Zarafa Dhow Suite

Zarafa means “the beloved one” or “the lovely one” in Arabic. The name comes from a giraffe presented to Charles X of France in 1826 by the Viceroy of Egypt who travelled from Africa in a traditional Dhow.

Today the Zarafa Dhow Suite is a stunning two-bedroom room tented villa located on the private 130,000 hectare Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana. The 210 square metre (2,260 square foot) villa is set on raised decking under flowing canvas. Entering through the wooden Lamu door, exclusivity takes on new meaning.

The Suite is located adjacent to Zarafa Camp, Botswana’s first and only Relais & Chateaux property and overlooking the Zibadianja Lagoon. Central to the Dhow Suite is a full lounge and dining area fitted with dining table, leather couch and chairs. Two large bedrooms with open layout bathrooms and copper claw-foot baths, sit to either side of the main area. A large decking area fronts onto the Suite with a plunge pool, exercise bike and fire-pit, all with views of pristine Botswana wilderness.

With all its careful appointments, the Dhow Suite maintains the perfect balance between luxury, romance and adventure. The camp also has no equal when it comes to its environmental credentials with only recycled hardwoods and canvas used in the construction and the Suite’s electricity generated from solar power.

Selinda Reserve, at the crossroads of some of northern Botswana’s most prolific wildlife areas is home to leopard, lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo, red lechwe, zebra and giraffe. It is also a refuge for some of the more uncommon species such as African wild dog, roan and sable. It is an exciting area, and guests are in the heart of this wilderness wonderland.

2 Room Tented Villa - Exclusive Use
The Dhow Suite, an immense 210 square metres (2,260 sq ft) in extent, is under beige, flowing canvas, with canopy ceilings and completely open (yet netted) sides. Entering through the heavy wood Lamu door transports guests to a lavish space of deep reds, browns, brass and copper, evoking richness and beauty. Central to the Dhow Suites are a full lounge and dining area fitted dining table, coffee table with cappuccino machines and a full-length leather couch and chairs.

Two large bedrooms are connected to either side of the main area designed with an open layout bathroom with impressive copper claw foot bath, indoor shower, separate loo and double basins and even an open fire, with copper flue, to heat the room in winter. A large decking area fronts onto the suites with a 5 x 2.5 metre swimming pool, exercise bike and full-body outdoor showers for each room, all with views of pristine Botswana wilderness. The adjoining main camp has a curio shop for those who need retail therapy and an in-room massage is also available.


Game Drives (day & night)
With a maximum of just eight guests, Zarafa Camp offers complete flexibility. Drives do focus on the most comfortable and productive times of day, early morning and late afternoon, but full day drives are also quite common at a guest’s request. Picnic brunch can be delivered, and the vehicles are stocked with cold drinks. The camp has two custom built Land Cruisers specially designed for our conditions and photography (fold-down screens, raised roofs, photographic bars, multi-plug invertors) with seven individual bucket seats.

Guided Walks
Another huge benefit of staying within the conservancies is the ability to appreciate the stunning landscape on foot, peacefully, without the noise of engines. We highly recommend this unforgettable experience. Talk to the managers to arrange a good time and location for a walk. Usually early morning or evening is the best time, as the middle of the day is too hot to venture out of the shade. Wear good walking shoes, a hat, and neutral coloured clothing so as not to alarm the wildlife, and take binoculars. Your guide will have water for you. Walks are led by licensed guides with firearm training.

Boat Cruises
The HES Zib, Zarafa’s special pontoon boat, is an utterly unique experience. The 275 sq. foot deck is complete with couches, a dining area and bar where guests can comfortably enjoy floating brunch or sundowners while watching hippos and elephants in the water. It is also an exceptional platform for birding.

Catch-and-Release Fishing
Fly-fishing and rod/reel kit is available for those who want to try their cast at the local fish (except January and February when there is a moratorium on fishing). Power boating on the channels is available, water level dependent.

Each of Zarafa’s guest tents has a professional Canon camera set, including a Canon 5D camera body and Canon 100-400mm and 28-135mm lenses. Photos will be downloaded to a DVD on guest’s departure. Each tent comes with a pair of Swarovski binoculars for guest use as well. For stargazers, each room comes with its own Nikon telescope for use on each tent’s private deck.


For more information about Zarafa Dhow Suite click HERE

For videos of Zarafa Dhow Suite click HERE

and on YouTube HERE


Exclusively Elegant
Free Africa Night!
Stay 4 nights / Pay 3
Honeymooners - 25% off your partner's stay
* Valid for travel now-Jun 14 + Nov 1-Dec 19, 2023. Conditions apply.