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Natural Selection

www.naturalselection.travel/

Natural Selection is a collection of owner-operated safari camps and mobile safaris, united by the common aim of providing our guests with unique and exceptional safari experiences and being a part of the conservation solution for Africa’s wildlife.

Safaris of Character

We think frills are great, but they are no match for thrills, especially when it comes to African safaris.    Don’t get us wrong, we love a great bottle of wine and soft sheets as much as anyone.  But for us, the greatest luxury of all, by far, is experience.   That’s why we’ve created a portfolio of welcoming camps and one-of-a-kind experiences that are full of unique soul and colorful character, with extraordinary staff, located in the very heart of where the wild things are.   Natural Selection is a collection of owner-operated safari camps and lodges united by the common aim of providing our guests with unique and exceptional safari experiences and being a part of the conservation solution for Africa’s wildlife.

 

Camp Kalahari

Country: Botswana

Destination: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 12

The laidback little sister of Jack’s and San Camp, Camp Kalahari is our understated and affordable base in the heart of the great Kalahari. Set amongst the waving palms and acacia trees of Brown Hyena Island, the 12 funky Meru tents are perfect for families, groups and couples, and are an ideal base for discovering the charms of the desert and the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, a landscape that’s as surreal as it is sublime, and as mysterious as it is magical.

And if you’re looking for adventure, then look no further! We’ve got quad bike adventures, across the otherworldly salt pans, walks with the Zu’/hoasi bushmen to discover the amazing creatures that somehow manage to survive (and thrive) in this harsh environment, and our very own ‘’Kalahari cool cats,’’ the habituated meerkat family who like nothing more than to use unsuspecting guests as lookout points. Come for a day, and you’ll be wowed by the landscape and the people; stay for a few days and you might never want to leave…


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Jack's Camp

Country: Botswana

Destination: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 9

After several decades of setting the standard in the Kalahari, we are delighted to announce that Jack’s Camp has undergone a full rebuild and has now reopened in 2021.

The brand-new Jack’s Camp pays homage to the property’s enduring and much-loved 1940s campaign style. The guest tents, seven twins and two doubles, are much larger and each is 270 square metres in size. The iconic interiors remain and are embellished with rich textiles from around the world, Natural History Museum cabinets, and an overhead bed cooling system. Ensuite bathrooms have both indoor and outdoor showers and outside, each veranda has a private plunge pool.

The new, larger mess tent is resplendent with the renowned Natural History Museum, library, antique pool table and a well-stocked drinks chest. The iconic nomadic Persian tea tent has been made larger and the shop has been renovated and restocked with new treasures.


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Meno a Kwena

Country: Botswana

Destination: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 10

The safari never stops at Meno a Kwena, a hidden gem of a camp perched on a rocky clifftop above the Boteti River in Botswana. With a glittering roster of activities, including day trips to the Makgadikgadi Pans, guided walks with the San bushmen, and wildlife-watching boat trips, there’s plenty to get your teeth into. But sometimes, the best game viewing is where you least expect it, and at Meno, it’s right in front you. From their lofty position, the ten tents look down on a menagerie of animals at the water below, from herds of majestic elephant, to dazzles of nomadic zebra – all you need to do is sit back, and take it all in.

At just 90 minutes by road from Maun, Meno is a good option if you’re travelling as a group, or with little ones (or even big ones!). The camp was originally used by Southern Africa’s legendary explorers, and although we’ve added a few little touches here, and some little quirks there, it’s refreshingly and stylishly simple. And actually, the real treat at Meno is the connection with nature; when an elephant provides your alarm call in the morning, and you can game view straight from your private veranda, nothing else really matters.


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Planet Baobab

Country: Botswana

Destination: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 18

Follow the road pointed out by the giant anteater and you’ll discover the intriguingly named Planet Baobab… This is the Baobab Capital of the World, where the average age of each tree is more than 4000 years, and the boundless lunar landscape of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the size of Switzerland. How’s that for awe-inspiring?

