Africa - Botswana

Zambezi Queen



Special Offers available

Full Service Booking - Personal Trips

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC OF AFRICA ON BOARD OF OUR LUXURY FLOATING HOTEL, ZAMBEZI QUEEN

 

Moving along the banks of the great Chobe River, Zambezi Queen is a 5-star, 42-metre long luxury houseboat offering unparalleled sophistication in one of the most remote locations on the planet. Best of all, as a guest on the vessel, you can enjoy a truly unique and adventurous river safari holiday while still being surrounded by complete comfort and elegance.

Each of the 14 suites on Zambezi Queen features air-conditioning and your own private balcony, where you can enjoy unobstructed views of the Chobe River and African landscape beyond. Wake up to the sight of an elephant drinking from the river, or watch a fish eagle take flight – all from the comfort of your own luxurious bed.

 

A FLOATING BOUTIQUE HOTEL IN A CLASS OF HER OWN

 

Unlike a land-based lodge, Zambezi Queen navigates roughly 25km of the Chobe River, allowing you to explore different vantage points and enjoy unparalleled game viewing. In fact, the banks of the Chobe National Park boast one of the densest populations of elephant on the African continent – estimated at approximately 120 000. The Park is also home to a large number of buffalo, leopard and lion, along with a variety of antelope and abundant birdlife.

Celebrated South African fashion designer Jenni Button created the luxury houseboat’s classic yet contemporary interior, using understated tones that make the wildlife on the banks of the river the star of the show. And, just like at any contemporary hotel, you can expect first class service at every turn. Whether you’re enjoying a gin and tonic on the upper deck at dusk or attempting to land your very first tiger fish, our highly experienced team will be on hand to meet your every need.

 

Our History

Built in the early 1990s, Zambezi Queen was first designed to carry guests on extended journeys from Katima Mulilo down the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers and back. However, the sheer size of the vessel made navigating difficult, and shortly after her inception, Zambezi Queen ended up moored along the river bank, eventually becoming a floating hotel to visitors to the Caprivi Region of Namibia.

In 2008, two entrepreneurs saw the potential of restoring the houseboat to its former glory and a period of intensive re-designing and planning ensued. In 2012, Zambezi Queen was incorporated into the Mantis Collection by travel industry icon Adrian Gardiner along with two investors. The Mantis Collection is a global group of privately owned boutique hotels and eco escapes offering unsurpassed luxury and once-in-a-lifetime leisure experiences to their discerning guests.

In 2014, Zambezi Queen was grouped with her three Chobe Princesses to form the Zambezi Queen Collection, a stable of luxury houseboats that capture the true spirit and adventure of Africa.

 

 

Uniquely Africa. Unmistakably Eleganct. Extraordinarily Comfort.able. 

From the moment you step on-board the Zambezi Queen, it becomes apparent that no expense was spared in creating one of the world’s most unique river safari experiences.

Zambezi Queen offers luxury houseboat accommodation in the form of 14 tasteful and luxurious suites – ten standard suites and four master suites, all with outer decks so you can soak up the revitalising Chobe River breeze and appreciate uninterrupted views of the unique African landscape beyond. While both types of suites let you relax in a luxurious setting, our master suites are slightly bigger, and have larger balconies that house two deckchairs and a table. Our master suites also feature both side and front sliding doors for a truly panoramic view of your surroundings.

With stylish interiors created by celebrated South African designer Jenni Button, each suite was designed with the warm climate in mind: clever use of shutters, air-conditioning and a fan ensure you keep cool, even during times of the year when temperatures soar.

All suites come with en-suite bathrooms (shower only) and full length sliding shutters for both privacy and protection from the sun. Hairdryers, toiletries, gowns and slippers are provided for your comfort, while electronic safes in each room are ideal for storing your valuables. All suites accommodate two adults, and two of the larger standard suites can take a maximum of three adults. Suites can be configured with either one double or two single beds.

 

 

A Culinary Experience in its. own right

 

From a creamy bowl of warming porridge in the morning to a helping of decadent white chocolate parfait at night, dining on Zambezi Queen is an indulgent treat, all on its own. Using seasonal ingredients sourced from local markets, meals on board our luxury houseboat consist of a full English breakfast, a buffet lunch and a choice of two plated menu options for dinner. Every mouthwatering dish is prepared by our locally trained Namibian kitchen staff, who combine authentic local flavours with their passion for creating sophisticated meals suited to discerning palates.

