Zambezi Queen News

A sailing guide for your Chobe River adventure

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A luxury river cruise on the Zambezi Queen Collection of houseboats is by far one of the most spectacular ways to experience the untamed wonders of nature. Of course, being so close to pristine wilderness can also mean being subject to its whims at times. Factors such as water level, wind speed and geography all play a role in the routes and distances you will go. Follow this sailing guide for some useful insights into your journey.

Sailing Guide | Chobe River Cruise | ZQ Collection

Learn the landscape

While the name may make you believe otherwise, the Zambezi Queen Collection does not in fact sail on the Zambezi River itself. Instead, it floats along the majestic Chobe River across a network of floodplains, forests and open woodlands. This makes for spectacular game viewing. Just a few kilometres from the point where the four African countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet, is the stretch of river that the Zambezi Queen and three Chobe Princesses call home.

Sailing Guide | Chobe River Cruise | Zambezi Queen

Go the distance

Although you won’t travel vast distances along the river, the rich concentration of wildlife in this area more than makes up for it. The luxurious Zambezi Queen floats along the river at a leisurely pace for approximately 25km. During this time, you’ll have ample opportunity to relax on deck and spot game and a myriad birdlife at your leisure. The Chobe Princesses are smaller in size, allowing them to travel somewhat faster, and as far as 50km. For this reason, the Chobe Princesses are able to moor at three different sites, known as Kasai, Elephant Bay and Leguva. The Zambezi Queen however, can only moor at Chenku and Leguva with her larger dimensions.

Leguva is a secluded docking site that takes guests away from the busier sections of the Chobe River, offering unencumbered views of the Chobe National Park’s open plains and making game-spotting more likely. However, both the Zambezi Queen and the Chobe Princesses are equipped with small motorised tender boats, so you can venture out into the narrower channels and get up close and personal with all the action at a moment’s notice.

Sailing Guide | Chobe River Cruise | Chobe Princesses

Understand the seasons

The Chobe River region is a spectacular destination throughout the year, with each season bringing its own unique experiences. In the drier winter months from May to October, the river banks come to life with an incredible concentration of elephants and other game. The Chobe Princesses  moor at Elephant Bay, thanks to its rewarding game sightings. This small island faces a popular elephant drinking site so guests can watch in delight as several herds come down to drink, play and bathe in the river before crossing to the Namibian grasslands.

Chenku, the first port of call aboard the Zambezi Queen, is a popular grazing area for elephant, buffalo and several species of antelope, making it a spectacular spot for game-viewing in the drier months.

The rainy summer months from November to April bring a burst of colour with a myriad bird life migrating to the area. Rainfall throughout the year affects the river’s water level, which in turn influences the sailing ability of the Zambezi Queen Collection of houseboats. As a result, mooring spots can change depending on the weather, water levels, wind and animal migrations. By special request, exclusive fishing safaris can be booked aboard the Chobe Princesses in which case mooring takes place on the Kasai Channel and the Zambezi River Main.

During the rainy season, the three Chobe Princesses are able to sail as far upstream as Ikhava. However, as the water level lowers, the route is a bit shorter in order to avoid possible sand banks. Due to her shallow hull, the elegant Zambezi Queen remains mostly unhampered by water levels, and can sail as far up the river as Ijumbwe.

Sailing Guide | Chobe River Cruise | Game-Viewing

Weather the elements

Wind is easily the most defining factor for sailing the Chobe River. High winds can have a big impact on the distances and areas the houseboats can navigate. In very windy conditions, the Zambezi Queen’s generous proportions can make avoiding sand banks somewhat challenging. As a result, our experienced skippers are very careful to ensure that she doesn’t venture out into unfavourable weather conditions. The smaller Chobe Princesses are far nimbler, and can manage higher wind speeds more easily. What’s more, should they get caught in high winds, it’s a simple matter of beaching anywhere along the river until the weather passes.

With its lush scenery, abundant wildlife and enchanting African ambience, a river cruise with the Zambezi Queen Collection is sure to be the experience of a lifetime − whatever the weather.

Book your stay on one of Zambezi Queen Collection houseboats today to experience the unique magic of an African safari.

Easy safari travel guide

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Get your African safari off to a smooth start with this quick and easy guide for hassle-free travel to the great Chobe River in Namibia.

An African safari with the Zambezi Queen Collection truly is an experience of a lifetime.