This is a quirky place in a quirky part of the world, where we live cheek to tusk with old elephants; sleep in basic but oh so Afro-chic Bakalanga Huts; swim in the largest, coolest pool in the Kalahari; eat the finest pan-African cuisine, and of course, drink something cold with hunters and vagabonds, travellers and locals in the funkiest bar in Africa. It’s the coolest desert oasis around – and a part of Africa that few will experience, but all will remember.


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Safarihoek Lodge

Country: Namibia

Destination: Etosha National Park

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 11

In the middle of northern Namibia’s arid, captivating savannah, bordering the world-famous Etosha National Park, is Safarihoek Lodge. Perched on top of a hill, overlooking the plains below, Safarihoek is a stylish sort of place, and you’ll find cool, thatched chalets all with private decks, a double-storey photography hide, and a swimming pool with 180-degree vistas of the brilliant savannah.

But if there’s one thing about Safarihoek, it’s the location. Everywhere you turn, the rugged Namibian savannah stretches into the distance, with only a spangly tree here, and a spiky bush there. The wildlife roams freely across the never-ending space, unhindered and unobstructed. This is a place of silence and solitude, and a rare opportunity to be at one with nature and the animals that thrive here.


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Hyena Pan

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Lodge

Number of Rooms: 8

We’re all about the wildlife at Hyena Pan. First up is its phenomenal location in Khwai Private Reserve. Positioned between Moremi Game Reserve, Chobe National Park and the Khwai River, our exclusive concession is a meeting point for more animals than you can shake a stick at. Think nomadic herds of elephant and buffalo, lion, leopard and wild dog fiercely defending their territories, as well as kudu, red lechwe and herds of dainty antelope dotted across the plains.

And then there’s the camp itself. From its lofty position amongst a grove of cathedral mopane trees, the eight tents at Hyena Pan look over a watery lagoon of the same name. In the morning, you’ll open your tent flaps straight on to the trumpeting elephant in the lily-filled waters below, spend your siesta watching herds splash and snort, and fall asleep to antelope grazing just outside your canvas walls. This isn’t a place for those looking for opulence and extravagance; it’s a private piece of big-game Africa, where the wildlife encounters are authentic, intimate and always wild.


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Sable Alley

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Camp

Number of Rooms: 12

Not only is Khwai Private Reserve one of Botswana’s best kept secrets, it’s also home to the lovely Sable Alley. Opened in 2017, Sable is a piece of light, bright and beautiful luxury amid the game-rich floodplains of Khwai, and the best news is that it’s as sustainable as it is sophisticated. We’ve partnered with the local communities in Khwai, and proceeds from staying at Sable Alley go straight back into the Khwai Village community projects.

And what about the wildlife? Located right on the banks of a lily-covered lagoon, home to harrumphing hippo and a favourite drinking spot for elephant and buffalo, the big game quite literally comes to you at Sable. But as tempting as it is to stay in camp, venture out you should, for Khwai offers one of Africa’s greatest and most exclusive safari experiences. Have your binos at the ready for lion, leopard, wild dog, buffalo, elephant and hundreds of dainty antelope as you drive through the diverse landscapes.


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Skybeds

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Sleepout

Number of Rooms: 3

Looking for a truly unique way to spend time in the bush? Then look no further than our fabulous Skybeds, located deep within the Khwai Private Reserve. As the name suggests, this is no ordinary safari camp. Each “room” is actually a three-story raised platform, overlooking the wildlife-spotted plains of Khwai. Charmingly rustic yet perfectly stylish, you’ll find a bathroom with flushing loo on the first floor, a dressing area, and the ultimate cherry on the top floor, an enormous double bed, draped in white linens and a feather duvet and completely open to the stars.

With such spectacular skies overhead, you could be forgiven for forgetting about what’s happening down below. But keep one eye on the ground, for the Skybeds overlook a busy waterhole. In one night we’ve seen wild dog, lion, elephant and hyena – and that’s just the beginning. So, whilst we can’t guarantee you’ll get much sleep, we can guarantee one of the wildest and most wonderful safari experiences you’ll ever have.

