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Botswana introduces tourism development levy

Botswana introduces tourism development levy

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Effective from 1 June 2017, all travellers to Botswana except residents and citizens of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) will need to pay a tourism development levy.

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.

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.

Experience the best of both worlds with a combination river and land safari package

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When it comes to spectacular safari experiences along the Chobe River, you’re spoiled for choice with the Zambezi Queen Collection. With our combination package, guests can now enjoy a serene river safari on one of our four deluxe houseboats and relax on land at the intimate tented Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

Let’s take a look at what you can expect from each experience.

Chobe River Cruise and Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Spectacular river safari 

Step aboard one of our four exquisite houseboats and start your extraordinary journey. Lounge in the comfort of your stylish cabin and watch as abundant wildlife quench their thirst along the banks of the river. Cool off in the heat of the afternoon with a dip in the refreshing plunge pool. Then sip sundowners on the deck, followed by a gourmet dinner beneath the stars. Fall asleep to the gentle rhythm of the boat as it glides majestically along the Chobe River. Whether you’re in search of a romantic escape for two, a memorable family vacation or an exclusive getaway with a group of guests, the Zambezi Queen or one of our three Chobe Princesses never fail to impress. Struggling to decide which houseboat is best for you? Compare our houseboat experiences here.

Chobe River Houseboats

Secluded land safari 

A stay at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is no less inviting. Located on secluded Impalila Island on the Namibian side of the river, this intimate lodge is a haven of natural beauty and serene comfort. Relax on your private viewing balcony and gaze in awe as the great Chobe River glides by. Laze beneath a sun-dappled tree-top canopy and glimpse exotic birdlife between the branches. Fall asleep in your comfortable Meru tent with the rippling sounds of the river and birdsong as your lullaby. Families can enjoy a larger tent accommodating two adults and up to four children, while seven other spacious tents are perfect for two adults sharing or a group.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge

Exhilarating excursions

Enhance your incredible Chobe River safari experience with a number of exciting activities and excursions which are included in our rate. Hop onto a private motorised tender boat and discover the many wonders of the Chobe River and surrounding areas. Take a guided safari tour and spot over 450 species of birds that thrive in this lush wetland environment. Cast your fishing line and attempt to catch a legendary tiger fish, bream and other species. Experience local culture with a visit to a traditional village and marvel at a 2000-year-old ancient baobab tree.

All inclusive excursionsThe best of both worlds

Why choose when you can have the best of both worlds? Take advantage of our exciting combination packages aboard one of our luxury houseboats and at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.

This is the ultimate Chobe River safari experience. Book your combination river safari and stay package today! Call our expert consultants, send us an email or visit our website to enquire with us.

Fall in love with Chobe hook, line and sinker

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They say the two best times for fishing are when it is raining, and when it is not. In Namibia’s dry winter you’re in for a thrilling fishing experience. The shoulder season stretches from April to August. It brings cool nights and warm days with little or no rain. As the inland water sources begin to dry up, animals flock to the river to quench their thirst, so not only is the fishing fantastic, but the game viewing during June and July is incredible. Elephant, zebra, hippos, crocs and buffalo will all make their appearance on the river banks – not to mention a myriad of bird species. But they are not the stars of the show when you’re on a fishing trip.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Zambezi River

Where to find the best spot for fishing in Chobe

Although there are several lodges in the area where the lazy Chobe River joins the mighty Zambezi before rushing into the Victoria Falls, Ichingo Chobe River Lodge on Impalila Island in Namibia is a prime spot for fishing. The lodge has access to 7km of unfished Chobe River directly below the lodge, and then another 7km of unfished Zambezi River below the rapids downstream – you’ll have virtual exclusivity on this beautiful stretch of river.  No other lodge has access to these teeming waters.

On the Chobe side in particular, this is an area of many small islands and gentle rapids, ideal for drift-fishing and either flyfishing or spin-casting. Turn the corner into the deeper Zambezi and you’ll find that conventional trolling works best until you reach the turbulent waters at the foot of the rapids, a hotspot for tigerfish whether you’re using bait, fly or lure.

What you can catch

The Zambezi is home to the ferocious tigerfish, catfish, African pike, upper Zambezi yellow fish, nembwe, thin-faced, hump back, three spot tilapia, and green and pink bream.

Taming a tiger

If there is one fish that every Zambezi angler wants to catch, it’s the hard fighting tigerfish. Arguably the fiercest fresh water fish, these beauties can grow up to a massive 15kg (33lbs)! Catching one of these sharp-toothed monsters is no easy feat, and only about one in ten tigers hooked are actually landed. Tigerfish are so incredibly acrobatic that they jump and tug and twirl free within seconds – making the chase all the more thrilling.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Tigerfish

There are three ways to catch a tigerfish: trolling, drifting or spinning. Trolling artificial bait is done with two rods leading out from behind the boat. Drifting a fresh or dead fish works best in murky water, and when the water level is higher, and spinning may be more active, but it’s less efficient. Spin casting artificial bait works best when you target specific areas of the river, like sandbanks or rapids. The tigerfish has a preference for deep, fast flowing channels where they lurk in drop-offs ready to ambush their prey. They hunt in schools of similar sized fish.