 

THE DINING ROOM

Take a seat at your own private table and enjoy panoramic views of the wildlife during breakfast and lunch. Come evening time, settle in and enjoy an African themed dinner on one night of your stay, trying out traditional local food such as moroho and pap. Special dietary requirements can be catered for, but we ask that you specify this when you book – our remote location means that we need a bit of time to source ingredients that may be out of the ordinary. Unfortunately this also means that we’re not able to cater for Halaal and Kosher guests.

 

THE BAR

The bar on the upper deck is open until 10pm and stocks a selection of local and imported spirits, wine and beers. Included in your accommodation rates are all locally sourced wines, beers, soft drinks and water, while spirits, sparkling wine and dessert wine are for your own account.

 

THE LOUNGE

On the upper deck of Zambezi Queen you’ll find our dining room, bar and a comfortable lounge with unobstructed views of the unique African landscape that surrounds you. Beat the heat on the forward deck with a dip in the plunge pool, and then relax on inviting sun loungers while you dry off, or kick back on the sumptuous couches. Amid the muted African colour tones, you can’t help but relax as you gaze upon elephants, antelope and other wild animals strolling along the banks of the Chobe.

 

LUXURIOUS RELAXATION JUST THE WAY YOU WANT IT

A stay on-board Zambezi Queen is a different kind of safari. It’s the kind where you get to decide if you want to be up with the birds, or prefer to laze all morning watching game from the comfort of your bed. Our itinerary is flexible so while we have a range of activities on offer, you can choose just how much you want to pack into your holiday or how relaxed you want to be.

Don’t think of your time on Zambezi Queen as a river cruise. Instead, think of it as a floating boutique hotel that departs and returns to the same point, navigating roughly 25km of the Chobe River weather permitting. You’ll first arrive at the Zambezi Queen via a short tender boat ride from the Kasane Immigration Office. We offer staggered transfer times on the hour between 13:00 and 16:00, so you can arrive at your own pace and don’t have to worry about missing the boat.

 

 

The Fishing

 

The legendary Tigerfish is well known for being one of the most thrilling challenges for any fly fisher. Renowned for their speed and strength, these ferocious predators never fail to put up a spectacular fight. But what exactly does it take to catch these powerful prey? We spoke to Jonathan Boulton from Mavungana Flyfishing, who shared some of the expert insights he’s learned over 25 years of fishing the waters of the great Chobe River region.

 

When is the best season for a Tigerfishing safari?

While it’s true that Tigerfish can be caught throughout the year, I’ve found that late May through September have the best conditions. The water is clear and starts to warm up just after winter. As water recedes back off the floodplains it causes baitfish to be drawn back into the main channel, providing the perfect hunting ground for Tigerfish.

 

Is there a preferred time of day to go Tigerfishing?

Absolutely. We call it the Golden Hour, just before and after sunset and sunrise. Tigerfish are opportunists and hunt using the element of surprise in low light. Tigerfish can hunt their prey far more effectively in the low light.

 

What else do you take into consideration before planning a trip?

At Mavungana Flyfishing, we only book trips during a new moon. Tigerfish struggle to hunt in complete darkness, so when there’s no light from the moon they’re less likely to catch any prey. In the morning when the sun starts to rise, they’re ravenous and readily attack anything that looks like prey.

 

Where are some of the best places to go Tigerfishing in the Chobe River region?

It depends on the season, but there are a few hot spots I’ve discovered over the years. In May and June, when the water levels are high, the main Zambezi is a very active area for Tigerfish. I often head upstream for Golden Pond and Jojo’s Village. Alternatively, in August, the water levels in the Kasai Channel get very low, and the mini Barbel run begins. Barbel hunt in packs and prey on baitfish hiding beneath the papyrus reeds. The Tigerfish take the opportunity to follow the run and feast on all the leftovers in the Barbels’ wake. At the same time, water levels just south of Impalila Island can be very low, and Tigerfish can concentrate around rapids south of Ichingo Chobe River Lodge where the Kasai and Chobe Rivers meet.

 

What equipment do you recommend for the best catch? Any particular tips?

I feel that fly fishing is far more effective than conventional heavy fishing gear. A fly is much lighter and moves more naturally in the water. In fact, I’ve found that fishing with a fly is three times more successful than a conventional line.

I recommend you use the following equipment which is available from Mavungana Flyfishing’s online shop or any other reputable fly fishing supplier:

  • 8 or 9 quality fast-action rods with matching reels
  • Tropically rated DI7 or shooting head fly line
  • 20lb to 25lb straight mono leader
  • Thin piano wire trace material
  • An assortment of Mavungana custom-tied Tiger clousers and bait fish flies

 

What kind of boats do you use?

