Sail along the Chobe River experiencing some incredible wildlife views
That is why you should book your adventure on the luxurious Chobe Princess with East Cape Tours today!
With only a small number of guests per boat and no set itinerary or departure dates, staying in one of the three Chobe Princesses is like being on your very own luxury houseboat.
The entire boat can also be booked exclusively, giving you your very own private villa on the water. As you drift down the Chobe River on one of the three Chobe Princesses and spot incredible wildlife scenes, you’ll be able to completely relax in an intimate river safari experience.
Each houseboat has a minimum of three smaller “tender” boats for use on daily excursions that take your fancy: mark off over 450 bird species found in this wetland paradise, try your hand at landing a tiger fish, or capture Africa’s unique beauty on a photographic safari. Whatever you choose to do, your day trips from the Chobe Princesses will be personal and flexible because you’ll be sharing the tender boats with a small number of guests. Alternatively, simply laze on a deck chair with an ice-cold drink in hand as you soak up the tranquility that surrounds you.
A relaxed, intimate river safari experience on one of the Chobe Princesses
With only a small number of guests per boat and no set itinerary or departure dates, staying in one of the three Chobe Princesses is like being on your very own luxury houseboat. The entire boat can also be booked exclusively, giving you your very own private villa on the water. As you drift down the Chobe River and spot incredible wildlife scenes, you’ll be able to completely relax in an intimate river safari experience aboard Chobe Princesses.
Each houseboat has a minimum of three smaller “tender” boats for use on daily excursions that take your fancy: mark off over 450 bird species found in this wetland paradise, try your hand at landing a tiger fish, or capture Africa’s unique beauty on a photographic safari. Whatever you choose to do, your day trips will be personal and flexible because you’ll be sharing the tender boats with a small number of guests. Alternatively, simply laze on a deck chair with an ice-cold drink in hand as you soak up the tranquility that surrounds you.
Each cabin on board the Chobe Princesses is tastefully decorated in a contemporary style, and each has its own private view onto the ever-changing landscapes beyond. As you lie on your king-sized bed, spot an elephant grazing on the riverbank nearby, or see a fish eagle diving for its prey. On the upper entertainment deck, a spacious lounge and bar area encourages you to take time out while there’s also a plunge pool that’s perfect for a refreshing dip. After a day spent doing as you please, fall asleep with the calls of hyena or even a lion drifting through the open doors of your cabin.
Chobe Princesses luxurious comfort where you’re instantly at ease
As you lie in bed and drink in your striking surroundings, you’ll find it very hard to leave the comfort of your cabin on board one of our luxury Chobe Princess houseboats. Tasteful décor cleverly combines local flavour with contemporary design, and the overall focal point is the large sliding window that frames the changing African landscapes perfectly.
Two of the 18-metre Chobe Princesses contain four cabin suites, while the third is slightly larger with five suites. Each cabin sleeps two people – either in a king-sized bed, or in two single beds if you prefer. Along with air-conditioning, cabins are fitted with mosquito-proofed windows and en-suite bathrooms with a shower, toilet and basin. Luxurious toiletries are provided for your comfort, as well as insect repellant for a peaceful night’s sleep. Hairdryers are available on request.
Head to the upper entertainment deck of your luxury houseboat and relax in the spacious lounge and bar, as you take time to simply sit back and soak up the scenery. This deck also has an open-air dining area where you can enjoy superb seasonal meals prepared by our experienced chefs.
Want to cool off? Take a dip in the plunge pool before unwinding on a sun lounger with an ice-cold drink served all day from our bar. Our lounge area comes with oversized leather couches, tables and chairs that are the perfect place from which to enjoy a spot of game viewing or simply to spend time with family and friends. As night draws in, enjoy some unforgettable stargazing under a vast African sky.
Memorable meals on one the Chobe Princesses that will satisfy and surprise
When you’re on holiday, the food you eat and the meals you enjoy become part of your memories. That’s why as a guest on one of our Chobe Princesses, we make sure that every one of the three hearty meals we serve per day are unforgettably delicious – along with the drinks and snacks we provide in between.