And while the adventure takes place across the border in Namibia along the impressive Chobe River, getting there is all part of the fun − and a lot easier than you might think!

To ensure a smooth journey, we have provided a convenient overview of your travel experience from start to finish.

From the moment the airplane leaves the runway to the final arrival at your Zambezi Queen Collection accommodation of choice, warm hospitality and beautiful views are your travel companions.

Zambezi Queen Collection - Aerial View

Take off

The first leg of your journey begins in Botswana. Located on the border with Namibia, it’s your gateway to the Chobe River where the Zambezi Queen Collection awaits. For those not flying directly from South Africa to Botswana, there are a number of flights into neighbouring Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe. For even further convenience, Airlink has added additional routes and more frequents flights that you can view here.

As you begin your smooth descent onto the runway at Kasane International Airport in Botswana, you’ll get your first glimpse of the spectacular Chobe National Park and perhaps even spot an elephant or two!

Fly Airlink to Botswana

Touch down and transfers

Arrive at the brand new Kasane International Airport featuring world-class facilities and services. Once you’ve had your passport stamped, a friendly representative will help with your luggage and guide you to a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle for transfer to the Kasane Immigration Office. Simply sit back, relax and enjoy the ride as you spot free-roaming wildlife along the way.

At the Kasane Immigration Office, a Zambezi Queen Collection staff member will take care of your luggage and guide you through passport control as you exit Botswana. You will then board a motorised boat where you will be transferred  to the Namibian Immigration Office. This is when things get really exciting! While on the water, take the opportunity to spot a myriad wildlife as you go.

Zambezi Queen Collection - Arrival

And just like that, you’ve arrived!

Once you’ve had your passport stamped at the Namibian Immigration Office, you’ll continue on to your chosen Zambezi Queen Collection accommodation where your incredible African safari truly begins.

A few details

Zambezi Queen Collection - Area Map


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.

Arrivals and departures 

Both the Kasane and Namibian Immigration Offices open at 07h30 and close at 16h30 daily. Guests are advised to arrive no later than 16h00.

When arriving at the Kasane and Namibian Immigration Offices, guests will be required to fill in the necessary 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. Should you know beforehand that you will arrive at Kasane Immigration Office before 13h00, please notify our reservations office 48 hours in advance. Guests arriving before 13h00 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. Guests departing after 10h30 can make use of the facilities at our nearby lounge in Kasane.

Book your stay at one of our Zambezi Queen Collection properties today to experience the unique magic of an African safari.

The story of Kennedy Ilunga

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At Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, we’re just as passionate about making our guests feel at home as we are about sharing the exceptional wildlife and natural beauty of the region.

Right at the heart of our passion for hospitality, is our talented staff who truly love what they do. And no person is more dedicated to his role than Kennedy, our Front of House Manager.

Kennedy Ilunga - Host at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Meet Kennedy

Kennedy is one of the first people you will see when arriving at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. His bright smile is infectious and makes you feel instantly welcome as you step onto the deck.

While Kennedy loves every part of his job, meeting guests as they arrive is definitely his favourite. He puts all his energy into his work, and it shows in everything he does.

“There is so much more to giving than receiving. The more time, energy and love I provide to my guests the happier I feel.”

Kennedy has the lodge’s previous owner to thank for his position here. They met while working at another lodge in Katima Mulilo, and so began his journey to the dream job he has today.

Kennedy Ilunga - Host at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Getting to know him

The story behind Kennedy’s name comes from his father who worked in South Africa as a miner. While working there, many of the miners used English names, and Kennedy’s namesake was a friend of his father’s.

Fit and healthy at 59 years old, Kennedy is a firm believer in the importance of exercise. He is an avid runner and often goes for jogs through the beautiful natural surrounds.

Amazing experiences

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge has a privileged position on secluded Impalila Island along the Namibian side of the Chobe River. As such, it affords guests unparalleled opportunities to spot a myriad of wildlife up close in their natural habitat − from elephants quenching their thirst on the banks to rare birds perching in the branches.

When asked about his most incredible sighting, Kennedy recounts an occasion where a crocodile attempted to eat a python. The python was very large, and it turned out the crocodile had bitten off a bit more than it could chew! He says it took an entire day for the croc to complete its meal.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

A word from our guests

Kennedy gets plenty of praise from our guests who all love his warm personality and friendly smile. Here are just a few of the many compliments he has received to date:

“At Ichingo Chobe River Lodge we had a marvellous time as Kennedy and his staff were fantastic. Kennedy has a wonderful way with people.”