You want a lot of deck space to move around freely when you hook the Tigerfish. Ichingo Chobe River Lodge‘s boats have space for two anglers on each boat, and plenty of storage room to keep your gear and other belongings out of the way.

 

Is there anything special that guests should bring?

It can get quite cold on the boat, especially in the morning and after sunset. Wear a warm fleece, long pants and a woollen hat with lighter clothes underneath for when the day gets hotter. Don’t forget sunscreen, a sunhat and comfortable shoes. Most importantly, you’ll need a good pair of polarised sunglasses. They don’t just protect your eyes from the sun, but also from any sharp hooks that might swing your way. We also recommend clear safety glasses for after dark, and a finger minder/lappie to keep the line from the vicious pull of the tigerfish.

 

Lastly, what’s one of the most amazing things you’ve seen on your Tigerfishing expeditions?

What always impresses me is just how savage these fish are. I once landed a Tigerfish that was cut clean in half by one of its own kind driven into a feeding frenzy. They’re not known as the most voracious freshwater fish for nothing.

 

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is located on secluded Impalila Island, making it the perfect base to launch your unforgettable Tigerfishing adventure. All rods, flies, lures, lines, leaders, reels and other fishing equipment are included with every fishing safari package. Stay in one of eight air-conditioned Meru safari tents, dine on world-class African-inspired cuisine, and spot a myriad wildlife and birds on the river banks from your private deck.

 

 

Combination Tours

Staying with the Zambezi Queen Collection will be the highlight of your trip to Africa, whether you stay on one of our four houseboats or at our tented Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

But even then, the call to experience more of Africa is simply too strong for some. If you’re an adventurer at heart, you can easily combine a stay with the Zambezi Queen Collection with a visit to nearby Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

 

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Our suggested combination package includes a stay at the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge which offers guests an unforgettable experience. The sunset-facing lodge has endless views of African bush stretching to the horizon, including a waterhole frequented by elephant, buffalo, kudu and other wildlife, as well as a rich variety of birds.

 

Accommodation 

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge has three different room types to choose from – the Lodge Standard Room, the Lodge Waterhole Facing Room and the Lodge Waterhole Facing Suites. All rooms are spacious and light, with glass sliding doors opening on to private balconies with unrivalled views of the bushveld at sunset.

 

Activities

Experience the Big 5 up close on a morning or afternoon game drive, or alternatively join a night drive where you can see some elusive nocturnal animals before returning for dinner. Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is located only 4 kilometres from the town of Victoria Falls, a quick complimentary road transfer allows you to browse the bustling town and then set off on an activity of your choice. Enjoy white water rafting on the Zambezi River – or a more sedate sundowner cruise – or get close to nature with a Victoria Falls rainforest tour. The choice is yours.

Whether you’re on a romantic honeymoon, a family break or an adventure getaway, a combination stay allows you to experience everything this vibrant part of Africa has to offer.

 

A stay with the Zambezi Queen Collection of properties includes:

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, tea, local beer and wine throughout your stay
  • Water-based game viewing and bird watching on tender boats
  • A land-based cultural tour of a local village
  • A land-based game drive in the Chobe National Park on your day of departure (time permitting)
  • Tiger and bream fishing in season (tiger fishing is strictly catch and release)
  • Road transfers to and from Kasane Airport and Kasane Immigration Office located on the Botswana side of the Chobe river
  • Boat transfers between Kasane Immigration Office in Botswana and Namibia Immigration Office
  • 15% VAT and 1% Tourism Levy

 

A stay at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge includes:

  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast daily
  • Complimentary shuttle service to Victoria Falls town and rainforest
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • 15% VAT and 2% Government Levy

 

 

Other Activities

ZIMBABWE BIG 5

 

No visit to Southern Africa is complete without experiencing its abundant wildlife, which differs from region to region. Within this part of Africa, Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park are two areas not to be missed.

 

Hwange Bush Camp

A stay at Hwange Bush Camp will allow you to come in close contact with the Big 5 (Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard) in their natural habitat. The camp’s highly knowledgeable and experienced rangers add another dimension to your experience, and you’ll learn an incredible amount about these animals during guided activities.

 

Accommodation and Main Area

Nestled under a canopy of trees, Hwange Bush Camp offers authentic accommodation in spacious and tastefully decorated twin bedded Meru tents, each with private en-suite facilities including flush toilets and a bush shower with hot water being made available on request. The shady lounge and dining area which is the focal point of the camp is tastefully decorated with rustic hints of old world colonial charm.

