Overview of Zarafa Dhow Suite

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.

Highlights & Activities

What's on offer whilst on this itinerary?
  • 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

Animal tracking experience

Bird watching

Boat excursions

Game drives

Guided walks

Night drives

Photographic safaris

Private game-drives

Specialist guides

Star gazing

Rooms at Zarafa Dhow Suite

Unwind and relax, in your own private luxury
  • Zarafa_tented-villa-dhow_32

    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.

    General Facilities

    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.

    Beauty therapist


    Plunge pool


    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.

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