Zarafa Dhows Suites

Great Plains Conservation


 

Overview

The Zarafa Dhow Suites is an intimate, two room, exclusive use tented villa located on the 330,000 acre Selinda Reserve in northern Botswana, an area linking the Okavango Delta and the Chobe/

Savute corridors. Home to some of the classic species, such as leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo, Red lechwe, zebra and giraffe, the Reserve is also a refuge for some of the more uncommon species such as African wild dog, cheetah, roan and sable. 

Few properties rival the location of this little gem built entirely under canvas and of the largest tents ever built on the continent. The Suites are located adjacent to Zarafa Camp, Botswana’s first and only Relais & Chateaux property. Overlooking the crystal waters of Zibadianja Lagoon, the source of the famous Savute Channel. From the Dhow Suites, hippos are visible in the Lagoon and elephant wander through regularly. 

Zarafa Camp is the brainchild of the founders of Great Plains Conservation. Zarafa means “the beloved one” or “the lovely one” in Arabic. The name comes from a giraffe, which was presented to Charles X of France in 1826 by the Viceroy of Egypt. She travelled from Africa in a traditional Dhow boat, the inspiration for the name of the Dhow Suites.

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.

The Dhow Suites successfully retain a clearly African feel, while balancing that delicate relationship between personal and informal and romance and adventure. There is no equal in terms of its environmental credentials and its careful appointments. 

ROOMS:

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.

Activities & features:

Game Drives (day and night)

The Dhow Suites offer complete flexibility with your own private guide and vehicle. 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. There is a custom built Land Cruiser specially designed for our conditions and photography (fold-down screens and raised roofs) with four 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. 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.

Photography

The Suites have a professional Canon camera set, including two Canon 5D camera bodies with Canon 100-400mm and 20-105mm lenses. Photos will be downloaded to a storage device on guest’s departure. Each room also comes with a pair of Swarovski binoculars for guest use as well.

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Reviews:

A magical lifelong memory!
— Traveller 2018