Chobe River Archives | ZQ Collection

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. 

An Unforgettable African Safari on the Chobe River

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The magnificent Chobe River rises in the Angola highlands and winds its way to the Zambezi River, flanked by forests, floodplains and woodlands. With the highest concentration of African elephants on the continent, and over 450 different bird species you’d better charge your camera and pack your binoculars.

The Chobe R

The life blood of the Botswana and Namibian safari experience

The River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park as well as much of Botswana’s border with Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, and it is an integral part of the Botswana and Namibian safari experience. 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. During the dry season, when other water sources are scarce, large herds of animals concentrate on the banks of the river for a drink or a cooling splash. Of course this is great news to hungry predators like crocs and lions that are eager to make a quick meal out of a thirsty zebra or antelope.

Elephant herd on Chobe River

The Chobe is a birding paradise. You’ll wake to the sound of the African Fish Eagles as it swoops down to snatch a fish from the water. Watch the graceful African Skimmer leave a perfect wake, or gawk at the strange black Openbills, or Marabou Storks. Even if you’re not a birding enthusiast seeing some of the over 450 bird species and hearing your enthusiastic and well-informed guide talk about the habits and quirks of each Little Bee Eater, you may just be converted!

African Fish Eagle, Chobe River

The gentle giants

Chobe is home to 4 of the big 5: lion, buffalo, leopard, and of course – elephant. It is estimated that there are around 120,000 elephants migrating through the Chobe National Park and surrounding areas – the largest concentration of elephants in the world. It is not uncommon to see herds of over 100 animals grazing on the banks, or to find them crossing the river, or spraying each other playfully in the water. These gentle giants are ever present, and the best way to appreciate them is from the water on a river cruise. It seems that the animals are unperturbed by the boats drifting by – and they go about their daily routine as if you are part of the scenery. It is an incredible way to view them in their natural habitat without disturbing them – and what a photo opportunity!

Elephant, Chobe River

Surprising Africa

The African wild is exactly as enigmatic and surprising as it sounds. One might expect, for example, that, being in one of the most remote locations in the world, the sunset would bring serenity and tranquillity as a million stars light up the sky. But no, Africa comes to life after dark. The hypnotic chorus of insects; the mesmerising sounds of thousands of tiny creatures buzzing, zinging and chattering; the grunt of a nearby herd of elephants grazing, and the gentle lapping of the water will be your lullaby. Concentration of game around the river ensures your days are filled with sensational sightings.

In the lap of luxury

When you think of the Chobe, don’t think dirt and dust, think safari decadence. Luxury tented camping gives you the authentic African safari experience in unsurpassed comfort. Alternatively, stay in a floating boutique hotel, or a private villa on the water, where the scenery is always changing and you become part of the majestic landscape that is Africa.