Extraordinary Africa>Botswana>Chobe National Park>Zambezi Queen
A few days aboard the lovely, elegant Zambezi Queen houseboat is the perfect start or finish to a safari for those who’d like to take life at a slightly gentler pace.
What’s the Zambezi Queen really like?
Although the Zambezi Queen (like her smaller sisters the Chobe Princesses) is a Namibian boat, you board it from the Botswanan town of Kasane, so for ease we’ve included it alongside more conventional lodges and camps in Chobe National Park. She’s 42 metres long and manages to fit in 14 perfectly formed cabins, all with an ensuite shower room and their own balcony. Each suite is stylishly designed, with twin or kingsized beds. Triple suites have an additional sleeper couch, and for those who want a little more space, the Master Suites are slightly larger with a bigger balcony. Nominally the suites are air-conditioned, however this does go off at night when the engine isn’t running, so best to expect a fan and treat the rest as a bonus. On the top deck the Zambezi Queen has lounge and restaurant, serving remarkably good food, as well as a deck with sun loungers and a small plunge pool. There’s also simple wifi, though please be prepared that this can be very slow indeed- switching off, forgetting the world and soaking up your incredible surroundings will probably be a lot more fun!
What can I do on the Zambezi Queen?
There are a fair few activities you can officially do from the Zambezi Queen, but if we’re honest, this is probably best viewed as a chance to relax. A typical stay would be 2 or 3 nights (3 nights does enable you to get away from the busier areas of the Chobe waterfront) with the boat moving to a different mooring each night (though please note that the weather does very occasionally prevent this grand old lady from moving). There is game viewing from the Queen herself – buffalo and elephants are often magnificent in this part of Africa, and we’d particularly recommend bringing a pair of binos to enjoy the glorious birdlife. As elephant lovers we absolutely adore game drives in Chobe National Park, and these can be arranged on your arriving and departing days though trying to do them from on board involves rather too much bureaucracy to make it worthwhile. More relaxing are the boat safaris in the smaller single or double level game viewing boats, which bring you closer into shore than the Zambezi Queen can go. Particularly recommended with a cold sundowner in hand! You can also try your hand at catch and release fishing- serious kudos to anyone who manages to hook a tiger fish! It’s also possible to visit a village on the Namibian side of the Chobe River, though this is usually part of a 3 night, rather than 2 night trip.
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