Selinda Explorers Camp

Selinda Explorers Camp: Our full report

Rooms
4 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 5 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
1 Mar to 30 Nov.

On the banks of the Selinda Spillway, Selinda Explorers Camp is the most recent addition to the private 1,350km 2 Selinda Reserve, having opened in August 2012. Although it is very like a classic mobile camp in style, albeit a relatively luxurious one, it is in fact permanent. Originally available on an exclusive-use basis only, it has since mid 2014 been bookable on an individual basis.

Selinda Explorers Camp was envisaged as a fancy version of a classic early explorer-style tented camp. It is certainly more modest in scope than its sister camp, Selinda Camp, and much more basic than the opulent Zarafa Camp, which are both on the same reserve. Yet with soft furnishings from Zanzibar and the East, and a slightly Middle Eastern vibe, the details are in the décor and – while it’s supposedly a ‘simple’ tented camp – it feels as stylish as many of the permanent camps in Botswana – exactly what we would expect from the owners. Thus it is a good option for those seeking more of a wilderness experience, but still with high expectations.

The main area of Selinda Explorers comprises two open-sided semi-permanent tents. In one is a simple dining area and bar; in the other, a more lavishly decorated lounge, with huge floor cushions, Zanzibari chests and brass lamps. The mix of dark wood and leather campaign furniture with Arabian accessories results in a colonial explorer feel. Meals are taken either in the dining area or under the stars.

With just four Meru-style tents, Selinda Explorers remains a very intimate camp. The tents are spacious, and all can be made up as doubles or twins. The beds are very comfortable, with high-quality cotton sheets and some of the biggest and softest pillows we have come across. An antique- style fan stands in the corner, along with a writing desk that blends in with the campaign-style furniture in the rest of the room. A slightly separate changing area has upright trunks adapted to provide drawers and hanging space. Here you will also find twin brass sinks, with jugs of water for washing. Drinking water and mosquito spray are provided, and electric lighting comes courtesy of solar power. Outside each tent, a hammock is strung up in the shade, providing the perfect spot for an afternoon siesta.

The canvas-walled open-air bathroom at the back of each tent has a ‘garden’ like feel resulting from bare sand floors and the use of natural materials. A wooden walkway allows you to cross from the flush toilet to the shower without walking on the sand. In the centre is a 200-litre bucket shower; with more than enough water, and hot water brought in the mornings and evenings, it is as good as any hotel shower!

Activities at Selinda Explorers Camp include both day and night game drives, but there is also a strong focus here is on walking and canoeing. Walking is best between the end of May and October, when there is good visability in the bush as the grasses have died back and the Mopane trees are bare. Canoeing takes place on the seasonally flooded Selinda Spillway, usually between May and September, when water levels are sufficiently high.

When we last visited in November 2015 we particularly enjoyed a slow-paced but informative walk led by our very knowledgeable guide. The birding was especially rewarding with a number of common Mopane residents including Arnot’s chat and ground hornbills, as well as plenty of raptors - African hawk eagle, Wahlberg’s, tawny and martial eagles. On an evening drive; we explored part of the Selinda Spillway area, which we found to be a very attractive habitat being flanked by mature riverine forest dotted with many silvery leadwood trees. As dusk started to fall, we spotted a small pack of wild dogs on the move - taking advantage of the cooler temperatures to hunt for their for dinner… and followed them until they veered off into thick bush. We then drove a short way to a lovely sundowner spot by the Spillway, where we were entertained by a pied kingfisher on a nearby log deftly flipping a small fish in its bill to be swallowed head first.

Our view

Selinda Explorers Camp is a great choice for a traditional tented camp experience, and its location beside the Selinda Spillway is lovely. It is very comfortable, and its focus on walking safaris and canoeing trips makes it different to most other places in the Delta. Thus it will work really well for those who want to be active, as well as enjoying the occasional promising game drive from a vehicle.

Geographics

Location: Kwando-Linyanti area, Botswana

Ideal length of stay: Three or four nights at Selinda Explorers is fine. Because the activities focus on walking and canoeing, a stay here combines very well with time at Selinda Camp, or Zarafa Camp, in the same reserve – both of which put more emphasis on 4WD safaris.

Directions: Selinda Explorers Camp is accessed by light aircraft from either Kasane or Maun; it is then a 50-minute drive from the airstrip to the camp.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Great Plains Conservation

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We thoroughly enjoyed the food at Selinda Explorers when we stayed in November 2015. Much like the food at Selinda Camp it felt light and healthy yet at the same time it was satisfying and very tasty! The camp can cater for most dietary requirements as long as they are informed in advance.

Breakfast included a choice of muesli, toast with a selection of jams, cheese, yoghurt, scones and fresh fruit along with tea/coffee/smoothie.

Brunch is served on your return from the morning activity. We were offered a delicious choice of lamb burgers, roast butternut and feta salad, quinoa salad with avocado, a big green salad, fresh bread rolls, a cheese platter and fresh fruit.

Afternoon tea, before the afternoon activity, includes both savoury and sweet snacks. We had a tasty homemade pizza and chocolate cake. Juice, iced-tea, tea and coffee are available too.

Dinner is served shortly after your return to camp in the evening. We ate in the canvas dining tent as the first rains were threatening to fall. The three-course dinner was a plated service with a halloumi salad to start, followed by a balsamic glazed beef fillet served with mashed potato and ratatouille, and rounded off with malva pudding and custard. The whole meal from start to finish was absolutely superb.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits, plus a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne, imported wines and spirits will cost extra and must be requested well in advance. Guests are given a water bottle that is filled up for them before activities etc. Bottled water is available on request.

Further dining info: There is no room service at Selinda Explorers Camp.

Special interests

Birdwatching: Selinda Explorers Camp offers an honorary "membership" into the "111 Club", an honour bestowed upon guests who spot 111 or more birds during their stay at camp.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Botswana

Walking safaris: Selinda Explorers is a small, smart tented camp in a first-class area for big game; it offers walking and canoeing – and is an excellent camp for walking safaris in Botswana.

See more ideas for Walking safaris in Botswana

Children

Attitude towards children: Children aged ten years and older are welcomed by Selinda Explorers Camp.

Special activities & services: They have guides who are great with children, and can offer alternative and slightly tailored activities such as fishing or short canoe trips. The camp also has ‘young explorers’ activity books with things for children to find in the bush during their stay. They can offer child minding from one of their housekeeping team, but not someone specially trained in child care.

Equipment: Selinda Explorers can provide triple rooms for families.

Notes: Children must be supervised at all times by their parents/guardians, as predators wander freely through camp, which is also surrounded by water.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: Each tent has individual solar panel to power lights. However there is also a small generator used as a battery charging station in the main area.

Communications: There is no cellphone reception or internet, but a satellite phone and radio are in place for emergencies only.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: Selinda Explorers has a reverse osmosis machine for cleaning drinking water from the borehole. Guests are given a water bottle that is filled up for them before activities etc. Bottled water is available on request.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: All senior staff and guides have medical first- aid training. The nearest medical facility is in Maun and the camp has links to a flying- doctor service.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each tent.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: A limited laundry service is available, weather permitting. Items are hand washed and line dried.

Money: There is no currency exchange here. There are safes in the tents.

Accepted payment on location: If you wish to tip, which is optional, then bring cash with you. Cash is accepted in any major currency and the camp has an old-fashioned swipe card machine for Visa and MasterCard, but not Amex.