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“Houseboat is a perfect way to see the Chobe River”

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Ichingo Chobe River Lodge - Zambezi Queen Collection
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
13 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Houseboat is a perfect way to see the Chobe River”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 31, 2013

We spent two nights on the Ichobezi Safari Boat, a houseboat with four guest cabins. I am so, so glad we chose this option for the Kasane area, rather than staying on land.

From the start, everything ran seamlessly. A guide from the lodge met us at the Kasane airport (in Botswana), then drove us & our luggage to a little boat landing. Because the house boat is technically in Namibia, we had to be taken to Namibian immigration on Impalila Island. There was absolutely no hassle. (And there was no hassle when we did what could have been a complex multi-border transfer after the river trip to get to Victoria Falls an hour away.)



Accommodations on the houseboat were comfortable--perhaps not as luxurious as some of the Botswana camps we stayed at, but this is a boat. We actually felt sorry for the people staying at the luxury lodges along the banks of the Chobe. In order to get on the river, they had to take a boat. We were ALREADY on the boat. As we moved slowly along the river, we had spectacular views of the wildlife. In the mornings & the evenings, a guide took us out in a little power boat to get even closer to the animals. (We had already spent a couple days in another part of Chobe National Park, so we had already had the land-based game drive experience.)

Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank OtraGringa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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220 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
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English first
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 19, 2013

We came to Ichobezi after a 4 day canoeing trip on the lower Zambezi. What a delight. I would highly recommend the Lodge in between (or after) a trip to the African bush. The accommodations are incredible and the service is such that you feel as though you are the only guest there. What we especially enjoyed were the long dinners at the banquet table with the owner Ralph. What a treat to share dinner with people from all over the world. A few trips down the Chobe are sufficient (you won't see a wide variety of wildlife here) but the two nights we spent with Ichobezi felt like a dream. We wouldn't hesitate to book another stay.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Kristin_Bishop
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg, South Africa
Level Contributor
58 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 8, 2013

We spent one night at Ichingo river lodge (in retrospect should have been 2 or3 nights) before spending 3 nights on the Ichobezi houseboat. Everything was perfectly organized with no hassles. On arriving in Kasane we were taken to Chobe river ferry point to be met by the Ichingo /Ichobezi staff. A rigamarole ensued as we had to have our passports stamped to leave Botswana as the river lodge and the boat docking points were on the Namibian side of the Chobe river .after getting onto boat we had to cross river to Namibian passport office ( a Rocky sand road slightly uphill) to enter Namibia . Thus we had our my passport stamped 4 times before finally arriving at our destination and the same process is repeated on way back home. It was fun though . Everything is done by boat thereafter. River lodge was fabulous right by rapids as its close to Zambezi river and wonderful and luxurious tented rooms (8 rooms) . Wifi is available certain times of the day . We had 2 stunning river cruises aka game drives morning and afternoon and the Chobe national park (in Botswana side of Chobe river) was teeming with numerous elephants (largest in Africa ) buffaloes hippos crocodiles giraffes kudu waterbuck impala lechwe sable etc. the bird life was unbelievable that alone is worth the trip. The houseboat was the cherry on the top as we could choose just to vegetate on the boat watching in all directions or go fishing or go on the river cruises or visit a village. The fabulous staff of 5 catered to our every need . Accomodation more than adequate -room no 2 faces window others faces sideways . Room 1 looked the best of all view wise as it faces the end of the boat while the other 3 were on sides of boat . We were 6 which was just small enough even though boat takes 8 . But sitting in the upstairs is best of all for 360 degree view. Just watching and listening to sounds and reading or nodding off or eating and drinking and not move was the ultimate relaxation experience . No cell phone nor wifi nor tv distractions . Perfect getaway from the outside world and to connect with nature . Spectacular experience not to be missed but not for those whose looking for 7 star luxury (and being that choosy will miss out for sure)

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank FedBatz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ware, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
307 reviews
142 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 199 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank PeteD60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
dayton, ohio
Level Contributor
78 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
Helpful?
Thank buckeye-dude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
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 review, 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.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
44 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles 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
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank mwitul
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

Property: 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 (Based on Average Rates): $
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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