While most visitors to the Chobe National Park stay on dry land- there’s another option. There are several beautiful houseboats that ply the river, and make a fantastic alternative to the more conventional safari lodges. The Chobe Princesses are a collection of 3 small houseboats, each with just four or five bedrooms, and are the simpler sisters of the luxury Zambezi Queen.
What are the Chobe Princesses really like?
At 18 metres in length, the Chobe Princesses aren’t huge- they have just 4 or 5 cabins each (Chobe Princess 1 has 5 cabins and is slightly longer) and all of the rooms are air-conditioned. Décor is light, bright and airy, especially with the large sliding windows opening on to the deck and the river beyond. By their very nature, the cabins are fairly compact, but there’s enough space for double or twin beds and a small ensuite bathroom. On the upper deck there’s a bar and dining room as well as a pint-sized plunge pool. With a boat this small, (and the lack of wifi to bring distractions from the outside world) the feel is cheerfully communal- chatting to other guests over drinks and all sharing a table for the evening meal.
What can I do on the Chobe Princesses?
You have the option of spending 2 or 3 nights on board, depending on which day of the week you arrive. Generally the Princesses will be moving up and down the river, though sometimes weather or logistical reasons may mean they’re stationary. As the boats are so small you tend to share activities with other guests and timings will be worked out depending on the interests of the group. Taking the tenders out for boat safaris is a real must, bird watching is generally fabulous, and you can also try fishing for bream or (for the biggest bragging rights if a little more challenging you can try for tiger fish). Lastly, if you want to stretch your legs and do something a little more cultural, you can disembark on the Namibian banks of the river and explore one of the local villages.
Giving back on the Chobe Princesses: Water on the boats is solar heated, sewage is processed on board, and detergents are all biodegradable. The jet propulsion system for the boats is especially designed to protect the riverbed. In addition to this there are real efforts to ensure that the local community benefit from tourism- many of the staff are Namibian, and there are programmes in place to help fund medical supplies, stationary supplies, and university scholarships.
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