You have to have the right equipment if you’re going to tame the tiger. Artificial bait that works well includes Rapala 9 or 11cm Magnum floating lures (for trolling), chrome or copper 45mm, 16g Effzett spoons (for trolling and spin casting), and Rapala 7cm Fat Rap or Shad Rap deep river lures for spin casting. If you’re considering using live bait, try the bulldog.

Catching catfish

The sharptooth catfish, or barbell, can survive almost any water conditions no matter how murky. They eat frogs, insects and fish, and have been seen jumping out of the water to catch birds perched low above the water. They feed mostly at night, and when you hook one you’ll feel a slow, steady pull. In an attempt to free itself, the catfish swims into obstacles or shakes its head vigorously from side to side.

ZQ Collection Zambezi river afternoon fishing

Although it will take lures, spoons and spinners, you’re more likely to catch one using bait on a size 3/0 or 4/0 hook fished on the bottom. Catfish enjoy earthworms, fish fillets, baby birds and chicken livers.

Baiting bream

Green and pink bream are best caught from July to December. Green bream prefer deep, quiet waters, slow flowing channels and floodplain lagoons, while pink bream seek out deep main river channels and sandy bays. Both species will take spinners and lures up to 5cm. Your best bet is red earthworm on a No12 long shank barbed hook, but they will also take Mepps No3 Black Fury soinners or 5cm Rapala Fat Rap deep divers. Both species are vigorous fighters, so you’d better be prepared for a good battle.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Fishing Safari

The nimble nembwe

Nembwe prefer the cooler water temperatures of the winter months.  It’ll take a worm, but you’re more likely to succeed with artificial bait when trying to catch this predator. Such is its fighting ability that its scientific name is Serranochromis robustus. Trolling and spin casting the shoreline are your best bet. Try a Rapala 5cm Fat Rap deep diver, Rapala 5 or 7cm Shad Rap deep diver, a Cordell 5cm Wally Diver or leadhead jig. They all come highly recommended by seasoned anglers who have successfully battled the nembwe.

Spinnerbaits, copper or chrome Effzette 16 gram spoons, Mepps No4 Black Fury spinners and Blue Fox No3  Vibrax spinners are also readily taken by nembwe.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Fishing Safari

What to wear and what to bring

  • Light coloured clothing;
  • A sun hat;
  • Sunscreen;
  • Binoculars; and
  • A camera for when you catch a big one!

What not to pack

  • Rods;
  • Lines;
  • Lures;
  • Leaders;
  • Reels; and
  • A fishing buff – land a tigerfish over 5kg (11lbs) and you’ll be awarded the coveted yellow buff of fishing!

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Fishing Buffs

Where to stay in Chobe

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is the only place to stay when you’re planning a fishing safari. Besides the 100km of river access (and 14km exclusive prime access), the lodge supplies all your fishing equipment – rods, lines, lures, leaders and reels. Coupled with our highly knowledgeable guides as well as well stocked cooler boxes fishing in Africa will be an experience to remember. The comfortable tented accommodation with en-suite bathrooms and private balconies allow you to unwind completely and to enjoy the sights and sounds of a true African river safari experience. Make your reservation today.

Call Ichingo Chobe River Lodge at +27 21 715 2412, or send an email to enquiry@zqcollection.com.

Luxury River Cruising on the Chobe River

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A river cruise along the Chobe River allows you to completely immerse yourself in the spectacular eco system that makes up the area. As you unwind, and enjoy the luxury of a Zambezi Queen houseboat with the wildlife and bird species performing in their natural habitat, the stage is set for the best birding and wildlife experience you can possibly have.

chobe river cruising

Along the banks of the Chobe River there are around 450 bird species, and 4 of the big 5 that call this area their home. A river cruise is undoubtedly the best way to experience Chobe. Not only is there a spectacular abundance of wildlife, but you will experience some of the most breathtaking sunsets imaginable.

Birding on the Chobe River

The Chobe River is one of the best birding locations in the world. If you’re a birding aficionado, you will most certainly be in paradise, as regular sightings of some beautiful species will keep you entertained for hours. From the colourful Carmine Bee Eater, African Jacana and Pied Kingfisher to the majestic African Fish Eagle, you will be in your element as you try and spot as many of the species in the area of the river banks as possible.

Chobe river cruising

Even the uninitiated bird spotter, will not be able to hold back their admiration for the bird species in the area. Whether you are an expert or not, will certainly be in awe of their beauty.

