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Zambezi Queen Named World’s Leading Boutique Cruise at World Travel Awards 2017

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The Zambezi Queen has once again been named the World’s Leading Boutique Cruise at the World Travel Awards Grand Final Gala Ceremony 2017 which took place at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam on 10 December 2017. This is the fifth time the Zambezi Queen has been awarded this accolade at the World Travel Awards. The Awards are voted for by travel and tourism professionals and business and leisure travel consumers worldwide, and this accolade recognises the commitment to excellence which the Zambezi Queen has demonstrated in the last 12 months.

World's Leading Boutique Cruise 2017

The Zambezi Queen (part of the Mantis Collection of properties) is a 5-star, 42-metre long luxury houseboat offering supreme sophistication along the Chobe River – one of the most remote locations on the planet.

Wayne Suttie, General Manager for the Zambezi Queen Collection, is thrilled that the Zambezi Queen has once again been awarded this top honour. “Receiving an accolade such as this at a global level is incredible for any brand. The Zambezi Queen has always been a well-loved and respected global brand, and together with the unique African safari surrounding and all of the other one-of-a-kind experiences that are synonymous with the Zambezi Queen, she really is so deserving of this award”.

Zambezi Queen

Unlike a land-based lodge, the Zambezi Queen navigates roughly 25km of the Chobe River, allowing guests to explore different vantage points and enjoy unparalleled game viewing. The banks of the Chobe National Park boast one of the densest populations of elephant on the African continent – estimated at approximately 120 000. The Park is also home to a large number of buffalo, leopard and lion, along with a variety of antelope and abundant birdlife.

Each of the 14 suites on the Zambezi Queen features air-conditioning and private balcony, where guests can enjoy unobstructed views of the Chobe River and African landscape beyond. Guests enjoy a truly unique and adventurous river safari holiday while still being surrounded by complete comfort and elegance. What could be better than waking up to the sight of an elephant drinking from the river, or watching a fish eagle take flight – all from the comfort of your own luxurious bed? These are just a few of the magnificent treats that await guests aboard the Zambezi Queen.

Zambezi Queen

Celebrated South African fashion designer Jenni Button created the luxury houseboat’s classic yet contemporary interior, using understated tones that make the wildlife on the banks of the river the star of the show.

And, just like at any contemporary hotel, guests can expect first class service at every turn. Whether they’re enjoying a gin and tonic on the upper deck at dusk or attempting to land their very first tiger fish, the Zambezi Queen’s highly experienced team is always on hand to meet guests’ every need.

Contact us for more information about the Zambezi Queen or to make an enquiry.

What to Expect on a Chobe River Safari in the Green Season

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A safari to the gorgeous Chobe River region is nothing short of spectacular any time of year. And while each season has its own distinct beauty and charm, the green season from November until late March offers a particularly immersive bush experience, bursting with new life, lush greenery and cooling rainfall. Here’s what you can look forward to on a Chobe River safari in the green season.

Chobe River | Green Season

Refreshing rains and flourishing greenery

Hot sunny days give way to dramatic afternoon thunder showers, creating an electric atmosphere of awe and beauty. These short, intense bursts of rainfall quench the parched grasslands, transforming them into a green carpet of dense vegetation with splashes of colourful wildflowers. As the rain clears, a golden sunset appears behind the clouds and a gentle calm settles over the bushveld – a true photographers’ paradise.

Chobe River | Green Season

Thriving wildlife

The tall grass and dense bush may make animal sightings somewhat more of a challenge, but the results can be so much more rewarding too. The green season brings with it new life, with newborn impala, wildebeest and zebra taking their first few tentative steps into the wild. At the same time, predator sightings become far more frequent and exciting, as lions, rare packs of wild dogs and elusive leopards stalk the young and vulnerable prey. These thrilling sightings are particular to the green season.

Chobe River | Green Season | Harem of Impala

World-class fishing

The Chobe River region is renowned for its excellent fishing, with each season bringing its own unique opportunities and challenges. In the warm rainy months, the water levels rise and strong currents in the main channels make for excellent fishing for tiger fish, cat fish and bream. During the floods, the river water may become a bit murky, which results in drift baiting being more effective than fly spinners or lures. Whatever your method, nothing beats the exhilaration of landing a ferocious African tiger fish on a world-class fishing expedition along the Chobe River!

Chobe River | Green Season | Fishing

Birds in abundance

A myriad bird species make the Chobe River region their home throughout the year. However, magnificent migrations in the wet season see the bird population increase even further by an incredible 20%. Spy colourful bee eaters as they flit between leafy branches. See storks and ibises wade among the reeds. And watch in awe as an elegant fish eagle swoops down and scoops its glittering prey from the water. With over 450 bird species having been recorded in the area, avid bird watchers can spend hours in fascination on a bird watching safari.

Chobe River | Green Season | Birding

Whether you’re travelling in the dry winter season or the rainy summer months – there’s an abundance of natural beauty to be found. The elegant Zambezi Queen Collection of houseboats and the secluded Ichingo Chobe River Lodge offer spectacular safari packages throughout the year. Why not take a look at our incredible Kids Safari special where children 12 and under get 75% off their stay or see what other wonderful specials we currently have on offer to experience the unique beauty of the green season.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge wins at World Travel Awards

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The Zambezi Queen Collection is proud to announce that Ichingo Chobe River Lodge has been named “Namibia’s Leading Tented Safari Camp 2017” at the recent Africa World Travel Awards.

