Africa

Selinda Explorers Camp: Experience an Unforgettable Botswana Safari

Dining

Some camps serve meals at separate tables while others serve family style. Selinda is the latter and 90% of the time I prefer it this way. Group meals make it easier to get to know fellow travelers and share the day’s experiences.

The food here is very good. My biggest challenge is stopping myself from eating. You’ll never go hungry on a safari.

Doctor putting out breakfast in the bush
Doctor setting up our bush breakfast

Some camps serve meals at separate tables while others serve family style. Selinda is the latter and 90% of the time I prefer it this way. Group meals make it easier to get to know fellow travelers and share the day’s experiences.

The food here is very good. My biggest challenge is stopping myself from eating. You’ll never go hungry on a safari.

Breakfast in the bush -

Mornings begin with hot chocolate and biscuits after an early wake up “hello” from Doctor. By 6:15 – 6:30 am we’re in our vehicles, heading out on our first game drive.

The truck carrying all the accouterment was hidden somewhere behind a clump of trees, I’m guessing, making it seem as if everything had magically appeared on its own.

Lunch is back at Selinda buffet style. Because the sun is scorching midday we eat in the dining tent where there is shade.

Breakfast is during the drive in a picturesque location. Doctor pulls down the vehicle’s tailgate and lays out simple eats such as yogurt, eggs sunny side up, homemade granola, muffins, and the like. One day when I was driving alone with Doctor, he turned a corner and under a tree was a full buffet and table set for breakfast for him and me.

Four o’clock is High Tea (depending on the season timing may change a bit) where everyone comes together before the afternoon drive. A variety of sweet and savory bites are on the menu along with fresh ginger-lemonade to which I am addicted (recipe below). It’s just the right balance of sweet and sour with a real kick that makes it special.

At sunset, we’re in the bush again somewhere beautiful, watching the sun dip below the horizon.


Super Easy Recipe For Fresh Ginger Lemonade (Amounts are to taste)

  1. Ingredients

    Lemons, sliced
    Grated Ginger
    Boiling water
    Honey

  2. Instructions

    Boil lemon and ginger
    While boiling at honey (if desired)
    Strain and let cool
    Serve right away over ice or refrigerate covered


A beautiful table set for dinner one evening al fresco
Dinner under the jackalberry tree

When we get back from our night drive, dinner is an hour away. Just enough time to shower, get dressed, and have a glass of wine or two. The table is outside, beautifully set and lit with candles in the clearing. On one occasion a crystal chandelier hung from a tree.

There’s always a choice of entrees with a selection of sides such as vegetable ragout, or polenta topped with spicy tomato and green pepper. An especially delicious meal was a menu of creamy tomato soup, lamb tagine with roasted vegetables or Mushroom Risotto, and for dessert a coconut pudding with rooibos tea infused custard.

When dinner is over, I’m barely able to stay awake. Doctor walks me to my tent, making sure I’m all zipped up before he bids me good night.

Snuggling under the sheets I think of the buffalo and hope they’ll favor me with another late-night visit.


I was a guest of Selinda Explorers Camp but the opinions expressed in this post are my own. There are affiliate links on this post which means if you purchase something I feature I’ll make a little commission at no cost to you.


How You Can Go on a Safari at Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp is one of eight camps and suites in Botswana under the Great Plains Conservation (GPC) umbrella. GPC also has camps in Zimbabwe and Kenya for a total of 15 camps and suites. A new camp in the Masai Mara will open at the end of the year.

You can book a holiday directly with GPC or work with a travel specialist.


Seasons

Peak season is June 15 to Oct 31.

Shoulder seasons are on either side of that — April 1-June 14 and November 1 – December 19

Green season is January 11 to March 31

Festive is December 20 to January 10.

Peak and festive (ie Christmas) seasons are the most expensive.


Botswana Climate

Dry Season: April to October

Expect hotter temperatures. Grasses have dried out, water is scarce, and cooler temps in the early morning and at night are the norm. June, July, and August are not as hot, though still in the mid–to high 70s. Nights can get chilly. It’s a good idea to wear hats and gloves. September / October are traditionally the hottest months, early mornings and nights are pleasant.

Wet Season – November to March

November and December have been uncharacteristically hot the last couple of years. In September and October, however, the mornings and evenings are nice. January and February are the wettest months and strong storms are uncommon. In March the rains start to slow down. Everything is brilliant green as if it’s been photoshopped.

I’ve been in Botswana in early November and early March. On both trips, it was cool in the morning and evening. Between 9 am and 5 pm it was really hot but bearable.

How to Get There

Unfortunately, Botswana isn’t the easiest country to get to. You’ll want to fly into Maun (MUB) it’s the main gateway to the Delta. There are very few direct flights to Botswana except through South Africa either to Johannesburg (JNB) or Cape Town (CPT). South African Airways has direct flights to both cities from New York (JFK), London (LHR) and Munich (MUC).

From Maun, you’ll take a bush plane to the Selinda airstrip where your guide will meet you and drive you to the camp. It takes about an hour or longer if you want to stop for wildlife.