 

Dining

The camp’s kitchen is dedicated to preparing a delicious dining experience, all cooked on a wood burning stove. From fresh breads and incredible main dishes through to delicate filo parcels and chocolate eclair desserts. With advance notification, their qualified chefs are happy to cater to guests dietary requirements.

 

Activities 

Experience the Big 5 up close on a morning or afternoon game drive, or alternatively on a guided walk before returning to camp where a three-course dinner awaits. End your day sharing stories around the campfire and enjoy some unforgettable stargazing under a vast African sky.

A stay at Hwange Bush Camp ties in perfectly with a stay on board one of the Chobe Princess houseboats or Ichingo Chobe River Lodge within the Zambezi Queen Collection.

 

A stay with the Zambezi Queen Collection of properties includes:

 

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, tea, local beer and wine throughout your stay
  • Water-based game viewing and bird watching on tender boats
  • A land-based cultural tour of a local village
  • A land-based game drive in the Chobe National Park on your day of departure (time permitting)
  • Tiger and bream fishing in season (tiger fishing is strictly catch and release)
  • Road transfers to and from Kasane Airport and Kasane Immigration Office located on the Botswana side of the Chobe river
  • Boat transfers between Kasane Immigration Office in Botswana and Namibia Immigration Office
  • 15% VAT and 1% Tourism Levy

 

A stay at Hwange Bush Camp includes:

 

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, tea, local beer and wine throughout your stay
  • Guided game drives and walks
  • Laundry
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • 15% VAT

Combination Options

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Staying with the Zambezi Queen Collection will be the highlight of your trip to Africa, whether you stay on one of our four houseboats or at our tented Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

 

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge

Our suggested combination package includes a stay at the award-winning Victoria Falls Safari Lodge which offers guests an unforgettable experience. 

 

Experience the Big 5 

A stay at Hwange Bush Camp ties in perfectly with a stay on board one of the Chobe Princess houseboats or Ichingo Chobe River Lodge within the Zambezi Queen Collection.

 

 

 

Special rates on request - it depends on your individual travel plans. We will help you to organize your stay to explore the beautiful African destinations you wish.

 

 

SEASON

LOW SEASON: Januar - Februar

HIGH SEASON: March - December

 

RATES

Rates are per person sharing. Departs for 2 nights on Monday & Wednesday. Departs for a 3 night stay only on Friday. 

 

LOW SEASON: Januar and Februar 

aprox. USD 575 in Standard Suite or aprox. USD 680 for Master Suite per person per night (sharing)

  

HIGH SEASON: March to December

aprox. USD 640 in Standard Suite or aprox. USD 755 for Master Suite per person per night (sharing)

 

 

 

As a guest on the Zambezi Queen, you’ll enjoy a truly unique and luxurious river safari holiday in complete comfort and elegance. We offer two-night and three-night itineraries that depart every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Our rates vary throughout the season, so please take this into consideration when planning your stay.

For further information regarding our rates, itineraries, child policy, activities, payment information and other important details, please select your applicable travel date below.

Rates are per person sharing on a double occupancy basis for either 2 or 3 nights

A Community Development Levy (aprox. USD 6.70 per person per night) applies to all reservations. This is excluded from the rates and will reflect as a separate line item on your invoice. The funds collected will supplement our community projects and initiatives run by the Zambezi Queen Collection to assist with education, health care, sanitation and basic community services.

 

*23 November 2018, 14 and 21 December 2018 and 4, 11 and 18  January 2019 are 3-night sailings sold at a 2-night rate

*17 December 2018, 7 January 2019 and 16 and 30 December 2019 are 4-night sailings sold at a 3-night rate

 

Single supplement is an additional 30% on the per person sharing rate

 

Zambezi Queen reserves the right to limit the number of single room rates per trip

Zambezi Queen reserves the right to amend the published rates without notice

 

Standard suite 24 and 26 are available as triple rooms on Zambezi Queen. A 3rd adult sharing a triple room will receive a 20% discount on the above per person sharing rates

 

Available dates are subject to change at management discretion

 

Included

  • Accommodation
  • All meals
  • All soft drinks, mineral water, coffee, tea, and local beer & wine throughout your stay
  • Water-based game viewing and bird watching on tender boats
  • A land-based cultural tour of a local village
  • Tiger & bream fishing in season (tiger fishing is strictly catch and release)
  • Road Transfers to and from Kasane Airport and Kasane Immigration Office located on the Botswana side of the Chobe river*
  • Boat transfers between Kasane Immigration Office in Botswana and Namibia Immigration Office*
  • 15% Namibian VAT
  • 1% Namibian Tourism Levy

 

Not included

 

  • Air tickets
  • Premium alcoholic beverages (such as sparkling wine, spirits & dessert wines)
  • Additional transfers to and from Zambia/Zimbabwe/Namibia or any of the Kasane Lodges
  • A land-based half-day 4×4 game viewing in Botswana’s Chobe National Park
  • Curio shop purchases
  • Gratuities (at your discretion)
  • Visa fees

 

 

SPECIAL OFFER FOR FFTC MEMBERS

 5 % discount

                                                                 

 

 

Transfer Details

Weather, Seasons & Time Zones

The Time Zone is GMT / UTC +2.