The glittering event took place at the five-star Radisson Blu Hotel & Convention Centre with hospitality leaders from across the region, in attendance. The World Travel Awards celebrates its 24th anniversary this year and is recognised across the globe as the ultimate travel accolade, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.

World Travel Awards Winner

“We have recognised the leading lights of African tourism tonight and I wish to offer my heartfelt congratulations to all of our winners” said World Travel Awards President Graham Cooke who extended his heartfelt appreciation to Rwanda for hosting the event.

The World Travel Awards are voted for by travel and tourism professionals worldwide and this accolade recognises the commitment to excellence Ichingo Chobe River Lodge has demonstrated over the past year.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge features eight large air-conditioned Meru safari tents set on a secluded island beneath a riverine canopy on the banks of the Chobe River. Guests can step out on to their own private balcony to listen to the rapids, relax on their sumptuous bed and then head to the dining room or bar for something delicious to eat or drink. Because of its unique geographic location, the game viewing and birdwatching in and around Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is second to none. The lodge’s location is particularly well known for its high quality fishing in over 100kms of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, where avid fishermen can hook tiger fish, bream and several other fresh water species.

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge | Activities

Ichingo Chobe River Lodge was recently grouped with the prestigious Zambezi Queen and three smaller houseboats known as the Chobe Princesses to form the Zambezi Queen Collection, a stable of truly unique properties that capture the true spirit and adventure of Africa.

Zambezi Queen Collection Houseboats

Winners from the event will go forward to complete in the World Travel Awards Grand Final, this year taking place at the JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa in Vietnam on the evening of 10th December.

Treat your kids to an unforgettable safari getaway

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Few things are as treasured as the memories made on holiday with your family. Treat your kids to an unforgettable safari getaway along the Chobe River with the Zambezi Queen Collection. Relax on the deck while the kids spot wildlife along the banks, or go on exciting game viewing, fishing and cultural adventures together. There’s something for the whole family to enjoy.

Family-friendly accommodation

The Zambezi Queen Collection is comprised of four houseboats, including the luxurious Zambezi Queen and her three Chobe Princesses, as well as the secluded tented Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. Each of these is perfectly equipped to accommodate families in style and comfort. Share family meals on the deck as the spectacular natural landscape glides by, then retire to your comfortable cabin. Or relax in the lodge’s spacious Meru safari tent, with an adjoining smaller tent just for the kids.

Family Safari Houseboat Holiday

Go on game-viewing adventures

The lush Chobe River region is teeming with beautiful wildlife drawn to the river bank to drink and graze. Hop onto a tender boat and cruise the waterways for up-close sightings of majestic elephants, powerful buffalo, proud lions and a myriad birds, amongst many others. A knowledgeable guide will provide fascinating insights into the many animals you encounter, giving children the opportunity to learn about and witness the lives of these creatures first hand. Morning and afternoon cruises avoid the midday heat, allowing you to truly appreciate the natural beauty of the lush landscape.

Family Safari Holiday | Game Viewing

Embark on a birding-watching safari

Turn your eyes skywards and discover a world of beautiful bird life. The Chobe River region is home to an impressive 450 bird species, with numbers swelling even further during the migration season. Explore the waterways on a tender boat and watch as these beautiful birds take wing. An expert guide will point out a rich variety of bird life, including African skimmers, rock pratincoles, fish eagles and pied kingfishers to name just a few. As captivating as they are educational, these birding safaris provide hours of entertainment for adults and children alike.

Family Safari Holiday | Birding

Catch the big one on a fishing expedition

With access to the Chobe, Zambezi and the Kasai Channel waterways, a family fishing trip is a must. Head out on a tender boat to stalk the legendary tiger fish that hunt through the depths. Renowned for having some of the best fishing Africa has to offer, this area also provides ample opportunity to catch less ferocious fish such as African pike, tilapia, catfish and upper Zambezi yellowfish. Share the exhilaration as your first fish tugs the hook. Then release your catch and watch as it returns to its rightful home below the waterline. All fishing equipment is included, so you can simply focus on landing your big catch. and having fun with the kids.

Family Safari Holiday | Fishing

Encounter local culture

There’s just as much to discover inland as there is along the river. Secluded Impalila Island, home to Ichingo Chobe River Lodge, has a history dating back to the 1800s. First discovered by David Livingstone, the island has since been home to various tribal empires, the descendants of which have remained to this day. Experience a guided walking tour of a local Namibian village to learn from and interact with the locals. The kids will love taking part in a traditional dance and learn all about daily life on the island. A walk to the 2000-year-old baobab tree is not to be missed, while your guide will point out interesting facts about local flora along the way. Adventurous kids can even climb the tree for a breathtaking view of the unique meeting point between Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe at the tip of the island.

Family Safari Holiday | Cultural Tour

This is how unforgettable family memories are made. Contact us for more information about booking your incredible family adventure or view our Kids Safari Special offer here.

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.