Few places have not been touched by cruising, from the Arctic to the Amazon. Now a spectacular African river is also host to a cruise ship, The Zambezi Queen. Manager Andre Barnard tells Helen Raine what you can expect.
What is the concept?
The Zambezi Queen is a modern and sophisticated interpretation of a typical game lodge. We use the term ‘luxury African river safari’.
It offers a unique way of game viewing in absolute comfort and luxury.
Where do you cruise?
The nearest departure point is Kasane in Botswana. The boat is located along the banks of the Chobe River, only a few kilometres from the point where four African countries meet, namely Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It is within travelling distance of one of the great wonders of the world, the magnificent Victoria Falls.
What will we see?
The Chobe National Park is known for its massive density of game, with around 120,000 elephants as well as more than 400 species of birds.
We use a stretch of around 25km on the Chobe River. This is unique in that animals tend to gravitate towards the water so the game viewing from the unobstructed, elevated position is fantastic.
Guests can expect to see elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard and antelope on land, while the river is home to crocodile and hippo.
What activities can we do?
We include excursions such as water-based game drives by tender boat to get even closer, a tour to a local working village on the Namibian side of the river and optionally for guests staying for three nights, a game drive in the Chobe National Park.
What is included?
We offer two- and three-night stays. It is generally full-board so of course this includes accommodation, all meals and excursions as well as all soft drinks, locally sourced wines and beers.
What is the accommodation like?
There are 14 cabins on two levels, all with their own private balconies.
Four are master suites, some with private outdoor areas.
The entire boat including the top deck, living and dining area, has mosquito screening.
You can fall asleep to the sounds of Africa through your open doors at night. The top deck is air-conditioned and has a sun area with a private pool.
The boat was built on the banks of the Chobe river and no expense was spared with the design.
One of South Africa’s top designers created a timeless, elegant look with some light African touches.
What would our perfect day aboard be like?
Guests can be as active or relaxed as they wish.
Usually the day starts out with a breakfast, followed by a morning activity, then lunch and time to relax on board.
In the afternoon we again offer an activity and guests return in time to freshen up for dinner.
What will we eat?
We pride ourselves in offering a sophisticated experience and the food is African fusion with locally sourced ingredients.
It may include some typical foods such as maize (pap), but we do not go as far as including items such as mopane worms, which some of the local people would have in this part of the world.
Are the crew local and do we get a chance to chat to them?
All our staff are Namibian.
Guests are free to interact with
the staff and they love being asked about their culture, food and lifestyle.
Our staff draws a great number of compliments from our guests.
How do you protect the environment?
The boat uses a water jet propulsion system that replaces the conventional propeller system, causing no damage to the riverbed.
Only the latest fuel-efficient and low-emission generators are run during daylight hours, with the entire boat operating on battery power through the night.
Hot water is provided by a solar heating system and we have an onboard sewerage processing plant. Cleaning detergents and soaps are biodegradable.
A five-stage water purification plant, using river water, is used in showers and taps.
We recently bought a sister boat called The Pride of the Zambezi, a smaller vessel that is being refurbished.
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