About Us

Are you traveling to the Central African Republic? Looking for a place to stay in the capital, Bangui?

Karakandji is a small and personal guesthouse that offers lodging, meals and a venue for work meetings, lunches, and parties.

Lodging includes a range of options from short-term stays to medium and long term stay options. All rooms come equipped with air conditioning and wifi, and are uniquely decorated with locally made furniture and art-work. Meals are prepared by local chefs using the best local ingredients available. The rooms are cleaned every day and laundry services are available.

Karakandji’s beautiful garden and comfortable common spaces provide relaxing and peaceful atmosphere where you can feel at home.  The gazebo in the garden has seating for 10 with fans and lights, perfect for a private lunch meeting or a beer with friends. In the living room you can read a book, watch television or just sit down and relax with your friends. The porch swing and chairs offer similar relaxing options.

If you want to organize a dinner, a party, or a business lunch, Karakandji and its team are happy to help you make it possible.

Situated near the center of town on Avenue de France, Karakandji is within walking distance (5-10min) of the city’s best restaurants, the National Cathédrale and the Artisinal Market.  If you need to get around the city or to and from the airport Karakandji can arrange rental of a private car and driver, or taxis are available on the street in front of the guesthouse. Karakandji’s staff is available to help you organize trips and excurions in and around Bangui; their local knowledge brings you close to the best aspects of life in Central Africa.

Karakandji is the place for those of you who want a unique and intimate place to stay, with services adapted just for your personal needs and wishes.

STAFF

Clarisse, Privat, Chrisostome, Didier and Ela do everything they can to make your stay at Karakandji as pleasant as possible.

Owner: CHARLOTTE MARARV

char

Born on the Central African border with Cameroun, in the small village of Gamboula, Charlotte Mararv spent her childhood in the town of Berberati.  Daughter to Gunnel and Roland Mararv, she grew up in the heart of an entrepreneurial city and family.  Berberati is home to numerous private enterprises, and is well known for its entrepreneurial spirit.  During her childhood, Charlotte watched her family manage successful businesses despite recurring political crises that rocked the country.

Speaking Sango, Swedish, French and English since a very young age, Charlotte grew up seamlessly navigating Central African life in the bush and in the city.  Her happiest memories include camping in the bush, tracking animals, prospecting new hunting camps and driving on dirt roads all across the country. Her love of Central African nature and wildlife grew out of these experiences.  Experiences which also taught her how to work successfully in the Central African Republic.

At the age of fifteen, Charlotte left Africa to study in the United States, France and Sweden.  She finished high school in Orebro, Sweden and moved on to study journalism at university in Stockholm.

In December 2007 Charlotte moved back to CAR and made her home in the capital, Bangui.  In the space of a few years she was part of starting two companies, Central African Wildlife Adventures (www.cawasafari.com) in 2007 and Karakandji (www.karakandji.com) in 2011.  These companies have weathered numerous challenges in CAR, and both have shown promise as sustainable businesses.

Karakandji, in particular, shows this promise. For the past two years it has been managed entirely by Central African staff who receive training and guidance from Charlotte, but who are responsible for the day-to-day management of the business. Charlotte believes that sustainable private businesses are the key to creating dignified, viable livelihoods for Central Africans.  In addition to Karakandji, she dreams of opening a teaching hospital, a women’s professional training center, an auto-body shop that provides both high quality repairs and professional training for would be mechanics, and a river-boat restaurant. She is also deeply committed to finding ways of protecting Central Africa’s immense biodiversity, which is seriously and constantly threatened by poachers and herders who benefit from complete impunity. Using her education, experience and resources, she is committed to establishing these incubator businesses, that will sustainably push the Central African economy forward before, during and after crisis.

As clients at Karakandji, you are helping her realize this vision.  Thank you.

The name: THE HIBISCUS FLOWER

The name Karakandji comes from a local variety of the hibiscus flower (hibiscus sabdariffa). As
a beloved child has many names, so does this flower known as Rosella in Australia, Bissap in the western parts of Africa, Sorrel in India and Karakandji in the Central African Republic.

hibiscus

The plant is an annual or perennial herb, growing to be around two meters tall.

Its various varieties have many uses:
• production of bast fiber from the stem of the plant for use as a jute substitute in burlap;
• a tea or powder made from the flowers and roots is used in traditional medicine to treat cardiac diseases and cancer among others

The flowers are 8–10 cm in diameter, red, white or pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, and bright red as the fruit matures.
The plant is considered to have antihypertensive properties. Primarily, the plant is cultivated for the production for bast fiber from the stem of the plant. The fiber can also be used as a substitute for jute in making burlap. Hibiscus, specifically Roselle, has been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for cardiac diseases and cancer among other diseases.
From the dried flower it is popular to make a deep red drink, either to drink hot as tea or icy cold to refresh a day under the African sun.