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Cruise Ship Information
The beautiful Zambezi Queen was specifically designed for safari river cruising on the Chobe River and offers a sophisticated design to maximize animal sightings.
 
With a design specific for safari river cruising on the Chobe River, the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen (2009) offers a sophisticated onboard experience designed to maximize animal sightings. Your comfort is ensured when staying in any of the 14 balcony staterooms (which range up to 300 sq. ft), all decorated in contemporary style. The air-conditioned top deck of the ship offers a dining room, lounge, bar and pool area for your comfort. Enjoy game watching from your stateroom, or visit the top deck for a beverage, sun bathing and more game watching. Peruse the library of books, enjoy a board game and explore the riverbanks of the Chobe River on the Zambezi Queen.
 
Zambezi Queen is owned and operated by The Mantis Group, which has hotels and eco-lodges worldwide. The boat is also featured by luxury river cruise line AmaWaterways, which sells four nights onboard as part of extended Africa packages. The vessel itself is stunning, all done up in tasteful neutrals with African artwork, zebra rugs and faux (of course)-leopardskin cushions. Service is exceptional, the food is superb and there is an open bar serving quality South African wines.
 
Atmosphere on board
Built in the early 1990s, the Zambezi Queen was created to carry its guests on an extended journey from Katima Mulilo down the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers and back. The sheer size of the vessel made navigating difficult and shortly after that, the Zambezi Queen ended up moored along the river bank where it acted as a floating hotel to visitors to the Caprivi
 
Region of Namibia.
Around 2008, two entrepreneurs saw the potential of restoring the boat to its former glory. A period of intensive re-designing and planning ensued. A third deck was added, giving the ZQ its imposing iconic look now famed worldwide
 
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.
 
Once the champagne bottle had smashed against the hull of the elegant new ZQ, it took to the waters again – only this time languidly making its way along the banks of the Chobe National Park, famed for its prolific wildlife.
 
Family with Kids/Teens
AmaWaterways cruises are primarily designed for the adult traveler. Children are allowed; however, there are no child-specific programs or child-minding facilities.
Minimum age to sail on AmaWaterways children from ages 7 upwards. Triple rooms are available for kids sharing with their parents (Max 1 child per suite)
 
Past Passenger Programs
Please check with cruise line directly:
Blue Members: Qualify on your 2nd Cruise! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
 
Silver MembersSilver Members: Qualify on your 3rd Cruise! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Dinner with a senior crew member
A delightful welcome amenity
Complimentary coach transfer to and from the airport
A 50% discount on a one-category stateroom upgrade (excluding suites)
 
Gold MembersGold Members: Qualify on your 4th Cruise & Onward! Benefits include:
An exclusive $100 per person savings on the cruise price
A private AmaWaterways guest reception on board
Dinner with a senior crew member
A delightful welcome amenity
Complimentary coach transfer to and from the airport
A complimentary one-category stateroom upgrade (excluding suites)
 
Fitness And Spa
AmaDante's gym, with a handful of machines (treadmill, Technogym weight machine and two stationary bikes), is thoughtfully equipped, complete with television screens for entertainment. Water is provided. The ship also offers salon services, such as massages and hairstyling. There's also a walking track on the Sun Deck.
 
One of AmaDante's highlights is its fleet of two dozen bicycles. These are free to use in port; towpaths run alongside the Danube offering generally flat terrain.
One of the ship's most interesting features is its small pool; it's not big enough for "real" swimming, but it's a lovely place to cool off on hot days. It's also heated for use on chillier ones.
 
Food & Dining
Apart from the accommodation on-board, three meals daily, all scheduled activities and selected wines, beers, ciders and soft drinks is included in the rate.
 
ZQ Food 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.
 
Scrumptious and mouth-watering, our meals are prepared using only fresh ingredients sourced from the local markets. Breakfast offers a hearty choice of dishes with our oats cooked in cream a popular choice. Buffet lunch offers a delectable choice including healthy options while dinner alternates between a la carte and buffet-style. Where possible, dietary requirements will be accommodated by prior arrangement. Halaal and Kosher meals are regrettably not possible.
 
