Zarafa, Botswana

26 09 2009

Zarafadook064

Who They Are

Zarafa Camp is probably the greenest luxury lodge on earth and was opened in 2008 by Great Plains. The small and luxurious four-roomed tented camp is located in the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve in the north of the country and straddles the Okavango Delta in the west and the Linyanti and Kwando rivers and waterways to the east. In spite of its enormous size, the reserve has only three small camps with a total of sixteen tented rooms, a staggering 20,000 acres per room – low-impact tourism at its best.

What They Are Doing

Carbon Footprint

When planning was started for the flagship Zarafa in 2007, nothing was spared to ensure that it would be the most environmentally sustainable luxury lodge anywhere. Today the camp is where extreme green meets sumptuous luxury, with appropriate safari atmosphere and style. All the hardwoods are recycled, and the flooring is made from 100-year-old discarded railway sleepers. The camp’s major achievement, though, is its being probably the only luxury camp of its kind and size in the world to be entirely solar powered.

The Solar Farm

The Solar Farm

The principal dream at Zarafa was to create the planet’s greenest luxury lodge and prove that sustainable living and luxury can go hand in hand. Zarafa has all the appliances, sumptuous rooms, and deep freezers that a high-end luxury lodge requires, yet all the electricity is created from a solar farm. Zarafa has one of the biggest solar farms anywhere in Africa, with more than 170 solar panels. The electricity they generate is stored in long-life batteries, in turn feeding electricity 24/7 via an inverter system not only to the guest tents but also to the power-hungry back-of-house machinery and appliances – right down to the ice-making machines. The lodge’s 4×4 game-drive vehicles are run primarily on recycled cooking oil (largely sourced from waste collected from fast food restaurants in Botswana), thus helping to ensure that Zarafa’s carbon footprint is the lowest possible.

Zarafa14

Conservation

Until 2005, the Selinda Reserve was used for both photographic and hunting safaris. Photographic safari guests could be admiring, lion, leopard, elephant or buffalo in the morning but, unbeknownst to them, those same animals could be shot by professional big game hunters later on, as the animals migrated away from the waters and into the woodlands to feed.

Thousands of animals were shot in the region. Wildlife numbers plummeted and the gene pool shrank; wildlife was skittish and elusive. Elephants, the iconic animal of today’s Selinda, were shy and aggressive. Times changed when Dereck and Beverly Joubert, five-time Emmy Award-winning filmmakers, and their partners in Great Plains bought the reserve in 2005. The next day hunting was stopped, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of potential profits immediately lost. The slow process of renewal began.

Despite hunting industry claims, the Selinda Reserve is proof that hunting in wildlife areas, free of fences, is neither sustainable nor the most productive form of land use, for the country or for the people of Botswana . Low-volume, high-tariff, high job-creating photographic safari tourism generates countless more benefits for everyone. Best of all, the wildlife now sense that Selinda is a place of peace. Towards the end of the dry season, in October, a recent wildlife census conducted in the reserve showed that there were some 9000 elephants, huge herds of buffalo and plains game, as well as lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog.

Community

Almost five percent of Zarafa’s turnover gets paid directly and distributed, via the land boards of the region, to the communities that live in northwest Botswana. That represents about twenty percent of the net profits of the lodge, and is in addition to the substantial lease fees that are paid each year.

Luxury in Recycled Wood

Luxury in Recycled Wood


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Who they are:

Zarafa Camp is probably the greenest luxury lodge on earth. The small and luxurious four-roomed tented camp is located in Selinda, a 320,000-acre reserve in northern Botswana that straddles the Okavango Delta in the west and the Linyanti and Kwando rivers and waterways to the east. In spite of its enormous size, the Selinda Reserve has only three small camps with only a total of sixteen tented rooms, a staggering 20,000 acres per room, low-impact tourism at its ultimate. The reserve is one of Africa’s prime wildlife destinations and Zarafa Camp is reserve’s flagship camp. When planning was started in 2007, nothing was spared to ensure that Zarafa would be the most environmentally sustainable luxury lodge anywhere. Today Zarafa is where extreme green meets sumptuous luxury, with appropriate safari atmosphere & styleAll the hardwoods used in camp are recycled hardwoods. Beautiful flooring has been made from 100 year old discarded teak railway sleepers. No new hardwoods were used anywhere in the lodge or in its furniture. Towards the end of the dry season in October, the wildlife census conducted in the Selinda Reserve verifies that there are around 9000 elephant in the reserve as well as huge herds of buffalo and plains game, with lions, leopard, cheetah and wild dog in close attendance.  Zarafa Camp is paradise in paradise.

What are they doing?:

Role Modelling

The principal dream at Zarafa was to create the planet’s greenest luxury lodge and prove that sustainable living and luxury can go hand in hand. ( http://www.selindareserve.com/zarafa.html ).   Zarafa has all the appliances, old rooms, deep freezers that a high-end luxury lodge requires, yet all the 220 volt electricity in camp is created from Zarafa’s solar farm. Zarafa has one of the biggest solar farms anywhere in Africa with over 170 solar panels. These solar panels generate electricity which is then stored in long-life batteries, in turn feeding electricity 24 hours a day via an inverter system not only to the guest tents but also to the power-hungry back-of-house machinery & appliances right down to ice making machines. The lodge’s game drive 4×4 vehicles are now run primarily on recycled cooking oil (largely sourced from waste collected from fast food restaurants in Botswana), thus helping to ensure that Zarafa Camp’s carbon footprint is the lowest possible.

