Southern Africa is one of my favorite regions on Earth. The topography is diverse, animal viewing—including the “Big Five” of African elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and Cape Buffalo—is almost too easy, and the people are incredibly engaging. That’s why I was very intrigued to learn about the new Zambezi Queen riverboat—built in 2009—that is now offering safaris on the Chobe River in northeast Botswana.
The Zambezi Queen
If you’re addicted to HBO’s series No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency that’s set in Botswana, you know the country’s southern border is buffeted by South Africa, to the west and north is Namibia, to the east is Zimbabwe. (A very small portion of the northern border is also shared by Zambia.)
Visitors from all around the world are drawn to several regions of Botswana: the Kalahari Desert at the center of the country, the lush Okavango Delta in the central north, and Chobe National Park to the northeast. It’s at Chobe National Park that you’ll see the largest population of African elephants (numbering close to 120,000).
The steel hulled Zambezi Queen riverboat explores the Chobe between Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and Chobe National Park and ties up just miles from where four countries—Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—meet. (It’s an easy trip to the dramatic Victoria Falls from here.)
This brand new riverboat houses 14 cabins, all with private balconies. Four are master suites with air conditioning while the remaining 10 staterooms are cooled via ceiling fans.
You’ll enjoy the pool on the top deck (forward) as well as the dining room and lounge with floor-to-ceiling windows that are perfect for spying game all day long.
Onboard guides will take you on safaris via tenders (three aluminum high-speed boats) that allow for super up-close viewing of animals. Land-based game viewing from 4×4 vehicles is also an option in Botswana’s Chobe National Park. If you’d like to see what local village life is like, the Zambezi Queen can arrange for a tour. And, there are two fiberglass boats for those who wish to hook some tiger fish and bream.
Two– and three-night safaris are available and are priced in South African rand. Pair your voyage aboard the Zambezi Queen with one or two game lodge stays in Botswana; the Royal Livingstone in Zambia for Victoria Falls; or lodges in South Africa’s Timbavati or Sabi Sands Private Game Reserves.
For more information, talk with your travel agent or contact Zambezi Queen at +27 (0) 21 438 0032.