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Boat / Yacht / Yacht Club
A luxury African river safari : Chobe River, Namibia, Africa
Katie David Bush
by Katie David Bush
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Zambezi Queen

Zambezi Queen, Westlake Drive, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

The Report

"Sailing down the Chobe is like being part of an epic movie with nature as the star", reports one of the guests who experienced the magic of this boutique boat and floating venue. The journey to the Zambezi Queen, moored serenely on the banks of the Chobe River in Namibia, evokes a bit of Jules Verne’s epic travel tome “Around the World in 80 Days.” Technological innovation including the advent of steam travel allowed dashing English gent Phineas Fogg, the unheard of ability to possibly circumnavigate the globe in a scant 80 days. Can you imagine asking for 80 days of PTO for a little rest and relaxation? In our day and age, of course, we can reach the other side of the world in mere hours. While utterly miraculous as far as rendering the world a more intimate place, it removed a bit of the undercurrent of courage many of our predecessors needed in order to simply embark on their journey. The valor needed to carve swarthy paths through uncharted waters is left mostly to the professional adventurers and daredevils while we nourish our spirits with their awesome exploits on YouTube. And for the most part, that’s just fine with us. You have to want to go. Africa needs to call to some base part of you that cannot be sated anywhere else. The journey to the Zambezi Queen, requires multiple plane changes, automobiles and potentially a small boat. Yet, therein the journey lies the magic. Every moment spent in travel is worth it’s weight in gold upon arrival to your final destination.

Unlike a land-based lodge, the Zambezi Queen allows for an entire stretch of river to be explored from a vantage point making for incredible game viewing. And rightly so, as the banks of the Chobe National Park boast one of the densest populations of elephant on the African continent – currently estimated at approximately 120 000. The Park is also home to a large number of buffalo, leopards, lions along with a variety of antelope and abundant birdlife. OH MY. The jewel of the Chobe River shines bright in the afternoon sun. The bright white exterior catching and reflecting the sunlight much like the great expanse of a white sand beach. Imagine floating down sparkling, sunlit African waters, docking on the serene beaches of the most beautiful countries along the coast, and then ending the day in your luxurious 5-star suite. Throw in world class dining, spa-side cocktails, a candlelit massage, and you can only be on the Zambezi Queen. The experience of stepping out onto your suite’s private balcony as the Chobe River rushes directly below your feet is unmatched anywhere else in the world.

HOW WILL MY GUESTS GET HERE?: The nearest access point for the Zambezi Queen is Kasane. There are flights from Johannesburg to Kasane daily.

CELEBRATION CAPACITY: 28
ACCOMMODATIONS: 14 suites
HIGH SEASON:
FOOD SERVICE: Provided by Venue
BAR SERVICE: Provided by Venue
VIEWS: Wildlife + sparkling Chobe River
ESTABLISHED IN: 2008
VENUE SPACES: Boat + River Banks
DECOR: Safari Luxe

THE SCOOP

The Zambezi Queen has been a floating venue to many events and birthday parties in the past, the crew will even get your guests excitedly riled up with traditional music and dance! Not only is the Zambezi Queen available for intimate weddings, the ZQ team will provide a completely bespoke option to hold the celebration or retreat of your dreams at a variety of locations along the banks of the Chobe River. Expect a few of the local wildlife as the ultimate wedding crashers.  Host a traditional BOMA dinner evening on the river banks with views of the Chobe Wildlife Preserve, stunning African vistas and sunsets glinting off the sparkling Chobe River.

Your guests will be treated to more than a singular event experience. They will embark on an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience in one of the most remote locations on earth. With only 14 suites, the ZQ is as unique and adventurous as it is comfortable and elegant. In fact, it is unsurpassed in all aspects and the last word in Luxury African River Safaris. Whether dining on the upper deck restaurant while watching the animals gather at dusk, doing a water-based river safari from one of the ZQ’s private boats, or attempting to land your first tiger fish, the ZQ’s professional team will be on hand to meet your every need with plenty of activities to keep even the most adventurous of guests entertained. PILLOW TALK: Each of the 14 air-conditioned suites complete with private, en-suite bathrooms on the Zambezi Queen will delight your guests as they feature a private balcony, offering unobstructed views of the river and vistas. Sip champagne from high-thread count sheets while observing some of the most pristine vistas and stunning settings in all of Africa.