Photographing Africa at its best

A river cruise on the Chobe will offer spectacular and unique photographic opportunities allowing you to see things from a different perspective and angle. As the fish eagle hunts in the sky, and dives for its prey, or a herd of elephants make their way to the river banks to cool off in the midday sun, the spectacular burnt orange sky at sunset or a pride of lions quenching their thirst, the location truly is perfectly set for some incredible photos.

Chobe River cruising

Wildlife in the Chobe River region

Slowly winding your way along the Chobe River, you have one of the best vantage points for capturing exceptional photos. The hippos that wallow or the lion prides that gather on the shore, the crocodiles that sun themselves on the banks or the buffalo that meander across the plains are all easily visible from the water. This makes a river cruise a great way to capture that special moment that tells the story of the Chobe river.

Chobe River cruising

Chobe River sunsets

We can surely agree that an African sunset is definitely unique and special – every time.  As the golden sun dips below a vast African plain, and sheds its golden light across the Chobe River as if it’s pointing directly at you, you will know that you have reached paradise. An early evening on board the Zambezi Queen is a special time, especially for photographers. It’s when you can capture the wildlife surrounded by spectacular hues of an orange, purple or red sky, and when the lighting becomes perfect for that once in a lifetime photo.

Chobe River cruising

With a river cruise, you are always in the best location for the best wildlife sightings and sunsets. Whether it’s the variety of bird species that live near the river, or the majestic elephants, hippos, and buffalo that go about their business on the banks of the Chobe, you have the best chance to see it all from the comfort and luxury of your Zambezi Queen houseboat.

10 Things you may not know about Chobe National Park

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1. Chobe is Botswana’s first national park

Established in 1967, more than a century after Livingstone visited the area for the first time; Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national park.

Chobe National Park

2. It is Botswana’s third largest park

At 11,700 square kilometres, it is only the third largest park in Botswana.

3. It has four highly different eco-systems to explore

The unique character of the Chobe National Park is found in its diverse terrain and eco-systems that change dramatically from one region to the next. From floodplains and swamps to woodlands; the Chobe Riverfront, Nogatsaa, Savuti and Linyanti each offer a unique African safari experience.

4. The Savuti Channel mysteriously flows and dries up

One of Africa’s great mysteries is the unpredictable flow of the Savuti Channel which sometimes flows from the Linyati’s into the heart of the Chobe National Park, flooding the Savuti Marsh. Over the last few centuries, the water has appeared and disappeared several times. The earliest record of flowing water was in 1851 when David Livingstone came through Savuti; by 1879 the channel had stopped and the marsh was drying out. The river flowed again from the late 1950s, but dried up again in 1982. Almost 30 years later it started to flow again, and within two years the Savuti Marsh was in flood.

Of course when there is water, animals flock to the area to quench their thirst, but even when the marsh is dry it is a beautiful sight to behold. The grasslands attract large herds of zebra, impala, wildebeest, giraffe, tsessebe, buffalo and elephant as they migrate through the park.

5. Chobe National Park has the highest density of elephants in Africa

Chobe National Park is home to the largest population of elephants in Africa. It is not uncommon to see herds of more than 100 of these gentle giants. And elephants aren’t the only ones who thrive in this African oasis; Chobe is home to 4 of the Big 5. Take an early morning or late afternoon game drive and see if you can spot waterbuck, lechwe, puku, giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys, hippo and baboons. Of course where there’s food, there are predators like leopard, hyena, jackals, and large prides of lion on land, and crocodiles in the water.

Elephants at Chobe national park

6. There are an estimated 460 species of birds in Chobe

Chobe National Park is (or should be) on the bucket list of every birding enthusiast, so brush up on your bird calls and be sure to pack your binoculars for some serious birdwatching.

Kingfisher at Chobe National Park

7. Unique land safari and boat safaris in Botswana

While a traditional land safari is a thrilling experience, nothing beats a boat safari. Watching the animals from the water gives you a unique vantage point and seems to make them completely oblivious to your presence. The tranquillity of the water and the privileged access you have to terrain that would otherwise have been inaccessible makes for an unforgettable game viewing experience. Few parks can offer this winning combination of land and river safari.

river safari at Chobe National Park

8. The area has only two seasons: a wet and a dry season

The wet season stretches from around November to March and transforms the landscape into a lush green sanctuary, while the dry season sees large herds of animals congregate on the river banks for a drink. Both seasons have their unique allure; it all just depends on the type of safari you want to take.

9. Botswana currency is the Pula

Pula means rain in Setswana, and because rain is very scarce in Botswana it is considered to be very valuable; a blessing. Currently the exchange rate is around 10.6 BWP to the US Dollar and 1.29 to the Rand.

10. What to bring besides binoculars

Bring insect repellent and all manner of sun protection, including sunscreen, sunglasses, and a decent hat. You’re going to need comfortable walking shoes and a light jacket in case the weather changes. In winter, you’ll need warm clothes (think sub-zero temperatures at night), and in summer it is best to avoid synthetic fabric and anything black to ensure that you keep cool.

Safari at Chobe National Park