I have just spent the last week on the banks of the Chobe River in Namibia or is it Botswana working on an ambitious project that when finished will be the shining light of the hospitality industry in these parts. The Zambezi Queen is a 3 storey 14 suite, floating hotel (a Botel?) and I have just been over seeing the installation of the kitchen and getting the lie of the land with regard to provisions in these parts – which it must be said is quite impressive.
While the concept of floating accommodation is nothing new to these parts there has never been anything on this scale – from a luxury point of view or from an eco perspective either. The use of solar powered geysers, sewage filtration, noise & power reduction measures make this the most forward thinking vessel on the water. The beautifully designed interiors courtesy of Jenny Button are the sort you expect to find in 5 star hotels in Cape Town, not out in the bush miles from anywhere.
We are actually moored on the Namibian side but the town nearest our mooring is Kasane, which is in Botswana. All of our shopping & supplies come from Kasane which is only 10 min away by boat – we have to have our passports stamped at the border post going in & out on each side – sounds reasonable but in true African tradition the Namibian post is a sweaty, smelly hut that is about 40ºC inside – the customs official one Mr. Phineas can usually be found asleep under a tree outside and depending on whether he is still drunk or hung over (the only 2 states witnessed) the stamping procedure may be swift & cost free or another story entirely.
We have spent the last few days in 38ºC heat but they tell me that is quite mild seeing that it’s winter. I will be returning in 5 weeks for the opening in the middle of what’s commonly known as suicide month (temperatures peaked at 55ºC last year with aprox 80 – 90% humidity)
But the main attractions are without a doubt the wide open spaces the extensive game & bird life and the tranquility that only the bush can offer.
I will keep you updated on my return from the opening with photos of the finished boat but for now you can get all the info from their website www.zambeziqueen.com
May the sauce be with you