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“Up the Chobe River .....”

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Ichingo Chobe River Lodge - Zambezi Queen Collection
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 28, 2013

We spent 3 nights from 31 May on the houseboat.

We started in room 3 which has a side view of the river and after day one took the opportunity to move to room 1 at the front of the boat. Room 1 has large windows that give an unrivalled low level view of the river. The room contained a large double bed, limited storage/hanging space plus a compact bathroom with shower. For the time you are likely to spend in the room it is more than adequate.

Upstairs - if that is the right nautical term - there is a large seating area on one side with a long dining table. This area is surrounded by folding doors that allow the breeze during the day. To the front is a further lounging area with a couple of sun loungers and further seating plus a plunge pool. There is a bar area which is well stocked with beers, wines and spirits plus soft drinks.

The rear of the boat at both levels is taken up with the galley and the crew's quarters. We had 4/5 crew looking after 6-8 of us during our stay. The cook served very tasty and filling meals from his small galley.

The real reason however for staying on the Houseboat is that moves sedately up and done the Chobe - one day up and the next down. It takes around 2 hours to complete the trip as the pace is leisurely and stops will be made to try and get up close with the wildlife that lives on its bandk or within the river. The Zambian side of the river is the Chobe National Park whilst all the moorings are on the Namibian side, hence the need to enter Namibia through their passport control before being taken by speedboat to the Houseboat mooring.

In addition to the daily cruise, there are sunrise and sunset outings in the Houseboat's speedboats to view wildlife as well as the opportunity for a visit to a nearby village to meet the local people. We also the opportunity to take a mid-morning cruise that took us into the Zambian channel of the Chobe. There we witnessed the crossing of the channel by a large herd of elephants who were in search of better grazing. This was an amazing sight.

We were surprised at the amount of wildlife that we saw from the boat and during the excursions - large herds of elephants, buffalo, giraffes, hippos, baboons, antelope, crocodiles - of all sizes - birdlife plus on one early morning a lion walking along the ridge above the river.

This was the final leg of a journey that had taken us to see the Victoria Falls along with a 4 night stay in a camp in the Okavanga and it was just right as it was relaxing and very rewarding. We felt that 3 nights was about the right length as you got into the rhythm of the river and life aboard the boat.

The experience passed our acid test as we would be happy to return and would certainly recommend to others. Thank You.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank PeteD60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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236 - 242 of 296 reviews

Reviewed June 16, 2013

Fantastic. All around great room albeit a ship cabin so it's small compared to land based lodges. The meals were fantastic. Shower was very iffy but we reported the problems and found this to be common to the other rooms. Perhaps they will be fixed soon. The perspective of game from the deck of a houseboat is awesome. Additionally, you have your own motor boat per cabin and a guide for game viewing, fishing or whatever. The boats cruise about 4 hours each day along Chobe National Park and then anchor for the night which allows for a quiet nights sleep. We only spent one night on the boat which is not enough. A perfect duration would be 2 nights on the boat and 1 or two at the island lodge.

Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
Thank buckeye-dude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

We spent four nights at this lodge. I loved the fact you could hear the river rush from your room. The rooms are very nice and the main area lovely. The food was excellent. I had special meals prepared since I do not eat meat or chicken. We combined this experience with three nights on the Ichobezi house boat. We really enjoyed the fact we could really relax having booked some additional time at these locations. You have the opportunity for boat activities with your own guide.
In additional we visited a village and my husband went tiger fishing. (catch and release) I found the owner Dawn to be the perfect host..a real pro. You might want to consider bringing something along for a donation to the village or leaving some clothes behind.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank mwitul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IchobeziRiverLodges, Director of Sales at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge - Zambezi Queen Collection, responded to this reviewResponded September 11, 2013

Dear Mwitul,
Thank you so much for posting your review and we are extremely gratified that you had such a great stay with us at Ichingo Chobe River Lodge and on the Ichobezi Safariboats. This really is a beautiful part of the world and we are glad that you got to experience it and to relax with us.
We look forward to seeing you again in the future.
Regards,
The Ichobezi River Lodges team.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 27, 2013

We spent 3 nights on the house boat at the end of our time in Botswana. This was a new experience for me and I found it to be very enjoyable and relaxing. This was our 4th trip to Africa so we have lots of experience going on game drives. The house boat offers a way to view game on the river from a smaller boat with your own guide. You have the option of going on two activities per day...tiger fishing (catch and release), visiting a village or going with your guide on a smaller boat and getting close to the birds and animals. We asked in advance for the cabin that had outdoor space. On our last morning we had the excitement of hearing two male lions roar at about 5:00 am. from Elephant Bay where we were docked for the night. The sound from the water made it seem like they were right at the balcony! I must add we went on the house boat after a 5 day photo workshop with Pangolin (guest photographer Grant Atkinson) in the Kasane area. We rented their lens so our photography was great from the house boat. We found the staff to be very professional and the chef Vincent was excellent.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a balcony.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank mwitul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 10, 2013