There is no best or worst time to visit the Chobe area, because every month offers visitors something special. However, if you’re looking for a pure wildlife experience, the drier winter months from May to October see greater concentrations of game along the banks of the Chobe River. The summer months from November to April see the birdlife explode with the addition of the summer migrants to the area. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be excited to know that we have excellent fishing through the summer and winter – it’s just that the techniques we use change.

 

How To Get There

The properties that make up the Zambezi Queen Collection are based on the Namibian side of the Chobe River. Here’s information on how to reach them:

 

By Car:

If you’re on a self-drive safari, secure parking can be arranged for your vehicles next to the Kasane Immigration Office. The GPS co-ordinates are S 17° 48′ 12.618” / E 25° 8′ 54.44”. Please advise at time of booking whether you require secure parking.

 

By Air:

There are four main access points by air:

  • Kasane International Airport, Botswana (BBK) is about 15 minutes drive/transfer from Kasane Immigration Office
  • Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe (VFA) is about 1 ½ hours drive/transfer from Kasane Immigration Office
  • Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone Airport, Zambia (LVI) is about 2 hours drive/transfer from Kasane Immigration Office
  • Katima Mulilo Airport, Namibia (MPA) is about 2 ½ hours drive/transfer from Kasane Immigration Office
  • Flights depart daily from South Africa to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and weekly from Namibia. Flight costs are excluded from the rate but can be booked through our in-house travel agent.

 

Transfers

Road transfers to and from Kasane International Airport as well as to and from the Kasane Immigration Office are included in our rate. You can also choose shared or private road transfers at an additional cost from Victoria Falls International Airport, Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone Airport, and Katima Mulilo Airport.

 

Arrival & Departure Procedure

  • On arrival, your first priority is to make sure you get your passport stamped at the airport
  • You’ll then be met by a representative at the airport who will help with your luggage and transfer you to the Kasane Immigration Office (KIO) in an air-conditioned vehicle
  • Once you arrive at KIO, a Zambezi Queen Collection staff member will meet you and help with your luggage as well as formalities at passport control as you exit Botswana
  • A Zambezi Queen Collection staff member will then transfer you by motorised boat to the Namibian Immigration Office, where you’ll get your passport stamped. Please wear comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen as there is a short walk to the immigration office
  • Both Kasane and Namibian immigration offices open at 07h30 and close at 16h30 daily
  • When arriving at the Kasane and Namibian Immigration Offices guests needs to fill in the required immigration forms to gain access and departure permission from the relevant authorities. This process can take between 45 to 60 minutes to complete and needs to be considered in terms of timing and pre-planning when coming to stay on one of the houseboats or at the lodge.
  • Should you know beforehand that you will arrive at KIO before 13h00 on the day of your arrival, please notify our reservations office 48 hours before you arrive
  • Collection is from 13h00 on day of arrival
  • Drop off is from 9h30 on day of departure
  • Arrival & Departure Times
  • Check-in is between 13h00 and 16h00
  • Kasane Immigration Office closes at 16h30 and guests are advised to arrive no later than 16h00
  • Guests arriving before 13h00 on day of arrival can make use of the facilities at our nearby lounge in Kasane until check-in at 13h00
  • Check-out is from 09h30 on day of departure to ensure guests get to the Kasane Immigration Office by 10h00
  • Kasane Immigration Office opens at 07h30
  • Guests departing after 10h30 can make use of the facilities at our nearby lounge in Kasane

 

We help you to plan your trip - just contact us! We appreciate to help you to make your dreams about a real adventure trip to Africa comes true.

FFTC Member Contact

The Mantis Collection.

Zambezi Queen Collection.

1st Floor Westlake Lifestyle centre

Westlake

Cape Town

 

Zambezi Queen (SA) (Pty) Ltd – Co Reg 2003/012659/07, South Africa

Zambezi Houseboats (Pty) Ltd – Co Reg 2012/1131, Namibia

 

Kirsty Coetzee

Sales Manager

kirsty@zqcollection.com 

 

Phone: +27 21 715 2412

 

www.zqcollection.com