From : Forbes.com
By : Lisa Loverro, Contributor
An estimated 120,000 elephants call Botswana’s Chobe National Park home, one of the largest concentration of elephants in the world. With numbers like this, the odds are high that you’ll be viewing large numbers of these magnificent creatures while cruising on the just as magnificent Zambezi Queen; a modern and chic luxury riverboat which also calls Chobe home. The Chobe River, running between Botswana and Namibia in southern Africa, serves as the primary source of water for all game in this region and it’s for this reason a river-based safari outweighs a land-based safari while visiting the area.
A Herd Of Elephants Enjoy A Midday Drink Along The Chobe River
The Zambezi Queen’s positioning along the river allows for panoramic views of both Botswana and Namibia; and it’s this positioning that also allows for a bit of adventure to access the riverboat. I quite enjoyed checking into Botswana, then out of Botswana, then into Namibia (all in a matter of 30 minutes) to arrive at my final destination. Upon boarding this floating hotel, the local Namibian staff greeted me with a welcome song, along with friendly smiles and a genuine warmth. The contemporary furnishings onboard the Zambezi Queen are mixed together with bold photographs of classic African wildlife, making for a cozy, African atmosphere. The third level deck serves as the dining and lounge area offering unobstructed views of the surrounding landscape. There’s a small pool and lounge chairs on this deck as well; which became my favorite spot to view the night sky. The second and third levels house 14 well- maintained and spacious cabins, all with a private balcony.
The Third Level Lounge Area On The Zambezi Queen
For a photographer’s dream come true, there’s a smaller motor boat for even closer elephant and hippo viewing, and excursions are offered into Chobe National Park for land-based drives. The eco-friendly Zambezi Queen does not offer air conditioning in its cabins so best to avoid their summer months when planning a trip; I visited in May (their Fall season) and had beautifully cool nights and sunny, hot days.
While I entered through Zambia, there are a number of ways to access the boat that can be viewed here. Rates include all meals including soft drinks, local beer and wine and land excursions. Be prepared to collect a multitude of passport stamps; so be sure to have a few blank pages available. While some may find checking in and out of countries bothersome, especially when going on game drive excursions, I quite enjoyed all the stamping and thought of it as additional passport bragging rights upon my return.