The Chobe River meets the Zambezi River at a unique point in Africa, it is the meeting point of four countries and the very heart of the region that recently we refer to as Zambesia ( a region of countries that make up the Zambezi River basin in Southern Africa ) The four countries that meet here are Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.
It is a 75km drive to this point from Victoria Falls and it has become a major staging place for tourists. The wildlife experiences here are some of the best in Africa. With its proximity to the Falls the Chobe river frontage which is shared between Botswana and Namibia has seen major accommodation development in recent times with safari lodges and smaller boutique camps and lodges.
The majority of these lodges and hotels are on the Botswana side of the river as the Chobe National Park is the real home to the bulk of the wildlife on view. The game viewing is done from both 4 x 4 vehicles within the Chobe National Park and Game viewing boats from the river. In Botswana the two can be done from your lodge but when staying in Namibia you are required to cross over into Botswana, clearing immigration, to enjoy a game drive. You have the freedom however to game view by boat without crossing into Botswana.
The result of this has seen an increase in House Boats being launched on the Chobe river by Namibian operators to maximize the benefit of being on the river amongst this amazing wildlife. The most successful of these boats has been the Zambezi Queen. A beautiful ship, the Zambezi Queen can carry up to 28 passengers in 14 delightful suites. It has been nearly fully booked since it floated some six years back.
Recently the Zambezi Queen company took over the management of three other Houseboats and these three boats are known as the Zambezi Princesses. One of them has five cabins and the other two have four cabins. Although the cabins are not quite as plush as those on the Zambezi Queen they are all ensuite and the amenities on board each of these boats are top class. Again these three boats have seen an increase in bookings in the last two years.
At this time only one other house boat also cruises the Chobe river and this is the Pangolin Voyager. This is run privately by Pangolin Safaris and is closely linked to their professional Photography Tourism business that the company operates on the river. This boat has five cabins and is also a very comfortable option and has the added ability to travel up the Kasai channel that links the two rivers and spend time on the Zambezi river as well.
New House Boat
A new “ship” is due to join these house boats, to be launched in December 2017, the boat is part of an investment into the area by a large European Riverboat Operator called CroisiEurope, an international river cruise company. CriosiEurope operates a fleet of river cruising vessels along the rivers of Europe, Russia, Mekong, Birmania, Africa, South America and United States
The new African Dream, currently under construction, will have eight deluxe suites each with a view of the river. Like the Pangolin Voyager it will have the ability to travel further than most of the Chobe Houseboats linking the two rivers using the Kasai Channel. According to the operator the boat will be booked as a package including three nights on the boat in combination with a three night stay in one of the lodges on the Nambian side of the river.
House Boats on the Chobe at a Glance –
Zambezi Queen Collection –
- Zambezi Queen – 14 Suites
- Zambezi Princess x 2 – 4 Cabins each
- Zambezi Princess x 1 – 5 Cabins
Pangolin Voyager – 5 Cabins http://www.pangolinvoyager.com/
Caprivi Houseboats – Offers a selection of small House boats from Katima Mulilo that can travel on the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers – http://www.zambezisafaris.com/