Zambezi Queen

Cruise In Style: African Luxury Onboard the Zambezi Queen

Having undergone a nip and a tuck, the Zambezi Queen upon the Chobe river offers adventure seekers a slice of African inspired luxury on one of continents incredible waterways, filled with wildlife sightings, sunrises and sunsets, like only Africa can.


  • The Zambezi Queen Collection comprises of a fleet of houseboats, operating on the Chobe River, within the wildlife rich Chobe National Park.
  • With fantastic game viewing, fishing and birding experiences, a cruise down the Chobe River on the Zambezi Queen is one to be remembered.
  • The floating boutique hotel has undergone a refurbishment of late, bringing a fresh new contemporary African feel to the surroundings onboard.
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Southern Africa has many natural splendours to offer nature hungry travelers, but there is nothing quite like becoming one with the Chobe river, nestled between Namibia and Botswana, turning this body of water into a magical Safari voyage on a truly luxurious vessel – The Zambezi Queen.


Crossing over from the majestic Zambezi River in Zambia, to Botwana and then onwards to Namibia, The Sandton Times set out to experience the Chobe River and an African river cruise, getting a first-hand feel of what guests can expect – and it’s nothing short of magical!


Zambezi Queen
There’s one thing living near some of Africa’s mighty rivers and then there is experiencing life on the actual river itself. Image: The Sandton Times

The Zambezi Queen has long been synonymous with luxury and exclusivity, offering travelers a unique and unforgettable experience on the Chobe River, which flows along the northeast edge of Botswana’s Chobe National Park. In a surreal experience, not only does this voyage take guests a short distance away from the corner where Botswana, Zambia, Namibia and Zimbabwe meet, but the Zambezi Queen itself floats between Namibia and Botswana on the Chobe River, showcasing all this region has to offer.


All along the way, wildlife from both countries initiate a show, which is unmatched and would be hard to view from a vehicle on land. Imagine herds of Elephants crossing between countries, trunk out of the water like deep sea snorkelers, or even a vast bloat of Hippos monitoring the river activity, with only their tiny ears and eyes visible.


Zambezi Queen
Head out for some bird watching or a wildlife safari on a private speedboat, enjoying all the animals the Chobe River has to offer, up close. Image: The Sandton Times

Crossing multiple borders on route to the Zambezi Queen, guests are collected by speedboat and taken on a heart racing trip to meet the water hotel on her cruise up the Chobe River, at one of the mooring points on route. Don’t be surprised if a large herd of elephant, taking an afternoon splash in the river, provide an extraordinary detour and bring an on-time check-in to a halt along the river bank.


Suddenly lunch might not be such a priority after-all. Luckily, the Zambezi Queen provides a great amount of opportunities to head out onto the water, turning the Chobe River into a massive safari park, where some of the most amazing animal sightings are only to be expected!


Zambezi Queen
An unexpected stop on route to boarding the Zambezi Queen! A herd of Elephant make the best of a hot day with a quick dip and a bite to eat on the river banks. Image: The Sandton Times

It feels a bit like a glamorous scene from a James Bond movie, as the speedboat marries with the mothership and the Zambezi Queen team, welcome you onboard with a ‘we’ve been expecting you’ refresher towel and reception ceremony on the ready. The Zambezi Queen is a luxurious 42-meter long houseboat that travels along the banks of the Chobe River navigating up to 25km of the river.


Now, the flagship vessel, the Zambezi Queen, has undergone a remarkable transformation, emerging with a stunning new look that is sure to captivate the hearts of discerning travelers.


Zambezi Queen
The refreshed Zambezi Queen rooms have all the essentials and more, with a touch of contemporary African luxury. Image: The Sandton Times

The extensive refurbishment, which spanned 6 weeks, focused on every detail of the interior and exterior of the luxury houseboat. The result is a breath-taking blend of elegance, comfort, and contemporary design that surpasses even the highest expectations, for a floating boutique hotel in the wild.

We’ve loved choosing everything from paint swatches to ottomans. And everything has been selected with our guests in mind, making sure their comfort and experience is front and centre.

