is unique, designed with its own colour palette and theme.
In some cultures, a fifth element, ‘metal’, is also incorporated into the design. Every space enhances what Livingstone would have had, what he would have travelled with and found.
But beyond that, we go back to the Robinson Crusoe feel, including textures of rope, suites under thatch, hammocks, lots of space, nautical elements, and salvaged wood.
In addition to the three guest’s suites, the 2-bedroomed Selinda Suite (like its fellow Zarafa Dhow Suite and the Duba Plains 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.
The unique one-on-one life-changing experiences include sightings from leopards to elephants and hippos and aim to ensure you tick off as many of the 200 or more bird species in the area as possible.
The ‘perfect safari’ means something different to everyone.
For some it means stunning accommodation in a remote, private concession with as many wildlife-drives as you can fit into a day. For others it is being out on foot or in a canoe, active all day and totally disconnected from the world back home.
For some it is capturing the perfect photograph of one of Africa’s iconic species, for others it means spotting every bird on our 111 Club or introducing their children to the bush for the first time with our Young Explorers Programme.
Whatever your interests or travel style there is a Great Plains Conservation experience perfect for you. Use the pages below to help guide and inspire you as you plan the trip of a life time.
Toward that end, we own and operate some of the most luxurious, sustainable and lauded properties anywhere in Africa. Zarafa was awarded the first ever accreditation by Relais & Chateaux in Botswana and has since been joined by Duba Plains.
Ol Donyo Lodge and Mara Plains hold the same distinction as the only Relais & Chateaux properties in Kenya. These properties are also National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, handpicked for their exceptional guest experience and commitment to sustainable practices.
At our luxury camps guests 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.
Also available are 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.
We make use of UV reverse osmosis for drinking water and eco-friendly greywater recycling systems. Zarafa has a cutting edge biogas system which converts vegetable scraps into methane-based cooking gas and we are committed to reducing waste and eliminating single-use plastic in all of our camps.
At Great Plains guests are able to experience a blend of 100% conservation with 100% luxury, compromising neither while maximizing both.
WILD STUDIO PHOTOGRAPHIC SAFARI
Our camps are perfect for any level of photographer from professional to committed hobbyist to novice. From the Selinda Reserve’s herds of elephants, to sunrises over the Zambezi River at Sapi Explorers Camp to ol Donyo’s Lodge two photographic hides, perfectly placed in front of a water hole that draws some of the regions last “big tusker” elephants, our camps are a photographers dream!
Our 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 is even home to a specialist photographic boat for exploring the Okavango Delta.
At Duba Plains, Zarafa, Mara Plains and ol Donyo Lodge each tent has a Canon camera and lenses for guests to use with their images downloaded on departure. At Mpala Jena in Victoria Falls and at our 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.
ANYONE CAN LEARN
Great Plains Wild Studio is an opportunity for all levels of photographic abilities to become published wildlife photographers.
We have designed the courses to accommodate non-photographers also, ideal for couples and families looking for different experiences.
PRIVATE TUITION OR IN GROUPS
We 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.
Professional photographers, who live in either Botswana or Kenya, will guide our photography guests through the technical aspects of photography, and then take them even further by developing meaningful portfolios that we will assist in publishing for them.
UNIQUE WAY TO LEARN
Quite simply we work backwards! On day one we will design the contents page of the portfolio for a book, social media album, printed photos for your dining room wall or for a published calendar to give to your friends.
All we have is a one-page contents page as your destination, which will be the flexible guide for the rest of the workshop. The chapters could be birds in flight, soul of the elephant, zebras in action, the predators of the savannah. We let our creativity go wild.
OBJECTIVE FOCUSED PHOTOGRAPHY
The concept draws on the strategy used by professional and National Geographic photographers. Having a brief allows us to really hone our skills in a focused way rather than scouting the reserves randomly. It will help us produce better images.
THE TECHNICAL ASPECTS
Once we know what we would like to create we learn the skills needed to create the vision. We don’t let the camera drive us but learn how it can be used to create our vision.
Your ‘image-capturing device’ can be a smartphone, GoPro, compact right up to the professional cameras. It does not matter as they can all capture an exposure of your subject to tell a story. The most recent Wildlife Photographer of the Year image was taken on a GoPro.
Not only are the majority of our properties from Zimbabwe to Kenya to Botswana accessed by air, via “hopper” flights between the camps, booking an additional aerial experience is always a thrilling addition to a stay with us.
At Mpala Jena Camp in Zambezi National Park or at any of our camps in Botswana guests can book a scenic helicopter flight to capture stunning aerial shots of Victoria Falls, the Okavango Delta or the wildlife-rich banks of the Selinda Spillway.
In Botswana you can even combine your scenic helicopter flight with our Life with Elephants tour, a cultural tour of the village of Eresha developed in partnership with the local community.
In the Maasai Mara enjoy a hot air balloon ride as the sunrises over the iconic East African plains or book a helicopter from ol Donyo Lodge to fully appreciate the size and scale of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Those who want an even more extensive flying experience might consider our Cape to Nairobi itinerary, taking advantage of the fully pressurized and air-conditioned Great Plains Pilatus PC-12 available for private charter or our Ultimate Flying Safari, a two-week private, fully-guided flying adventure, exploring Botswana, Kenya and Zimbabwe by private plane.
For those wanting a walking safari experience, Great Plains Conservation’s Sapi Springs and Sapi Explorers Camps in Zimbabwe are perfect.
The 120,000 hectare Sapi Reserve, home Sapi Springs and Sapi Explorers Camps, forms part of a 1.6 million acre Unesco World Heritage site and is Africa’s dream walking safari destination. Selinda Explorers Camp and ol Donyo Lodge are great options as well.
From Selinda Explorers Camp you can bushwalk and canoe daily (water levels permitting) while from ol Donyo Lodge you can hike through Hemingway’s ‘green hills of Africa’ or explore the plains at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro on a walk, by bike or from the back of a horse.
For those wanting to get out on foot for a morning or an afternoon, shorter bushwalks are available from most of our properties (walking activities may have a higher age limit).
We invite you to confirm your love for each other in some of Africa’s most idyllic and romantic hideaways. Africa is the birthplace of humankind and let this be the birth of where your romance begins.
Swear your love in front of an imposing gathering of Maasai men women and warriors all dressed in their finest beadwork and carrying spears or celebrate your nuptials with a simple ceremony set out in the middle of an African plain or set against our finest Relais and Chateaux camps.
Instead of having your guests pile up gold wrapped gift boxes with toasters and wine decanters, tell your friends you want to buy a rhino’s freedom or solar lanterns for a local community.
Imagine making your marriage a symbol of the way you live your lives together, unselfishly, about experiences rather than things, about giving rather than taking and about making the world better…
We arrange weddings in all of our Kenya and Botswana camps and many a celebrity couple have elected to sneak off with a dozen or so close friends for a private and authentic African wedding.
While many couples opt to do a once-in-a-lifetime ceremony with us while obtaining a marriage license in their home country, those wanting to ensure a legal marriage while on safari should review the Marriage Requirements at the links below.
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.