At sunrise, enjoy a warming cup of tea or coffee with wholesome rusks and biscuits before departing by tender boat for game viewing and other excursions. After an exciting morning – or even if you’ve chosen to stay on board and lie in – settle in on the deck for a fresh continental buffet or a hot English breakfast if you prefer.
Lunch and dinner are set menus with a single option, so please do let us know any dietary requirements before you arrive. Unfortunately, due to our remote location, we’re not able to cater for Kosher and Halaal meals. In keeping with the relaxed atmosphere of the Chobe Princesses, we don’t serve high tea at a set time. Instead, we have tea, coffee and home-baked goodies readily available at the bar area of the entertainment deck for you to enjoy at any time of day.
After sipping on a traditional African safari sundowner, sit down to a three-course evening meal as you’re serenaded to the sounds of hyenas, elephant and perhaps even lion nearby. After dinner, enjoy a coffee and a nightcap before heading to your cabin to round off the perfect day.
Need to Know
Planning your great African adventure? There are a few logistics you’ll need to organise before you leave – like deciding where and when to go, how to get there, and what you’ll need to bring with you. In this section, you’ll find useful information about the Chobe National Park area, as well as facts on visa requirements, transport, weather, what to pack and more.
Located in Northern Botswana, alongside Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, Chobe National Park is the second largest National Park in Botswana with the largest concentration of game on the African continent. The Chobe River, forming the northern boundary of the park, originates in the highlands of Angola. From there, it winds its way into the Zambezi River, which eventually flows into Victoria Falls, through Mozambique and into the Indian Ocean.
Because it crosses floodplains, forests and open woodlands, the Chobe consists of a complex network of channels and marshes, which makes for spectacular game viewing due to the lush vegetation that surrounds it. While it has water all year round, the Chobe rises significantly from February to May, after the rains in Angola that start in November. During this wet season, the level of the Zambezi floodplains rises, pushing water into the Chobe all the way to the seasonal Lake Liambezi. Once the lake reaches saturation point, the water has nowhere further to go, and so starts flowing in the opposite direction in a phenomenon known as the “backflow”.
On board the Zambezi Queen Collection of houseboats, you’ll be able to see animals in their natural environment from the water, making for a relaxing safari experience. A major feature of the area is the elephants, whose resident population is estimated to be over 120 000. You’ll also be able to see large herds of buffalo, and if you’re lucky, rare sightings like herds of Roan Antelope and Sable. Besides the land and water-based mammals, this is also a birdwatcher’s paradise and you can expect to encounter over 450 species.
Weather, seasons & time zones
The Time Zone is GMT / UTC +2.
There is no best or worst time to visit the Chobe area, because every month offers visitors something special. However, if you’re looking for a pure wildlife experience, the drier winter months from May to October see greater concentrations of game along the banks of the Chobe River. The summer months from November to April see the birdlife explode with the addition of the summer migrants to the area. If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be excited to know that we have excellent fishing through the summer and winter – it’s just that the techniques we use change.
How to get there
The four luxury houseboats that make up the Zambezi Queen Collection are moored on the Namibian side of the Chobe River. Here’s information on how to reach them:
If you’re on a self-drive safari, secure parking can be arranged for your vehicles next to the Kasane Immigration Office. The GPS co-ordinates are S 17° 46′ 48” / E 025° 11′ 23”. Please advise at time of booking whether you require secure parking.
There are four main access points by air:
- Kasane International Airport, Botswana (BBK) is about 15 minutes from Kasane Immigration Office
- Victoria Falls Airport, Zimbabwe (VFA) is about 1 ½ hours from Kasane Immigration Office
- Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, formerly Livingstone Airport, Zambia (LVI) is about 2 hours from Kasane Immigration Office
- Katima Mulilo Airport, Namibia (MPA) is about 2 ½ hours from Kasane Immigration Office
Flights depart daily from South Africa to Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe and weekly from Namibia. Flight costs are excluded from the rate but can be booked through our in-house travel agent.
Road transfers to and from Kasane International Airport 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.