// General Manager: Sales & Marketing for the Zambezi Queen Collection, Kate Powell


Zambezi Queen
A tower of giraffe enjoying the river banks of the Chobe River – just one of the many wildlife sightings that make an African boat cruise so spectacular. Image: The Sandton Times

Upon stepping onto the upper deck, guests are immediately immersed in a serene atmosphere adorned with a natural, earthy palette and plenty of space to refresh. Creams, greys, greens, and taupe hues harmonize flawlessly with a variety of textures, including natural wood, leather, linen, and wicker providing a contemporary African feel. The bar, lounge, and dining area exude a new, organic feel, creating an inviting space where guests can unwind and indulge in the beauty of their surroundings.


For those seeking a moment of tranquility, a newly revamped library section awaits. Guests can curl up with a captivating book or utilize the onboard binoculars to observe the abundant wildlife on the not too distant shore.


Zambezi Queen
Venture outside, you’ll discover the upgraded outdoor furniture, while basking in the breath-taking views from the bow of the boat, fitted with its very own plunge pool. Image: The Sandton Times

One of the highlights of the Zambezi Queen is undoubtedly its close relationship with the river. Large windows adorn the vessel, providing panoramic views of the Chobe River and the adjacent national park.


Zambezi Queen
Don’t be surprised if you get caught up in an hour long stare – it’s probably one of the best, high-definition African safari tele-vision’s you will get to experience! Image: The Sandton Times

The boat’s spacious design allows natural light to flood the interiors, blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces and creating an idyllic and seamless living experience. Top that with a cappuccino our afternoon sundowner, and you’re living the bush safari dream!


The vessel offers 14 meticulously crafted accommodation suites, each thoughtfully designed to embody the same principles of simplicity and elegance. Clean lines, neutral color palettes, and carefully selected furnishings create an ambiance of understated sophistication. With no clutter to distract from the spectacular view, those cruising with the Zambezi Queen can fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty that lies just beyond their king-size beds or private balconies.

Each suite has been updated with new carpets, wardrobes, headboards, bedside tables and sconces, as well as gorgeous throws, pillows and linen.

// General Manager: Sales & Marketing for the Zambezi Queen Collection, Kate Powell


Zambezi Queen
The refurbished dining space onboard the Zambezi Queen serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, both plated and buffet style. Image: The Sandton Times

Attention to detail is evident throughout the entire refurbishment process, with a focus on supporting Southern African artisans and suppliers. Celebrated artist Denby Meyer’s artwork adorns the walls, while fabrics from the Ardmore African-Inspired Luxury Fabric Collection have been carefully chosen to enhance the overall aesthetic. These hand-drawn designs add a touch of uniqueness and authenticity to the onboard experience, further immersing guests in the vibrant culture of the region. The bathrooms also feature the divine Healing Earth range of soaps, shampoo and body wash!

The new-look Zambezi Queen feels at once comfortable, welcoming and luxurious. Of course, we wanted to achieve something in keeping with the Chobe’s extraordinary surroundings – and our guests’ expectations. We worked closely with Mi Designs and are extremely proud of the final result.

// General Manager: Sales & Marketing for the Zambezi Queen Collection, Kate Powell


Zambezi Queen
Moving from country to country, without limits, an African elephant crosses the river like a submarine. Image: The Sandton Times

As the sun sets on the Zambezi Queen, a new cocktail lounge area at the stern promises delectable snacks, refreshing sundowners, and mixtures to quench even the hottest Chobe days.


Zambezi Queen
Indulging in a lazy cruise on these tranquil waters is an experience that truly epitomizes African luxury. Image: The Sandton Times

The Zambezi Queen Collection by Mantis has succeeded in transforming their flagship vessel into a haven of sophistication and elegance. With its unparalleled attention to detail, breath-taking views, and commitment to supporting local artisans, the Zambezi Queen offers travelers a remarkable journey through nature in a luxurious environment that will leave them with unforgettable memories.


Embarking on this exceptional voyage is an invitation to immerse yourself in the beauty and tranquility of the Chobe River while enjoying the highest standards of comfort and service.


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Sandton Times Correspondent

Curated content from The Sandton Times newsroom desks.


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