Africa’s acclaimed The Zambezi Queen by Mantis riverboat has unveiled a new look following an extensive refurbishment.
The Zambezi Queen by Mantis, a riverboat operating on the Chobe River, has undergone a refurbishment encompassing all decks and suites with paintwork, carpeting, furnishings and fabrics updated to offer a bright, modern feel.
The flagship vessel is now ready to welcome guests back onboard for two, three and four-night river safaris that traverse roughly 25km along the Chobe River that borders Namibia and Botswana. As guests are close to the Chobe National Park, during their voyage they have the opportunity to spot herds of elephants by the riverbank – the park has one of the world’s largest populations of African elephant, estimated at around 120,000.
The Zambezi Queen by Mantis is part of a fleet of four houseboats within the Zambezi Queen Collection by Mantis. The Zambezi Queen by Mantis is the luxury, flagship vessel and the other three are deluxe houseboats named the Chobe Princesses.
“The new-look Zambezi Queen feels at once comfortable, welcoming and luxurious,” says Kate Powell, General Manager, Sales & Marketing for the Zambezi Queen Collection by Mantis. “Of course, we wanted to achieve something in keeping with the Chobe’s extraordinary surroundings – and our guests’ expectations, so each corner of the boat promises a different spot to put your feet up and watch life on the Chobe go by.”
Design studio Mi Designs was instrumental in the refurbishment and incorporated works from celebrated South African artist Denby Meyer and fabrics specially selected from Ardmore Design’s Luxury Fabric Collection, which features an exquisite selection of unique, hand-drawn designs inspired by African flora and fauna which can be found on furnishings including cushions and throws.
The upper deck (bar, lounge and dining area) are decorated in a natural, earthy palette. Creams, greys, greens and taupe work with a range of textures, including natural wood, leather, linen and wicker, to give the common space a fresh, contemporary and organic feel. There is also a newly revamped library section where guests can relax with a book or use one of the onboard binoculars to spot game.
The outdoor furniture has all been updated, L-shaped couches and poolside loungers invite guests to soak up the view from the bow of the boat, while a new cocktail lounge area at the stern serves sundowners and light bites.
“When it comes to luxury river travel, the Zambezi Queen sets the standard in Africa,” says Powell. “This is an exciting chapter in her history, and I’m thrilled to share the news of her refurbishment. These upgrades have taken our guest experience to the next level, as we continue to provide our guests with unforgettable and luxurious experiences on the Chobe River in 2023 and beyond.”
The star of the show is the Chobe River and guests can admire every vantage point from the decks or one of the 14 luxurious suites (10 standard suites and four spacious master suites at the bow of the boat). All suites boast large windows which open onto balconies overlooking the river and the national park beyond.
Game viewing on the Chobe River is at its most exceptional from March to November as many animal species gather around and stay close to the main water source. Summer and spring also offer unique opportunities to see the landscape burst into life after the first rains of the season. One of the onboard highlights is heading out on a tender, with a guide, to get a closer look at the elephants along the banks of the river.
A variety of additional experiences are available, ranging from catch-and-release fishing, to bird watching and cultural tours where guests can venture to Ijambwe (a Namibian village on the floodplains of the East Caprivi) to meet the Subiya tribe village elders and locals. There are also about 450 bird species in the Chobe region. The birding season starts in September, when the first migrants arrive, boosting the bird population by up to 20% compared to the winter months. From December through to March birdlife on the Chobe is extremely busy with colourful breeding plumage on display