“Kennedy was always on the deck with a refreshing drink or a glass of sherry when we arrived back from our boat ride in the evening.”

“Kennedy was a fantastic host.”

“The welcome we got on arrival at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge by Kennedy was to set the scene for the rest of our stay.”

“Thank you to Kennedy for looking after us so well.”

“Kennedy is so welcoming! His huge smile and enthusiastic waving proves how much he loves his job. We really enjoyed getting to spend a few days with Kennedy and his amazing staff.”

From his exceptional hospitality and genuine warmth to his unfailing dedication to excellence, Kennedy represents everything we stand for at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. And we’re very proud to have him on our team.

Kennedy Ilunga - Host at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is located on secluded Impalila Island on the Namibian side of the river. This haven of natural beauty and serene luxury features eight air-conditioned Meru safari tents, each with their own private balcony with spectacular views over the river. Visit our website to discover more about Ichingo Chobe River Lodge and the unique area that surrounds it. 

Discover the wonders of Victoria Falls with an unforgettable Chobe River safari experience

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Victoria Falls

Famed for its thundering waters that tumble 108 meters into a roiling gorge below, it’s no surprise that Victoria Falls has earned its place as one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World. Wild beauty abounds with endless views of the African bushveld, superb game viewing opportunities and a wealth of leisure and adventure activities.

Exhilarating Adventure at Victoria Falls

Also known as Mosi-o-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’, Victoria Falls offers numerous heart-stopping adventure activities for those in search of excitement. Go white water rafting on the raging river. Dare to swim on the very edge in the Devil’s Pool. Brave the heights with a breath-taking bungee jump, zip line or gorge swing. Soar above the waters on a helicopter. Watch as hundreds of vultures swoop down to feed before your very eyes. Go on a horseback game viewing safari along the Zambezi River. Challenge yourself to a dive with crocodiles. Or just enjoy the view with a spectacular tour along the bridge.

Adventure at Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls’ Fascinating Culture

Further inland you can experience the rich culture of the area and meet the locals on a rural village tour. Dine in a traditional boma while a blazing bonfire lights the night sky. Sample local cuisine and watch as traditional dancers gyrate to lively bongo drums. Learn about the entrancing rituals and listen to historic stories that paint a vivid picture of the past.

Victoria Falls Carnival

Vic Falls Carnival

In December, you can attend one of the most sought-after New Year’s Eve Celebrations at the Vic Falls Carnival. Featuring South Africa’s best live performers and thousands of music lovers from across the globe, this 3-day extravaganza is the ultimate way to ring in the New Year.

Experience it All with Fantastic Package Deals

Zambezi Queen Collection December Special

Located just moments from the revered Victoria Falls, the Zambezi Queen Collection of properties offer the perfect springboard for you to experience the many wonders of the area.

This December enjoy an adventurous stay at the secluded Ichingo Chobe River Lodge complete with a complimentary day trip to Victoria Falls. Or combine 4 unforgettable nights aboard the intimate Chobe Princesses or luxurious Zambezi Queen with a stay at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge and only pay for 3 nights.

Book your incredible Southern African safari experience today! Call our expert consultants, send us an email or visit our website to enquire with us.

Botswana introduces tourism development levy

Botswana introduces tourism development levy

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LATEST UPDATE (31 May 2017):

The Botswana Tourism Organisation has put on hold the implementation of the tourism development levy, which was scheduled to go into effect on June 1 this year.

An announcement on a new date is expected in two weeks.

Here’s what you need to know:

The Purpose of the Levy

According to Botswana Tourism, the objective of the levy is to raise funds for conservation and national tourism development. The funds raised will support the growth of the industry, broaden the tourism base and thus improve the lives of the people of Botswana.

How much is the levy and where is it collected?

The $30 (€27) levy is payable at all ports of entry including airports and border posts. Please note: Children aged nine years and younger will be exempt from this levy.

How is the payment done?

Payments will be processed through electronic payment machines, cash, debit and credit card. After the payment, a unique receipt corresponding to the passport will be automatically generated. The receipt should then be presented to immigration officials. The passport and the receipt will be stamped and handed back to the traveller. The receipt will be valid for a 30-day period and can be used for multiple entry.

For more information please email, call or visit Bostwana Tourism’s website.