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. A new Great Plains camp will open here, Selinda Pioneers Camp.

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 $TBC per person

Selinda Pioneers Camp

The Great Plains collection of safari camps continues to grow with Selinda Pioneers Camp, due to open in 2021. Selinda Pioneers Camp will redevelop 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, Selinda Pioneers Camp is sure to become a popular camp.

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From $10200 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 $2125 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 $1010 per person

Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers 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 $1190 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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