Cruise the magnificent waterways of wild Africa
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t combine the thrill of an African safari with the excitement and luxury of a cruise! In fact, a cruise is the only way to truly explore some of Southern Africa’s most legendary rivers and lakes.
Let’s have a look at a few of the leading safari cruise options taking in the magnificent Chobe River that forms a natural boundary between Botswana and Namibia, and Zimbabwe’s superlative Lake Kariba, where the dammed waters of the mighty Zambezi have formed the world’s largest man‐made body of water…
Zambezi Queen and the Chobe Princesses
This fleet of floating boutique hotels offers a chance to sit back, relax and let life pass by as you gently cruise the waters of the Chobe River, going out on exciting morning and afternoon river safaris on smaller tender boats to see the incredible wildlife and bird species that make this part of Africa so spectacular.
The Zambezi Queen is the largest of the fleet, offering 14 luxuriously appointed suites and a wide range of onboard facilities. The 10 standard suites and four spacious master suites all have their own decks where you can sit and watch the action unfold.
The upper deck is home to an expansive, plush lounge area, dining room, and bar as well as a lovely outdoor deck where you’ll find sun loungers and a small plunge pool that’s the perfect place for afternoon cocktails on a hot day!
Each of the three Chobe Princesses is smaller than their “mothership” ‐ two have just four gorgeous cabins apiece, while the third has five cabins. With beautiful big windows that slide completely open to allow uninterrupted views of the Chobe River and its wildlife‐filled banks as you gently pass by, the cabins are all beautifully decorated and have their own en‐suite facilities.
Offering a more intimate cruise option, the Chobe Princesses are also perfect for small groups of friends and family traveling together and can be booked out on an exclusive use basis.
This luxurious houseboat cruises the Chobe River on the Namibian side of the border between Namibia and Botswana and is accessed from Kasane in Botswana, with a tender boat service guiding you through immigration formalities before boarding.
With five gorgeous en‐suite cabins and a spacious lounge and dining area as well as a stunning viewing deck, the Pangolin Voyager also has incredible tender boats that have been custom designed for keen photographers, with chairs that swivel through 360 degrees and specialized camera mounts on gimbles that offer an outstanding platform from which to take incredible wildlife shots during morning and afternoon river safaris.
You don’t have to be a pro photographer to appreciate the Pangolin Voyager or the amazing photographic workshops it offers ‐ even a rank amateur with a cellphone will enjoy the tutoring and mentoring and the chance to get up close and personal with the incredible wildlife of the Chobe River system.
You also get to visit one of the local villages along the river and experience traditional African life and culture during your cruise, learning more about the people who depend on the Chobe for their livelihood and way of life.
Exploring the incredible, 5,400 square kilometers of Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe is made effortlessly easy in the beautiful motorized safari cruiser Matusadona which has been purposely designed and custom‐built to offer a superlative safari cruise experience for a maximum of just six guests, making it ideal for family groups and couples traveling together.
Accessed from the Zimbabwean side of Kariba at Bumi Hills, the Matusadona has three decks:
The Cabin (lower) Deck is home to three exceptional en‐suite cabins, all offering queen‐size beds, as well as a fourth, single en‐suite cabin for the on‐board manager/host.
The Saloon (middle) Deck is where you’ll find the gourmet galley with full laundry facilities as well as the wheelhouse, al‐fresco breakfast area and indoor saloon with its dining area and coffee station, business desk and gorgeous lounge.
The Palm (upper) Deck is a spacious open‐plan outdoor entertainment area with 360‐degree views of Lake Kariba. Two lounge areas, a dining area, bar, sundeck and open‐air Jacuzzi ensure you get the very best experience as you cruise the waters of this incredible man‐made lake which captures the waters of the Zambezi River before releasing them below the Kariba Dam.
The only motor cruiser of its kind on Kariba, the 28,6m long Matusadona comes with its own speed boat, tender boat, and game viewing pontoon for safari excursions and tiger fishing expeditions. Cruises take in different, areas of the lake, using secluded mooring spots each night. The Matusadona National Park is the main attraction, as is the Sanyati Gorge with its idyllic waterfalls.
The wildlife is spectacular, with huge herds of elephants seen along the lakeshore as well as lions and general plains game. The birdlife is also prolific and the fishing is amazing!
Whereas it may not be a classic cruise on the high seas or along Europe’s waterways, we think cruising in Africa has the unique advantage of being able to be included in an itinerary that can be combined with fully inclusive luxury accommodation at a safari lodge or… how about a luxury rail journey on Rovos Rail.
There are many ways that we can include a cruising experience in your Africa trip.