Zambezi Queen - kitchen staff are all locally trained Namibians and proud to display their skills; it shines through in every plate served.
 
The Zambezi Queen The bar stocks both local and imported spirits, wine and beers. Included in the rate is all locally sourced wines, beers, soft drinks and water.
 
Entertainment
Game Drivers
Botswana’s Chobe is a destination in itself for those looking to experience the thrill of wildlife up close. Capture that sense of adventure with a water-based game drive by tender boat, allowing you to explore nature at its best!
 
Fishing - During season, Tiger and Bream fishing are offered with tackle and bait as well as a stocked cool box to help ensure the wait is worth it.
 
Bird-watching--With such a magnificent array of wildlife, the birdlife is notable too and keen birders will be in their element.
 
Visit a local villages--Experience the gentle nature of rural Africa along the banks of the Chobe by visiting a local village on the Namibian side of the river. Here you can interact with the locals and browse their selection of handmade crafts.

Staterooms
Each suite features air-conditioning and a private balcony, offering unobstructed views of the river and vistas. Enjoy remarkable game viewing from the comfort of your bedside; each cabin has sliding shutters and mosquito screens, and comes with a fan. The whole upper deck lounge/dining area has mosquito screens, too, and is open to river breezes from end to end. At 10pm, the power switches to backup, the main lights go out and you fall asleep to the whirring of your fan, the noises of the African night and the occasional grunt of a hippo. Needless to say, with no lights for miles around, the stargazing is spectacular.
 
The Zambezi Queen offers 14 tastefully furnished Suites, in two superior categories – 10 Standard Suites and 4 Master Suites located on the lower and middle decks. All suites feature magnificent views from floor to ceiling windows. An outer deck allows you to step outside to experience the African breeze.
 
ZQ BathroomEach private space was designed with the African summer in mind and clever use of shutters and air conditioning ensures a cool experience even during times of the year when the temperatures on the Chobe soar. Suites can be configured with either double or two single beds.

Tipping
Africa: Gratuities are not included in the vacation price. The suggested tipping policy onboard is between $65-80 per cabin for the 4-night cruise. Of course, all tips are at the traveler's personal discretion.
 
Fellow Passengers
AmaWaterways generally appeals to well-traveled, 50-plus passengers with a strong interest in culinary arts and active exploration. Geographically, passengers are strongly drawn from North America, but the cruise line attracts a solid representation from the U.K. and Australia, where its partner, APT Touring, also markets the line.
 
Our recommendation
Don’t expect a typical river cruise. The Zambezi Queen only sails a 25km stretch of the Chobe River and potters slowly between the same mid-river moorings all the time. There are no ports of call and no river traffic; there aren’t even any towns here apart from the nearby gateway of Kasane. Once you're out on the river, it's just vast expanses of open space.
 
Chilling Out
You can do a two-night, three-night or four-night itinerary (AmaWaterways passengers do the four-nighter). We'd say three is ideal; Zambezi Queen is so relaxing and the river so beautiful that we could have done with an extra day onboard, just gazing at the scenery, as we were away from the boat on a morning game drive and a separate sunset cruise for most of our middle day. You see elephants, hippos, crocs and birds all the time from the mother ship and we even spotted two leopards coming down to the river to drink.
 
African Time
You have to slow down in Africa and adjust expectations of service, understanding your accent and so on. The 47 Namibian crew on Zambezi Queen have been expertly trained by Vicky Nel, the South African hotel manager and were outstandingly professional, but these are very gentle people with their own particular hierarchy and on or off the boat, you can't speak fast, or get impatient, or bark orders, as you'll draw a blank. It's not as though winding down is difficult, in any case; it's amazing that this level of food, service and accommodation can be achieved in the middle of the African bush.