Zarafa Dhow Suites is fittingly named: Zarafa means ‘the beloved one’ or ‘the lovely one’ in Arabic and these two private villas on the banks of the Zibadianja Lagoon in Botswana are both beloved and lovely.

The villas strike a careful balance between romance and adventure, with the opulent décor in reds, browns, brass and copper. They are strongly reminiscent of the richness and beauty of Africa, with more than a passing nod to its history - the decks are made of century-old teak railroad ties. Canopy ceilings fall to open sides for the best of the sensational views. Linking the two en suite bedrooms in each suite or villa is a lounge and dining area, fronted by a large deck and private swimming pool. A fire pit is a romantic place to sit in the evenings.

With no Internet or mobile reception, Zarafa Dhow Suites is a lavish retreat for friends or a family, secluded from other visitors and unplugged from the frenetic 21st century. It is a very private breakaway in remote northern Botswana that is situated in the private Selinda Reserve, overlooking the clear waters of Zibadianja Lagoon.

The lagoon attracts abundant wildlife – dry season sightings include buffalo and elephant by the hundreds – and the region links the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/Savute corridors. It is at the crossroads of some of northern Botswana’s most prolific wildlife regions, with year-round sightings of leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, red lechwe, zebra and giraffe. The more uncommon species such as African wild dog, which usually den each dry season near camp, cheetah, roan and sable also call the area home.


  • Intimate, luxurious & private
  • Swarovski telescope & binoculars
  • Gas fireplace for warmth
  • Private plunge pools
  • Unique bed cooling system for summer
  • Canon camera & lenses
  • Children's programme for over 8s
  • Walking safaris for over 12s
  • In-room massage, yoga & catering
  • Pontoon for birding & sundowners

interactive map


Zarafa Dhow Suites may be situated in one of the most remote areas of the continent but every luxury and convenience is at your fingertips. Yoga mats and bands are provided in each suite, and there is a spinning exercise bike and a 5m swimming pool. To ease your muscles after a workout, opt for an in-room massage. The central lounge and dining room has a bar, a coffee and tea station, and comfortable seating for relaxing. Outside, the spacious desk has seating and a fire pit.

The HES Zib, Zarafa’s pontoon boat, is complete with couches, a dining area and bar to enjoy a floating brunch or sundowners while watching hippos and elephants in the water. Birding from the boat is exceptional and there is fish equipment if you want to try your hand at catching the local bream. A star safari is possible, thanks to the Swarovski telescope for use on the private deck. In each room there is also a pair of Swarovksi binoculars and two Canon 5D camera bodies with Canon 100-400mm and 20-105mm lenses. Photos are downloaded to a storage device when you leave.

A shop at nearby Zarafa Camp sells locally and regionally produced crafts, many of which support local community projects in the Okavango panhandle.

General Facilities

    Plunge Pool
    Beauty or wellness therapist


Three delicious meals a day are provided – and meal times can be set by you. Picnic breakfasts or lunches – or both – can be delivered to you in the bush so you do not have to stop your game drives. The villas cater to all dietary requirements, including vegan and children, although prior request is needed. Dining is private a la carte and can be indoors or outdoors. There is also room service.

Exclusive Use

The rooms are expansive – just over 210m2 or 690ft² in size – the tented villa is set on a raised wood deck of 100-year-old teak railroad ties. Beds can be either twin or double configuration. The lounge has a couch and two chairs, plus coffee station and dining table, and the fridge holds a wide selection of beverages, wine and spirits.

Each bedroom has an open-air concept bathroom with indoor shower, claw-foot deep copper tub and double vanities. There is a separate flush toilet, an outdoor shower, and a hairdryer.

Exclusive Use AMENITIES

    En-suite bathroom
    Outdoor shower
    Outdoor area
    Personal butler
    Twin bed available


  • Animal tracking experience
  • Bird watching
  • Boat excursions
  • Game drives
  • Guided walks
  • Night drives
  • Photographic safaris
  • Private game-drives
  • Specialist guides
  • Star gazing
  • dates rates from board basis
  • 01 Apr 2017 - 14 Jun 2017 $2240 Fully Inclusive Plus
  • 15 Jun 2017 - 31 Oct 2017 $3310 Fully Inclusive Plus
  • 01 Nov 2017 - 19 Dec 2017 $2240 Fully Inclusive Plus
  • 20 Dec 2017 - 10 Jan 2018 $2450 Fully Inclusive Plus

Our rates are per person sharing unless we note differently.

Please treat all pricing as a guide only:

  • All rates are subject to availability and may change without notice
  • Single supplements may apply
  • Rates may be different for different room types
  • The most competitive rates for accommodation are available in our tailored packages

Request a quote or speak to one of our African Safari Experts for the best, most current rates available.

Accommodation Map

Tracy Payne

Tracy Payne

Africa Safari Expert

"Great option for families or small groups wanting luxury, privacy and complete exclusivity in one of the best game viewing regions in Botswana."



Per person sharing

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