WHAT WILL MY GUESTS EAT?: There is an on-ship restaurant that will cater to your every culinary need. A stay on-board the Zambezi Queen includes three meals daily – a full English breakfast in the morning, buffet lunch and either a buffet or a la carte menu for dinner. The kitchen staff are all locally trained Namibians and proud to display their skills; it shines through in every plate served.

RATES: Prices start around $1,262 USD, per person in low season. This includes everything including food and drinks for 3 nights! (There are lower priced options for a two night cruise.)

Perfect for:

  • birthday party
  • corporate event
  • group getaway
  • wedding ceremony
  • wedding reception
  • Reunion

BONUS

Enjoy every single element of a standard safari… but better. The Zambezi Queen offers Wildlife drives, Fishing, bird-watching and interaction with local villages. The design and decor of this boutique boat? It's not your typical cheesy theme park style accommodations, typically associated with cruises. Celebrated South African fashion designer Jenni Button lent a hand in the classic yet contemporary interior with understated muted tones. Cleverly, this not only highlights the feeling of space but allows the eye to be drawn to the constant movement of the wildlife on the banks of the river.

STYLE FOR YOUR SETTING

With the help of the exquisite Zambezi Queen team, styling your luxe, intimate wedding here or on the banks of the Chobe will be a snap.With softly draping white tents or a string of white lights strung along the Zambezi Queen’s deck, the stunning African vistas either at night or in the afternoon create the perfect setting for embarking upon the greatest adventure of your lives. In this case, simplity and eco-chic are key. Sweet, subtle details will add to the overall ambiance of the event, but not overwhelm it.

1. Save The Date! Send leather luggage tags with gold accents. Engrave your guests names on the luggage tags to use as they embark upon their adventure, with your wedding date and coordinates of your event location. We love these from etsy seller Simple Fraction   2. African Sunset Palette: In lieu of over-the-stop animal or wildlife themes, try evoking a bit of Hemingway’s Africa. Minus the big-game hunting of course. Vintage accents, such as old globes, steamer trunks, typewriters and compasses will provide the feel of a time long-forgotten. Print menus on the pages of old travel journals for a final touch. Photo: Caroline Tran // Design: Utterly Engaged   3. The Dress: A crisp-white button down with a dramatic with a dramatic ruffled skirt and train is very Out of Africa - equal parts function and fantasy. Think Keira Knightly’s Vogue 2007 cover story.

INSIDE SCOOP

Choose from 2, 3 or 4 day cruises - included in your overnight rate, you’ll get three meals per day, all scheduled activities AND selected wine, beers, ciders and soft drinks. Transfers to and from the Zambezi Queen from Kasana, Botswana are also included. You can also sit on the Queens deck with your binoculars and indulge in homemade desserts with afternoon coffee served by the crew.. OR lounge on the deck in a lounge chair and sip champagne and cocktails while watching shades of pink wash the river from the glow of the unbeatable African sunset.

HIGHLIGHT REEL

  • There is nothing more magical than treating guests to a luxury African river safari.
  • The boat was designed by celebrated South African fashion designer Jenni Button
  • Unlike a land-based lodge, the ZQ allows for an entire stretch of river to be explored from a vantage point making for incredible game viewing.
  • Chobe National Park boasts one of the densest populations of elephant on the African continent – estimated at 120 000.
  • Your fee includes your meals and drinks!

AROUND TOWN

One of The Seven Wonders of the World:

Most of the folks you’ll run into “around town” are of the four-legged variety. But 90 minutes from the Zambezi Queen port is Victoria Falls, the worlds largest waterfall and one of the seven wonders of the world. Known as the greatest curtain of falling water in the world, columns of spray can be seen from miles away! Visit: zambiatourism.com Photo: Marek Patzer

Up Close & Personal with Wildlife!:

Late afternoon, depart the Zambezi Queen and hop on a tender boat to go in search of some big game. This is the perfect time of day to make the most of that golden glow of the African sunset by getting some iconic shots of the animals as they gravitate towards the river before night falls.

Go Glamping!:

You must travel through Kasane to board the luxury boat, this small village is the meeting point of four countries - Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia, which has led to rapid expansion in recent years. Stay the night for a few days before or after your cruise in luxury tents at Elephant Valley Lodge. Visit: evlodge.com

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