Arrival & departure procedure
- On arrival, your first priority is to make sure you get your passport stamped at the airport
- You’ll then be met by a representative at the airport who will help with your luggage and transfer you to the Kasane Immigration Office (KIO) in an air-conditioned vehicle
- Once you arrive at KIO, a Zambezi Queen Collection staff member will meet you and help with your luggage as well as formalities at passport control as you exit Botswana
- A Zambezi Queen Collection staff member will then transfer you by motorised boat to the Namibian Immigration Office, where you’ll get your passport stamped. Please wear comfortable shoes, a hat and sunscreen as there is a short walk to the immigration office
- Both Kasane and Namibian immigration offices open at 07h30 and close at 16h30 daily
- Should you know beforehand that you will arrive at KIO before 13h00 on the day of your arrival, please notify our reservations office 48 hours before you arrive
- Collection is from 13h00 on day of arrival
- Drop off is at 10h00 on day of departure
Arrival & departure times
- Check- in time is between 13h00 and 16h00
- Kasane Immigration Office closes at 16h30 and guests are advised to arrive no later than 16h00
- Guests arriving before 13h00 on arrival can make use of the facilities of a nearby lodge in Kasane until check-in at 13h00
- Check-out time is 09h30 to ensure guests get to the Kasane Immigration Office by 10h00
- Kasane Immigration Office opens at 07h30
- Guests departing after 10h30 can make use of the facilities of a nearby lodge in Kasane after check-out
While on board the Zambezi Queen or one of the three Chobe Princesses, you’ll travel along the Chobe River, just a few kilometres from the point where the four African countries of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet. While you won’t travel enormous distances, your surroundings are rich with bird and wildlife, which means you’ll see an incredible amount while moving at a relaxing pace that’s perfectly suited to the rhythms of the African bush.
Because the Chobe Princesses are smaller vessels, they traverse about 50km of the Chobe River, as opposed to the Zambezi Queen, which traverses a shorter distance of about 25 kilometres. This doesn’t mean that either one is a better or worse game viewing experience – it’s just that the pace at which you move is different. Each day, you’ll stop at different mooring spots in the afternoon where you’ll stay for the night.
While you’ll be able to view most sightings from the comfort of the boats, both the Zambezi Queen and the Chobe Princesses are equipped with tender boats, which are smaller boats that let you get even closer to the wildlife. So, for example, if there’s a sighting that can’t be accessed by the boats then you can jump onto a tender boat to get nearer the action.
If the wind is stronger than 11 knots, the Zambezi Queen will not sail in the interests of your safety. However, while sailing is weather dependant, we’ll make sure you spend as much time as possible exploring the river and experiencing everything this unique area has to offer. During your stay with us, your itinerary is highly flexible and we’ll do our utmost to accommodate exactly the kind of trip you’re looking for.
Children & families
- The Chobe Princesses accept children of all ages. We can accommodate up to one child under 8 with their parents by putting an extra bed into the parent’s room if necessary
- Zambezi Queen accepts children from age 7 and older accompanied by an adult. Triple suites are available for children sharing with their parents, with a maximum of one child per suite
- If you’re bringing more than one child, you’ll need to book an additional room for every two children that accompany you
- Please note that no separate activities and/or menus are available for children
- Children 16 years and older are subject to adult rates on the Zambezi Queen
- Children 12 years and older are subject to adult rates on the Chobe Princesses
You as the traveller and/or your travel agent are responsible for determining what documentation is required, as well as ensuring any such documentation including passports, visas, medical certificates and unabridged birth certificates are up to date and have been obtained before travel.
Due to constantly changing visa requirements, it is recommended that travellers and or/travel agents contact the appropriate embassy for accurate and up-to-date information. For more information, see the links below:
Visa Requirements for Foreign Travellers to Namibia
Visa Requirements for Foreign Travellers to Botswana
Because our houseboats are situated in a malaria area, we advise that you take malaria prophylactics. Please consult your doctor before travelling for up-to-date medical advice.
