Selinda Reserve (NG16)

A vast and picturesque wildlife sanctuary between the Okavango and Linyanti river water systems.

The Selinda reserve lies between the Okavango and Linyanti water systems, and it protects the Selinda Spillway which runs through the heart of this vast reserve – 130 000 hectares (1 350 square kilometres) of pristine wilderness. It is a beautiful environment – tall palm trees look onto open grasslands and riverine forest. In the dry season the game viewing is fantastic.

The reserve’s camps are situated in the east of the concession where game viewing is aided by the large expanses of open ground dotted with tree islands.  The west of the reserve is dense leadwood and mopane forest.  Here was located Motswiri Camp; a riding safari outfit run by Ride and Walk Botswana but closed on 31 December 2019.  In 2022 the new Pangolin Photo Camp, run by Pangolin Photo Safaris will open. This is a semi- mobile camp, moving between 7 sites in the western Selinda Reserve.

The Selinda Spillway (or Magwegquana) is a fascinating fossil channel which routes water between the Linyanti Swamps and the Okavango Delta.  Often dry, it connected the two waterlands again in 2009 after heavy floods.  You can even take a four night trip canoeing down the Spillway June to October with Selinda Adventure Trail.

Animals –In common with the Linyanti and Kwando areas, the game is increased in the second half of the year by migrations moving from the drier areas, although impala, kudu, tsessbe, warthog, reedbuck and giraffe are seen all year round.  There are always good sightings of lion.  Selinda is particularly notable for sightings of its resident pack of wild dog; they love the open grasslands.

Birds –Birdlife includes carmine bee-eaters which have learned to follow game drive vehicles to feed on the insects that fly up to avoid the wheels; a wonderful, colourful spectacle for the passengers.  Raptors in the area are martial and fish eagles and bateleurs.  Black and slaty egrets, wattled crane and African skimmers are found here.

Plantlife –When the water returns, the smaller trees and wild sage bushes that have colonised the spillway during dry times are killed off. The islands of the open floodplains are formed in a slow, fascinating process that takes decades.  The islands begin with termite mounds which are high enough to stay above water in times of flooding.  Eventually trees grow on these higher areas.  Trees draw in water but do not take up the salts in the water.  The salts crystallise and eventually raise the level of the islands.  Ultimately the trees die off, unable to cope with the high salt content of their islands.

Best Months- As for much of the area, concentrations of game are best in the winter months.  In the rainy summer months game can disperse into the mopane forests of the concession’s western expanse.

Access  – Approximately one hour flight from Maun or Kasane to the airstrip between Zarafa and Selinda.

Camps: Selinda, Selinda Suite, Zarafa, Zarafa Dhow Suite, Selinda Explorers, Selinda Pioneers Camp.

Accommodation in this Area

From $1,935 per person

Selinda Camp

One of Botswana’s most exclusive camps, the recently rebuilt Selinda Camp lies in the pristine paradise of the vast 130,000 hectare Selinda reserve between the Okavango and Chobe. One of Botswana’s smallest camps- with just 3 spacious guest tents in the main camp - creating an intimate yet impressive safari experience. Selinda Camp offers a highly exclusive and luxurious safari experience in one of the most scenic and untouched areas of Botswana.

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From $9,290 per person

The Selinda Suite

Overlooking a beautiful stretch of river on the private Selinda Reserve, the Selinda Suite offers one of the most exclusive safaris in Africa. This luxurious 2 bedroom suite operates as your own private safari camp – complete with your own private guide, chef and host offering the ultimate exclusivity and flexibility. A superb safari experience is matched by fantastic food and service, as you would expect of a Relais and Chateaux property. 

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From $1,935 per person

Zarafa Camp

Zarafa Camp is one of the finest camps in Botswana, occupying a stunning position overlooking a permanent lagoon on the vast and exclusive Selinda Reserve. In this pristine 130,000 hectare reserve, between the Okavango and Chobe, some of Botswana’s most iconic species abound. This is a very special camp, Botswana’s first Relais & Chateaux property, with just four achingly stylish suites, it is an intimate and exclusive safari experience.

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From $1,105 per person

Okavango Explorers Camp

The Great Plains collection of safari camps continues to grow with Okavango Explorers Camp, opened in July 2022. Okavango Explorers Camp redevelops the site of Motswiri camp, which closed in December 2019. With Great Plains’ track record of excellent camps together with a beautiful location on the Selinda Spillway and interesting game viewing, Okavango Explorers Camp has become a popular choice for safari goers.

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From $9,290 per person

Zarafa Dhow Suite

The Zarafa Dhow Suite offers one of the most exclusive and luxurious safari experiences in Africa, a stunning two bedrooom suite complete with private guide, chef and butler. The suite has a stunning position overlooking the Zibadianja Lagoon on the vast and beautiful Selinda Resereve in northern Botswana, with superb game viewing. Situated next to Zarafa Camp, Botswana’s first and only Relais & Chateaux property, this is the ultimate safari experience.

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From $1,105 per person

Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp is a delightful little camp, perfect for travellers looking for a genuine “old world” safari in simple but elegant style. Unpretentious yet refined, this camp of just 4 tents offers a special safari experience with a focus on walking and 4x4 drives. The camp lies on the Selinda Spillway, embracing the natural riverine forest, in the heart of the vast and varied 130,000 hectare Selinda reserve. A truly remote and peaceful safari.

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From $810 per person

Pangolin Photo Camp

Pangolin Photo Camp is a simple tented camp aimed at wildlife photographers looking to improve their photographic skills and enhance their portfolio. This is a semi-mobile camp, moving locations on a private concession in the pretty Selinda region, west of the Okavango. Photo tuition, cameras, SD cards and lenses are available in camp free of charge. The camp is hosted by a Pangolin Photo Host to provide photographic advice and features an editing tent for group post-production sessions.

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