**1 February 2020:  We’ve increased the age restriction to 15 years and older at the Skybeds.  The reason is that we’ve had a big increase of large game around the Skybeds and as such feel it is appropriate.


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Mapula Lodge

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 9

There’s an area on the northern fringes of the famed Okavango Delta, an enormous, 220,000 acre concession that’s a matrix of floodplains, woodlands and channels. Waterways snake across the landscape, spilling into glassy lagoons and encircling islands of stately palms and trumpeting elephant. It’s an iconic Delta landscape, and a magical environment in which to enjoy the abundance of wildlife.

In the middle of it all, on a large tree island surrounded by seasonal floodplains, is the laid back Mapula Lodge. Designed by the creators of the Kalahari legend, Jack’s Camp, this is a stylish safari outpost with serious panache. Even better, it’s one of only a handful of camps in the concession making for exhilarating game viewing in a blissfully uncrowded area. And if you don’t believe us, you’ll just have to pay us a visit.


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San Camp

Country: Botswana

Destination: Makgadikgadi Salt Pans

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 7

Imagine a smattering of billowing white tents, shaded by desert palms and surrounded by a thousand acres of shimmering, sparkling nothingness. You’ve just dreamt up San Camp, our impossibly romantic, seven-bedroom camp on the edge of the Nwetwe Pan in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi. San isn’t a place for frills and fluffiness. The magic is in the minimalism, both at the camp and in the mysterious desert landscape. You can forget the tourist crowds and over-stuffed 4x4s too; it’s just you, the wildlife, and a handful of local San Bushmen, waiting to share their secrets with you. Of all the Makgadikgadi pans, we think Nwetwe is the most iconic. Meerkats pop up from the desert dust, brown hyaena hide in the grass, and you’ll see red hartebeest, springbok and gemsbok scurrying between them. But San Camp isn’t just about wildlife-watching – it’s about the atmosphere and the ethereal surroundings. Disappear into a remote world, a million miles from glowing screens and fruit-themed devices, where the 360-degree panoramas are so vast, you can see the curvature of the earth


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Little Sable

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 8

As authentic as it gets

Little Sable is a firm favourite at Natural Selection providing an authentic and rich Okavango safari experience. This intimate, tented retreat is located amid the shimmering grasslands of the Khwai Private Reserve, one of the best-managed private concessions in the greater Okavango Delta. Up here, there’s something to see around every corner and a different activity to enjoy every day, from classic game drives to mokoro trips and boat safaris. And the best bit of all is that this iconic safari experience is all yours at great value. So, what are you waiting for?


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Okavango Spirit

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Houseboat (Exclusive Use)

Number of Rooms: 8

Switching off has always been top priority for us at Natural Selection and the sheer thought of exploring the pristine waterways of the Okavango Delta from the privacy of your bedroom, totally floats our boat! Okavango Spirit is an extraordinary houseboat experience offering eight comfy en-suite cabins, with sliding glass doors and private decks for total peace and tranquillity in one of the most remote settings in the Okavango Delta. Here you’ll be thrown into a world of beauty, comfort and total serenity. Wake up each morning on the Okavango River, African fish eagles calling, coffee in hand. Weave between islands, dotted with pods of hippo and cruising crocodile, with the ever changing riverbanks your bedrooms constant backdrop. Think spectacular sunsets and extraordinary adventures. Game viewing on tender boats, an abundance of bird and wildlife, land activities exploring the unique surrounds, elephants drinking right in front of your window. As you can imagine, this truly is a houseboat safari experience that simply can’t be missed!


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Tuludi

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 7

If you’ve been forever dreaming of an iconic Okavango Delta experience, then end your search with Tuludi. The camp is located in the Khwai Private Reserve, over 200,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, and the landscape is fit for a fairy tale: floodplains stretch as far as the eye can see and the glistening waterways and emerald forests attract all the stars of the safari show.

