What It's Like Staying with the Zambezi Queen Collection
Updated: Oct 19, 2022
Thinking of spending some of the most amazing days of your life aboard thE Chobe princess or at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge?
Here's why you'll fall in love with the Chobe.
I spent the most amazing few days at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge and aboard the Zambezi Queen Collection’s Chobe Princess. The Chobe Princess is a floating boutique hotel, offering luxury African river safaris in the game-dense Chobe National Park. Our boat drifted down the Chobe River, as I watched hundreds of elephants glide past my bedroom window and Namibia and Botswana float by.
On river safaris, we watched hippos, buffaloes, zebras, and giraffes graze in the bright grass on the river’s edge. Crocodiles and monitor lizards warmed themselves in the sun, and Pied Kingfishers darted into the water in search of fish.
There’s really nothing like this kind of safari—where you stay on the river, falling asleep to the music of nature and the singsong rhythm of the tide.
One of the best parts? They're both just 1 hour away from Victoria Falls, so you can easily check off two bucket list items during one trip (like I did)!
If you’re looking for a new and unique safari experience in Africa or if you’ve never been, then you will fall in love with the Chobe Princess and Ichingo Chobe River Lodge.
This is a bucket list experience!
Read on for what it's like to stay aboard the Zambezi Queen's Collection's Chobe Princess and in Ichingo Chobe River Lodge by Mantis.
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What it's like aboard the Chobe Princess
Staying aboard the Chobe Princess was one of the best experiences of my life.
There’s nothing like sleeping on the water, falling asleep in luxury, and listening to the music of nature and the lapping of the waves.
I fell in love with the majestic Chobe River and the beautiful herds of animals who call Chobe National Park home.
Hundreds of elephants grazed in the bright grass on the river’s edge. Hippos hid their bulk in the water, and zebra and giraffe gathered on the wide marshlands.
Even though the Chobe Princess is a boat on the Chobe River between Namibia and Botswana, checking in was easy. After a road transfer from my accommodation, a small tender boat met me at the Kasane Immigration Office and brought me to Namibia immigration on Impalila Island. After a quick walk, I had my Namibia-stamped Passport in hand and re-boarded the tender boat to join the Chobe Princess.
How you want to spend your holiday aboard the Chobe Princess is up to you, whether you want to wake up with the sun for an early morning river safari, rest and relax by the plunge pool, or read from the deck, while some of Africa’s best safari scenes float past.
On early, misty mornings, the small tender boat brought us close to the river’s edge to watch buffalo grazing, Pied Kingfishers dash into the water, crocodiles bask in the new rays of the sun, and of course, elephants greet the day with trunks held high.
Being in a small boat on the Chobe River means you have a unique perspective of the game, as you’re able to view them from a closer perspective and head-on as they drink from the river.
Our guide, Lucky, helped us get to know the many fantastic bird species of the Chobe, most I had never seen before except on nature shows like the black heron.
After a memorable river safari, we’d reboard the Chobe Princess for breakfast (think fresh granadilla, croissants, and eggs to order), before visiting a local village of the Sibuya Tribe for a cultural tour.
The Chobe Princess has five cabins, so the experience is always intimate and meals with the other guests feel warm like a new-found family on the Chobe.
After returning to the Chobe Princess from the local village tour, there’s lunch as amazing as dinner. On my first day on board, we had a lovely lemon meringue pie and bobotie, reminiscent of South Africa.
After lunch, there’s the opportunity for an afternoon river cruise and sundowner. The afternoon is often the best game viewing on the Chobe River, as animals emerge from the bush to cool off along the banks.
Elephants often greeted us in the afternoon along the river, before swimming across the mighty Chobe. In the afternoon light, the river shimmers like blue silk.
Some of the best sunsets of my life were the two sunsets I watched from the Chobe River, as elephants became tall silhouettes against a warm pink sky.
If an elephant with its trunk up is good luck, witnessing an elephant crossing must be good luck for a lifetime.
When the main lights on the Chobe Princess go out at 10 pm, the view from the top deck is a luminous sky studded with stars. There’s nothing like the peace of sleeping on the Chobe River, as the sky darkens and the silhouettes of elephants and buffalo return to the bush.
What It's Like STAYING AT Ichingo Chobe River Lodge
It’s here that you can feel the supreme peace of the Chobe, resting in a luxury only timed by the bush.
The Ichingo Chobe River Lodge sits on a quiet bank of the Chobe River, secluded beneath the shade of trees.
From the candle-lit deck, with my ice-cold Savannah in hand, I'd watch weaver birds dart from their nests, and relive the memories of the day.
At night from my luxury tent, I could hear the roar of the rapids and watch the sunset, as blossomy pinks and reds peeked through the boughs of trees at the river’s edge.
My favorite part about staying at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge had to be exploring the majestic Chobe River with my own guide, Cassius, on our very own tender boat! Together, we watched herds of elephants crossing the Chobe River from Botswana to Namibia—one of Africa's most exciting scenes and one of the best moments of my life.
Most of the staff have been at Ichingo for over 10 years and feel more like new friends than staff. They're also mostly from Impalila Island, so like Cassius, they know the river like the back of their hand.
Chobe National Park is home to the highest density of elephants on the African continent! I’m not exaggerating when I say I saw hundreds of elephants in just three days.
If you are an elephant lover (like me!), then you have to visit this incredible place, especially at afternoon and sunset when the elephants swim across the Chobe River.
I watched in awe as the elephants disappeared into the water, with their heads lifted above the surface and trunks lifted high above the current.
On the other side, they'd emerge, dripping with the Chobe, half-darkened and half still light grey with dust.
The sun dips its blood orange into the sky—evening in the bush. The majestic Chobe River becomes a shining, metallic blue in the golden evening light, and river-wet elephants turn into tall, black silhouettes against a fiery red sky.
It’s true! There’s nothing like an African sunset.
Whether you're an elephant-lover, a birder, a foodie, an angler (catch Africa’s famous tiger fish), or the safari-seeker who’s done it all, a trip down the Chobe River with the Zambezi Queen Collection is a bucket list experience not to be missed!