Conservation:

Until 2005, the Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana was used for both photographic and hunting safaris. Photo safari guests could be admiring lion, leopard, elephant or buffalo or any one of a number of antelope in the morning – and later on that day, unbeknownst to the photo safari guests, the animal could be shot by professional big game hunters as the animals migrated away from the waters and into the woodlands to feed. Thousands of animals were shot in this region.  Wildlife numbers plummeted and the gene pool shrank.  Wildlife was skittish and elusive. Elephants, the iconic animal of today’s Selinda were shy and aggressive.  Times changed when new owners Dereck and Beverly Joubert, five time Emmy Award winning filmmakers and their partners bought the Selinda Reserve in 2005. The next day hunting was stopped, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of profits immediately lost from the balance sheet. The slow process of renewal of the Selinda Reserve had begun. Despite the hunting industry’s claims, the Selinda Reserve proves that hunting in wildlife areas, free of fences, is neither sustainable nor the most productive form of land use, for the country or for the people of Botswana.  Selinda Reserve proves that low-volume, high-tariff, high job-creating photographic safari tourism generates close on one thousand times more benefits to the country than hunting. Best of all, the wildlife now sense that Selinda is a place of peace.

Community:

Almost five percent of Zarafa’s turnover gets paid directly and distributed, via the land boards of the region, to the communities who live in northwest Botswana. That represents about twenty percent of the net profits of the lodge and is in addition to the substantial lease fees that are paid each year.ZARAFA CAMP  – Botswana

Who they are:

Zarafa Camp is probably the greenest luxury lodge on earth.  It is here that ultimate sustainability and sumptuous luxury blend seamlessly and harmoniously.  Zarafa is a small 4 roomed, luxurious, tented camp that is located within the Selinda Reserve, an enormous 320,000 acre reserve in northern Botswana that straddles the Okavango Delta in the west and the Linyanti and Kwando rivers and waterways to the east.  In spite of its enormous size, the entire Selinda Reserve has only three small camps with only a total of 16 tented rooms, a staggering 20,000 acres per room, low impact tourism at its extreme.  The Selinda Reserve is one of Africa’s prime wildlife destinations and Zarafa Camp is reserve’s flagship camp. Towards the end of the dry season in October, the wildlife census conducted in the Selinda Reserve verifies that there are around 9000 elephant in the reserve as well as huge herds of buffalo and plains game, with lions, leopard, cheetah and wild dog in close attendance.  Zarafa Camp is paradise in paradise.

What are they doing?:

Role Modelling

The principal dream at Zarafa was to create the planet’s greenest luxury lodge and prove that sustainable living and luxury can go hand in hand. When the planning for Zarafa Camp was started late in 2007, nothing was spared to ensure that the new Zarafa Camp was the most environmentally sustainable luxury lodge anywhere. Today Zarafa is where extreme green meets sumptuous luxury, with appropriate safari atmosphere & style. ( http://www.selindareserve.com/zarafa.html ).  All the hardwoods used in camp are recycled hardwoods. Beautiful flooring has been made from 100 year old discarded teak railway sleepers. No new hardwoods were used anywhere in the lodge or in its furniture. Zarafa has all the appliances, old rooms, deep freezers that a high-end luxury lodge requires, yet all the 220 volt electricity in camp is created from Zarafa’s solar farm. Zarafa has one of the biggest solar farms anywhere in Africa with over 170 solar panels. These solar panels generate electricity which is then stored in long-life batteries, in turn feeding electricity 24 hours a day via an inverter system not only to the guest tents but also to the power-hungry back-of-house machinery & appliances right down to ice making machines. The lodge’s game drive 4×4 vehicles are now run primarily on recycled cooking oil (largely sourced from waste collected from fast food restaurants in Botswana), thus helping to ensure that Zarafa Camp’s carbon footprint is the lowest possible.

Conservation:

Up until 2005, the 320,000 acre Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana was a dual-use hunting & photographic safari reserve.  Photo safari guests could be admiring lion, leopard, elephant or buffalo or any one of a number of antelope in the morning – and later on that day unbeknown to the photo safari guests, the animal could be shot by professional big game hunters as the animals migrated away from the waters and into the woodlands to feed. No one will ever know how many animals died over the decades.  Thousands of animals were shot in this region.  Wildlife numbers plummeted and the gene pool shrank, almost to the tipping point of no return.  Wildlife was skittish and elusive. Elephants, the iconic animal of today’s Selinda were shy and aggressive.  Times changed when new owners Dereck & Beverly Joubert, five time Emmy Award winning filmmakers and their partners bought the Selinda Reserve in 2005. The next day hunting was stopped, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of profits immediately lost from the balance sheet. The slow process of renewal of the Selinda Reserve had begun. Despite the hunting industries claims, the Selinda Reserve proves that hunting in wildlife areas, free of fences, is neither sustainable, nor is it the most productive land use form for the reserve, for the country or for the people of Botswana.  Selinda Reserve proves that low volume, high tariff, high job creating, photographic safari tourism generates close on 1000 times more benefits to the country than hunting. Best of all, the wildlife now sense that the Selinda is a place of peace.  Elephants no longer have to drink on the run before sprinting back to the forests to avoid being shot.  One can now spend hours watching elephants and their families drinking, grazing contentedly and at ease alongside all the wildlife of the region.

Community:

4.5% of Zarafa’s turnover gets paid directly and distributed, via the land boards of the region, to the communities who live in north-west Botswana.  While 4.5% does not sound like much, it represents around 20% of the nett profits of the lodge and is in addition to the substantial lease fees that are paid each year.

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