At Tuludi itself, we wanted to capture the magic of being enfolded in nature and the serenity and space that comes with it. Picture seven, tree-house style rooms, shaded by the boughs of cool leadwood trees, sophisticated interiors that mix the contemporary with the traditional, and airy spaces, dotted with intriguing maps, botanicals and treasures from around the area. The result? An exclusive oasis that you’ll be delighted to return to after a day exploring the extraordinary ecosystem.


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Hoanib Valley Camp

Country: Namibia

Destination: Kaokoland

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Tented Camp

Number of Rooms: 6

In a country jam-packed with vast, spectacularly beautiful landscapes, Kaokoland may just be the most incredible of them all. Deep in north-western Namibia, the area is a melee of towering mountains, sand dunes, and huge expanses of desert, scattered with unique wildlife and nomadic Himba settlements. It’s also one of Namibia’s most remote and wild environments, and one that not many will get the chance to discover in a lifetime.

And that’s exactly why we’ve decided to build Hoanib Valley Camp. A joint venture between the local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the world’s only Africa-wide giraffe conservation organisation, the camp is an elegant, intimate affair that immerses you into the wilds of the desert. The six rooms blend seamlessly with the environment, offering a simple aesthetic that matches the rugged landscape down to a tee. Days are spent tracking endangered rhino, desert-adapted elephant, and of course desert-adapted giraffe, before retiring to your private veranda to marvel at the magnitude of your surroundings (G&T in hand).


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Etosha Mountain Lodge

Country: Namibia

Destination: Etosha National Park

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 9

Along with good wine, cheese, and the founders of Natural Selection, some things get better with age – and Etosha Mountain Lodge is one of them. Located in the exclusive Etosha Heights Private Reserve on the southwest border of Etosha National Park, the lodge has been going strong for over 10 years and we were delighted to take the reins in 2018. At the lodge, you can expect nine, classically-Namibian chalets, all with 180-degree, camera-loving panoramas of the wilderness, a beautiful main ‘lapa’ area, and a cool swimming pool for the hot African days.

The activities certainly don’t disappoint either. Think morning and afternoon game drives in the private reserve, a former hunting concession and one which we are pleased to be rehabilitating into a photographic safari area. Go out in search of big cats and watch for signs of elephant on the horizon; watch all the action at the waterhole in front of camp; hop on a night drive with some of the best guides out there; and, of course, track endangered rhino, the icons of the area.


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Kwessi Dunes

Country: Namibia

Destination: Sossusvlei

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 12

Kwessi Dunes is located deep in Namibia’s striking NamibRand Nature Reserve, a vast desert wilderness of over 200,000 hectares. With its rolling desert plains and backdrop of craggy mountains and iconic red dunes, this is a place where time seems to stand still and the space is never-ending. Here, it’s not about chasing big game but rather soaking up the beauty of the colourful landscape, admiring the antelope that scatter the sand, and gazing at the stars that light up the night sky.

At Kwessi Dunes, you’ll find 12 cool and comfortable (and air-conditioned) chalets all with canvas walls and thatched roofs. Each bedroom has a separate ‘star gazer’ room, completely open to the sky, and the perfect spot from which to watch the celestial theatre show above. Views from the rooms, the main area and the swimming pool are of the vast, desert vistas and when you can bear to tear your eyes away, enjoy quad biking, scenic drives and walks, hot air ballooning, helicopter flights, horse riding and day trips to Sossusvlei.


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Shipwreck Lodge

Country: Namibia

Destination: Skeleton Coast

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 10

Uniquely designed around the enigmatic shipwrecks that line Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like Shipwreck Lodge. In fact, there’s nowhere on the continent quite like the Skeleton Coast. It’s a raw, rugged and impossibly remote slice of African wilderness, where towering dunes and wind-swept plains roll as far as the eye can see, buffeted by the icy Atlantic seas.