Should you make use of a CPAP (a small medical supervising device), the houseboats switch over to an inverter system after 22h00 at night and we connect the CPAP to our inverter system. Please advise at time of booking whether you require medical assistance.
Power & connectivity
Zambezi Queen has three-pronged South African plugs as well as two-pronged European plugs. American adaptors are available on request. The Chobe Princesses have three-pronged South African plugs, so you’ll need to bring your own adaptors if you have foreign plugs on your appliances.
On board the houseboats, there is limited mobile and roaming connection, with no wifi available. However, we see this as the perfect opportunity for you to unplug and be in the moment, while you reconnect with nature and shore up exciting stories to share with your friends once you get back on dry land.
The main electricity supply on all boats within the Zambezi Queen Collection is supplied by generators, which switch off at 22h00. At this time we switch over to our battery powered inverter system for the duration of the night. Once this happens, our cabins lose functionality of the air-conditioning unit, main over-head lights as well as wall socket electricity. You will, however, still have full use of the fan, the bed-side reading lights and emergency lighting in the bathroom.
Special dietary requirements
While we can cater for special dietary requirements, we ask that you specify this when you book – our remote location means that we need a bit of time to source ingredients that may be out of the ordinary. Unfortunately this also means that we’re not able to cater for Halaal and Kosher guests.
On all four houseboats we accept the Namibian Dollar, South African Rand, Botswana Pula and US Dollar. MasterCard and Visa cards are accepted only on the Zambezi Queen. Amex cards are not accepted.
What to pack
- Sun hat
- Swimming costume
- Comfortable shoes
- Flip flops
- Chargers (camera and mobile)
- Loose comfortable clothing
- Insect repellent
- Hairdryers (available on request on the Chobe Princesses)
- Electronic safe
- Bathroom amenities: Soap, Shampoo, Shower Gel, Body Lotion
Our dress code is casual, so formal attire isn’t necessary for evening dinner. We recommend light and comfortable clothing in summer, with a hat readily at hand. In winter, you’ll need a pullover for early mornings and evenings.
Gratuities are at your own discretion, but our guideline is R150 per person per day. You can add gratuities onto your bill and settle by credit card on Zambezi Queen only. Electronic transactions are charged in Botswana Pula.
Due to the nature and construction of our houseboats, they are unfortunately not suitable for guests with mobility impairments or who are wheelchair bound.
Water on board
Water on board our houseboats is safe to shower in and brush your teeth, but we suggest that you rather drink the purified water that we provide.
Responsibility towards the environment forms the foundation upon which the boats in the Zambezi Queen Collection were built:
- We run the latest, most fuel efficient and lowest emission generators during the day. After 22h00, the entire boat switches over to the battery power through the night
- Hot water is provided by a solar heating system on-board the vessel
- Energy-saving lights are installed through the vessel
- We use an on-board sewage processing plant through Eco Tabs. These are purification tablets that purify wastewater before it is pumped back into the river. Unlike liquid water treatments, all the ingredients in the tablets are environmentally safe and don’t require any special permission to meet effluent or pre-treatment requirements. Eco Tabs work by falling to the bottom of the sewerage tank and dissolving slowly, releasing sodium carbonate peroxydate, a solid form of hydrogen peroxide in order to detoxify the water
- All our cleaning detergents and amenities are biodegradable
- We use an eight-stage river water purification plant for water in showers, taps and our pool
- A water jet propulsion system replaces the conventional propeller system causing no damage to the riverbed and/or fauna and flora
- As part of our commitment to preserving our surroundings, we aim to leave no lasting footprint on the environment in which we operate
The Wilderness Foundation
We employ local Namibian staff and are committed to continuous training to empower them to better their own circumstances as well as those of their families and local community. The Zambezi Queen Collection is part of the Wilderness Foundation that supports community projects throughout Africa as well as anti-poaching programs. We are involved in several programs to uplift our local community.
Please do not hesitate to ask us about these programs and the opportunity to assist with sponsorships.
Programs include: University scholarship funding, supplying medical equipment, supplying stationery, local community transport, training in useful skills to improve knowledge and increase employment possibilities.