Zarafa Camp

August 10-12 

Our fourth and final safari camp was Zarafa, located in the Selinda Reserve about 30 minutes north of Vumbura by bush plane.  It represented a continuing improvement in modern conveniences from the previous camps:

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Our tent at Zarafa Camp, August 2017

Jack’s – no heat, light by paraffin lantern, mostly canvas walls in the tent with small screened windows (so dim even during daylight), no real storage for clothing etc., electricity in main tent from 8-5 daily.  Did I mention there is no heat anywhere?  No wifi or other connectivity.

Vumbura Plains – much much larger tent, electric lights, fully screened walls for lots of daylight, 24 hour electricity in tent, tons of hanging and storage space.  Still no heat anywhere.  Still no wifi or other connectivity.

Zarafa – large tent with “living room” and “bedroom suite” areas separated by a canvas wall, electric lights, fully screened walls with plastic covers at night, gas heater in bedroom area, 24 hour electricity in tent. Wifi, although pretty limited in speed.

Even in Zarafa, the toilet room was unheated and cold in the morning or at night.  And I had to start the gas heater in the morning, as we were asked to not keep it on all night.

There was also the question of what to do if you needed to leave the tent, or needed assistance, at night.  In no camps are guests allowed to walk unescorted in the dark, as there’s always the chance that a dangerous animal could wander into camp.   Singita, our first camp, had phones in the villas.  The other camps did not.  Jack’s and Zarafa relied upon air horns for you to call for help if needed, while Vumbura added a walkie-talkie radio.

We never needed any of these.

Zarafa Tent Collage.jpg

All the modern conveniences of 1935, August 2017

Zarafa, like Jack’s, was decorated in early 20th century British camp style – lots of trunks, campaign chairs, etc.   But Zarafa also had serious amenities.  Each of the four tents had Swarovski binoculars (1).  The camp has four serious Canon cameras with big zooms lenses available for your use (2).

As I mentioned, Zarafa is small – just four tents for two people each (3).  It’s managed by a couple, Sas and Dave.  Dave is/was a professional photographer and all-around very knowledgeable about many things.  I had several good chats with him.  When I asked him why he had moved from England to Botswana, he replied “Sas”.   She was born in Africa, and has been knocking around the tourism and safari business for a long time.  She was never going to live in a place like England.

(1) She used the binoculars for each drive.
(2) Sally used the Canon 5D with the 100-400/3.5-5.6 lens for one drive, and enjoyed it, but found it way too heavy to use comfortably.  Frankly, I found it too heavy to use comfortably as well.  That’s why I use my lightweight Olympus and Panasonic gear.
(3) Only two tents were occupied, including ours, during our stay.  So it was pretty quiet.

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