We had a wonderful 4 day Family trip on the Ichobezi Safari boat. We stayed the first night on the land camp but we could have done without that.
On the boat, on the lower deck were the staff quarters plus 4 good spacious bedrooms with full length windows and with showers. Only one of which had the bed facing the window which we thought was a bit of a shame. On the upper deck was the very spacious lounge with comfy sofas, the dinning table and the bar/buffet counter. PLUS a very important 'charging' area for cell phone, laptops etc. This is where we hang out most of the time unless we were out 'safariing' on the tender boats
We were 6 pax and even though there was 4 cabins we had the boat to ourselves which made for a great family holiday/bonding time.
There were 5 crew: manager, cook and 3 boat men for the tenders which each cabin had for their own use.
Food was good, service great and we saw quite a lot of game even though it was not the good game season. We did see TONS of birds. One of the high lights were the Lesser and Greater Stripped Swallows that lived on the boat and who would come and visit us and sit on the rail and 'talk' to us!
Only thing that spoilt it for us was the trip there and back. On their website and also with the booking lady one of the options was to fly into Victoria Falls and take a "90 minute car transfer" which was described as seamless and easy. And as there were 6 of us (paid for 6 but one person dropped out due to illness) we assumed we would have a private van/combi. BUT the trip there finally took 4 1/2 hours! On the trip out, as 1 of us had a plane to catch, we discussed the matter with the owner and he also assured us we would get a private van/combi. This never happened and we had to wait 1 hour at the Zimbabwe border for another party to join our van and which eventually NEVER turned up.
We feel that was a really bad thing because it really spoit the trip in a way because that was what we felt at the end after such a wonderful stay on the boat.

MY ADVISE is never fly into Victoria Falls for the land journey to the boats. Fly into Kasane instead.

Room Tip: cabins with the bed facing the window.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled with family
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Thank franschhoek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 18, 2013

We had driven ourselves all the way round Namibia for 3 weeks and ended here, for something "different" before heading back home.And enjoyably different it indeed was

We had to drop our rental car in Kasane, so it was a bit convoluted leaving Namibia, crossing into Botswana, diving for an hour, then leaving Botswana crossing the river by boat and re-entering Namibia at a somewhat "rural" border point, before continuing our trip by speedboat to the Houseboat

Once on the Houseboat you can get comfortable. As others have said, it is comfortable, rather than luxurious. The cabin was not large, but this a small boat, and it was a very nice cabin.. Meals are taken at one big table, so you meet the other guests- 8 is the maximum number that the boat takes. The food is good, without being gourmet. The drinks are all included in your daily rate.

As are all trips in the small speed boats. You only have to ask, and they will whisk you along the river banks to spot game. We had a couple of excursions this way, and were lucky enough to find 2 leopards right on the bank only a few yards away from us. Elephants, Hippos and Buffalo in particular are abundant, as are smaller game.

The boat moors opposite "Elephant Bay" and if you want to see elephants, this will certainly slake you needs.

I would like to mention Ernest, the man who runs the boat in particular, as well as his team. They run a tight ship, and all is very friendly and relaxed. The bar is on the "help yourself" principle, but if you want anything special, just put your head into the kitchen, and one of the men will get it for you.

We left from Livingstone, Zambia, which is (with Vic Falls) only a couple of hours travel away - again, from the Houseboat it is out of Namibia, cross the river into Botswana. 15 minute car ride to check out of Botswana, cross by speed boat to Zambia, and about 1 hour in the car to Livingstone

I certainly recommend the experience, and book yourself at least two nights here on the Houseboat.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank moraira
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

We spent 3 nights in April 2013 on the Ichobezi houseboat and had a great time. Staffs were helpful and charming. During our daily trips with the small motorboats David, our guide, gave us many interesting and valued information about the flora and fauna of the Chobe river and the national park.
Eustace, the chef, was so nice and we loved his proud presentation of the menus he served us, even if it was too much for us, as we are not used to each 3 full meals per day. He adapted the menu for me as a veg and prepared really great and taste food.
We loved the individual service even if from Elephant Bay to Silondela and back we were not alone on the houseboat.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Claudia C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ichingo Chobe River Lodge - Zambezi Queen Collection

Address: Punga, Impalila Island, Namibia
Location: Namibia > Caprivi Region > Impalila Island
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Impalila Island
Price Range: $600 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Ichingo Chobe River Lodge - Zambezi Queen Collection 4*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Nestled on Impalila Island in Namibia, Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is a tented lodge surrounded by breathtaking scenery, abundant wildlife, birdlife and ideal fishing conditions. Ichingo Chobe River Lodge features eight large air-conditioned Meru safari tents set on a secluded island beneath a riverine canopy on the banks of the Chobe River. Step out on to your own private balcony to listen to the rapids, relax on your sumptuous bed and then head to the dining room or bar for something delicious to eat or drink. Ichingo Chobe River Lodge is also perfect for families and welcomes children of all ages. ... more   less 
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