Tip: If you want to include Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls in your itinerary, take a direct flight from South Africa to Kasane, Zimbabwe, and then Maun.

For information about vaccinations, visas, and the like, I’ve put together a resource page with helpful links.


Helpful Tech

  • I never leave home without my travel power strip. That way I need only one adapter (I bring two anyway) and the rest of my gadgets plug into the strip. It’s an easy way to charge multiple devices at one time. Duba has its own version of a universal strip in each tent but a lot of camps don’t.
  • Bring a portable power bank with you. Game drives are three to four hours long. If you like to use your smartphone for photos and video you’re going to need back up juice. I really like the size and versatility of My Charge HubPlus portable charger.

Activities

  • Early morning and late afternoon/early evening game drives
  • Walking safaris,
  • Canoeing trips (water permitting)

Tipping

Tipping isn’t mandatory but it is customary and should be in cash (U.S. dollars). I’ve never been on safari (15 now) where gratuities weren’t earned and then some.

Budget $15 to $20 per day, per person for the staff. The pooled tips are split amongst them. There’s typically a wooden letterbox in the main tent where you can place it (Envelopes are in your tent).

Your guides, who spend hours of their time and works very hard to make your stay as wonderful as possible, should also receive $15 to 20 per person, per day. You tip the guide directly.

If there is anyone else who makes you feel extra special, of course, feel free to reach out to them directly as well.

Some advice: I prepare my tips before I fly to Africa. I use two envelopes per camp (one each for staff and guide) and fill the envelopes beforehand so I don’t have to worry about pulling the money together at the last minute. It also helps to know the cash is spoken for and I won’t accidentally spend it. I label the staff envelopes and add my guides’ names to the others once we’ve met.


Random Notes

  • There is no Wi-Fi at Selinda or cell service. You’ll be off the grid. Enjoy.
  • Outlets to charge camera batteries and phones are in a chest located in the lounge. There are no outlets in the tents.
  • Children six and above are welcome.
  • If sustainability is important to you, you’ll be happy to know it’s very important to the Jouberts as well. All the electricity for the camp is generated by solar power; guests are given refillable metal water bottles, there’s no unnecessary plastic, and if tomorrow the camp were to close they could pick up shop without leaving any permanent trace.
  • Speaking of plastic, bags are banned in Botswana.
  • The sand, random curves, and dirt tracks in the delta will rock your Land Cruiser from side to side, forward and back like a child’s funhouse ride. After days spent being tossed about, the constant jumble may wear on you. If you have a sensitive back you should keep this in mind.
  • For the same reason, if you’re prone to car sickness, you might want to have Dramamine on hand.

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Wild dogs, roan, caracal, serval & sable. All rare animals and yet I saw them all in one Botswana safari at Selinda Explorers Camp in the Okavango Delta. Leopards and Lions too! #Botswanatravel #Botswanasafari #wildlife #Wildlifephotography #OkavangoDeltaBotswana #OkavangoDeltaphotography #OkavangoDeltaSafari #Africanwildlife #Africanwilddog
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12 replies »

  1. We stayed at Selinda Explorers for 5 nights in Sept 2017 on our first ever safari. It was magical. I find it impossible to describe in a way that brings people there but your post, with your gorgeous photos, comes close. We went to another country for the 2nd half of our safari and while okay, we decided that in the future, we only want to visit Botswana, and only with Great Plains. So in November, we’ll be heading back and doing the same stops you did – Duba Explorers (can’t wait to visit the Okavango) and Selinda Explorers again. Last time we wanted to stay longer so this time we’ll be in Selinda for 7 nights and Duba for 4. Still not enough time but is it ever? Thanks for these posts. They bring me back in a way no other blogs or reviews do.

    • It’s so true Maureen, the true essence of Africa just can’t be felt unless you’re there. How wonderful that you’re going back for such a nice long visit. Though you are right, it’s never quite enough. Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. I really appreciate it.

  2. Once again, incredible story and beautiful pictures! I enjoy reading your articles every time and keep hoping that some day I get a chance to experience it for myself! 🙂

  3. “Above us, lounging in the crook of a sprawling jackalberry tree, an adult female leopard is bathed in golden light and to my delight, she knows how to work the camera” – ahh you know how to paint a picture with words as much as your stunning photography! This took me right back to my safari in the Okavango Delta, which was nowhere near as luxurious as yours but has me dreaming of going back!

  4. We’ve stayed at Selina and will again in a month. Great description! Makes me “homesick!” Thanks for your good reporting and photos. Loved your comment about going from zero to sixty in under a minute in the bush!

    • It’s so true, right? You’re kind of wondering if you’ll see anything and then all of a sudden, wham, something extraordinary happens. It’s why I’m addicted to safaris.

      Thank you very much for your kind words and for taking time out of your busy day to take a look. Are you staying at Selinda or Selinda Explorers?

  5. Love the thorough report on Selinda and your experience! The video and photos are wonderful, too!!! Thanks for sharing!

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