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. If you have any other questions, send us an email or call us and we’ll help you as best we can.
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”.
During your stay with the Zambezi Queen Collection, you’ll be able to observe animals in their natural environment from a tender boat, making for a relaxing safari experience. A major attraction 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.
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.
The properties that make up the Zambezi Queen Collection are based 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 vehicle. Please advise at time of booking whether you require secure parking.
There are four main access points by air*:
*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 as well as 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.
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.
Single travellers are welcome at all properties in the Zambezi Queen Collection. A single supplement of 30% is applicable to rooms occupied by one adult and is limited to availability per departure.
The Namibian Government require all visitors to Namibia to have at least six full blank pages in their passports on arrival into the country and require that the passport be valid for at least six months beyond the intended departure date from Namibia. Proof of onward travel documents are also required.
Minors younger than 18 years traveling to Namibia must have an unabridged birth certificate. In addition, when traveling:
– With an adult who is not their biological parent: an affidavit from their parents giving consent for the minor to travel with the adult is required.
– With an adult other than a parent/legal guardian: copies of their legal guardians/parents’ passports or documents of identity are required. Contact details of the parents/legal guardians should also be provided.
– With a parent: an affidavit from the other parent giving consent for the minor to travel is required. A death certificate should be provided if one parent is deceased.
– Unaccompanied: an affidavit from their parents/legal guardians consenting their travel, a letter containing the contact details and residential information of the person who will receive the minor passenger, a copy of the identity document, valid passport or permanent residence permit of the person who will receive the minor passenger, and the contact details of the minor’s parents/legal guardians are required.
Please note that 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 medical certificates, passports, visas, unabridged birth certificates are up to date and have been obtained before travel within the restrictions related to each country. Due to constantly changing border entry requirements, it is recommended that travellers and or/travel agents contact the appropriate embassy for accurate and up-to-date information.
Pre-arrival and departure COVID requirements:
To enter/exit Botswana or Namibia, travellers are no longer required to produce a negative PCR test result or present a valid vaccination card at Port of Entry.
Travel insurance is a requirement for all guests and must be purchased prior to travel. Travel insurance must be comprehensive and cover full air evacuation and repatriation, in the unlikely event of an emergency.
Because our properties 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.
Zambezi Queen and Ichingo Chobe River Lodge have 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. Wifi is available intermittently on the Zambezi Queen and at the bar/dining room at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge. Wifi is not available on the Chobe Princess houseboats 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 houseboats within the Zambezi Queen Collection is supplied by generators. The Zambezi Queen switches over to land generators at 20h00 and the Chobe Princesses at 22h00 and both switch back onto generators at 06h00. Everything functions as per usual. In case of a generator failure, there is an inverter emergency power supply that will supply power to all lights, air-conditioning and select plugs in cabins.
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 on-site for Halaal and Kosher guests but can arrange for meals to be pre-ordered given advance warning.
We accept the Namibian Dollar, South African Rand, Botswana Pula and US Dollar. MasterCard and Visa cards are accepted but Amex cards are not accepted.
Please take note if you are planning to bring a drone:
Drones are banned for use within 5 nautical miles of Namibian national parks unless you have permission to do so. The Zambezi Queen Collection does not permit the use of drones due to our proximity to the Chobe National Park. Drone laws are constantly changing therefore we advise you check with the relevant aviation authority to ensure you are up to date on the latest drone laws prior to your trip.
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 and payable at the end of your stay. We recommend a gratuity of US$10 to US$15 per guest per day. Management will ensure that any gratuity payments are appropriately distributed amongst the team. You can settle by Visa or Mastercard on-board the Zambezi Queen or at the Ichingo Chobe River Lodge only or payable in ZAR or USD cash. The Chobe Princesses do not have card facilities. Please note electronic transactions are charged in Botswana Pula.
Due to the nature and construction of our houseboats as well as the remoteness of our lodge, our properties are unfortunately not suitable for guests with mobility impairments or who are wheelchair bound.
Water on board our houseboats and at our lodge 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:
The Zambezi Queen Collection is part of the Community Conservation Fund Africa (CCFA) a registered non-profit company and is both a fundraising and grant-giving organization, active in educating and empowering local communities to help themselves by implementing sustainable wildlife management systems.
Guests who visit the Zambezi Queen Collection which forms part of the Mantis Collection of hotels, eco-escapes and waterways play an important role in supporting conservation-led travel and hospitality.
You’ll find links to useful information such as fact sheets and high res images which can be used in your own marketing collateral here.