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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.

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

Transfers

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.