But there’s much more to the area than simple isolation. Stay at Shipwreck Lodge and game drive in search of desert-dwelling fauna; discover the enchanting desert flora (succulents and lichens); sit atop the dunes as the sun sinks below the horizon; spend the day beach-combing for whale bones and debris from centuries of shipwrecks; and marvel at the geologically-remarkable Clay Castles. Really, there’s nowhere like it on earth.


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Safari House

Country: Namibia

Destination: Etosha National Park

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Villa (Exclusive Use)

Number of Rooms: 3

We are delighted to announce the opening of Safari House on the 15thApril 2019! Located on the Etosha Heights Private Reserve, just next to Safarihoek Lodge, it’s a traditional Namibian farmhouse that we’ve given the Natural Selection treatment and can be booked on an exclusive-use basis. Expect three, ensuite bedrooms and a fully-equipped kitchen, dining room and sitting area inside. Outside, there’s a large veranda with a braai and plenty of outdoor seating, a fire pit and a second thatched braai area, as well as a swimming pool, all amidst the luscious green gardens.

 But perhaps the biggest luxury on offer at Safari House is freedom. With a private guide, vehicle and a chef all to yourself, it’s a safari that’s 100% on your terms whether you want to look for big game early in the morning, or have a leisurely start to the day. Flexibility is key here and the house is a perfect spot for families, groups of friends and adventurers looking for their very own, day-to-day itinerary.


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Duke's Camp

Country: Botswana

Destination: Okavango Delta

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Camp

Number of Rooms: 8

For more than 30 years, Jack’s Camp has been an icon of African safaris, pioneering under-canvas luxury on the fringes of Botswana’s ethereal Makgadikgadi Pans. This year the adventurous spirit of Jack Bousfield ventures into new territory, with the early June opening of Duke’s Camp in the magical wilderness of the northern Okavango Delta.

While Jack’s has long taken its cue from the desert, Duke’s Camp draws its inspiration from the crystal-clear channels of the Okavango Delta, which wind sinuously around this permanent camp.

This landmark new camp is named in honour of Sarefo ‘Duke’ Sarefo, the custodian of this bountiful piece of wilderness. Duke was born 80 years ago on the very island that the camp now occupies, and his ancestral roots run deep into these sandy soils.

Pitched on raised wooden decks beneath a canopy of ebony and leadwood trees, the luxurious safari tents offer an unforgettable under-canvas adventure in the midst of this remarkable World Heritage Site. With expert guides honed in the bushcraft and lore of the Delta, there are few better ways to discover this wild landscape.

Duke’s Camp is a striking new safari destination set on a vast concession rich in game and natural beauty, and it lies waiting to be discovered.


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Thamo Telele

Country: Botswana

Destination: Maun

Property Group: Natural Selection

Style: Safari Lodge

Number of Rooms: 11

Thamo Telele is a 250-hectare private game reserve located on the outskirts of the iconic safari town of Maun, the gateway to the Okavango Delta.

This intimate and comfortable lodge was recently refurbished and opened its tent-flaps again in March 2022. With an enviable location bordering the Thamalakane River, Thamo Telele can accommodate 22 guests and offers space for relaxation and tranquillity, making it the ideal stop-over either side of any safari.

Set amongst a lush forest of old growth leadwood and acacia trees, each luxury safari-style tent and thatched chalet is a little bush haven. Surrounded by habitats of river, riverine, woodland and dry savanna this wildlife sanctuary is full of life and brimming with plains game and birdlife.

The abundant bird life will set any twitcher twitching and anyone with a soft spot for giraffe will be in a state of pure bliss as they get up close and learn more about our resident herd from our team of naturalists. In fact, the lodge was named after our littlest resident giraffe, born during our refurb in 2021. Surprisingly tall from birth, she was soon called Thamo Telele, meaning ‘long neck’ in Setswana. As we observed her growing day-by-day, she captured our hearts in such a profound way, that we decided to rename our ‘new’ lodge after her.

A night or two at Thamo Telele is all you need to discover why this little lodge has some cool safari style and soul!


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