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The Zambezi Queen sails the Chobe River near Victoria Falls.  Photo from Mantis Collection.

The Zambezi Queen sails the Chobe River near Victoria Falls. Photo from Mantis Collection.

Zanzibar…Swaziland…Mozambique…

There’s something about the letter “Z” in a name that says “exotic” to me.  And I’m drawn to every place, geographic feature, form of transport, or travel-related entity that has a “Z” in it.

That’s what first took me to the Zambezi River in south-central Africa, which, naturally, runs between the countries of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching the Zambezi pour over Victoria Falls, one of the world’s great natural wonders, on two occasions — an unforgettable experience.

So I was very glad to learn that this May, Mantis Collection is launching the “Zambezi Queen Collection,”  a four-vessel fleet of river boats — or “floatels,” as they call them — that provide access to the Zambezi and Chobe river systems, which occupy the region where the countries of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe meet.

The upper deck lounge area with a view on one of the Chobe Princesses.  Photo from Mantis.

The upper deck lounge area with a view on one of the Chobe Princesses. Photo from Mantis.

The fleet consists of The Zambezi Queen, an eco-vessel that serves as the monarch of the four, along with three Chobe Princesses (one formerly known as the Pride of the Zambezi). The latter three have been completely refurbished since being purchased by Mantis this spring, including adding air conditioning, plunge pools, and luxurious furnishings.

The Zambezi Queen on the Chobe, which runs between Namibia and Botswana. Photo from Mantis Collection.

The Zambezi Queen on the Chobe, which runs between Namibia and Botswana. Photo from Mantis Collection.

These luxury river safaris operate on the Chobe upstream from Victoria Falls and provide opportunities to watch for wildlife and relax while viewing life along the river.

The cruises start in Botswana with lengths of either two or three nights. Late afternoon water-based safaris led by guides on small tender-boats are highlights of each cruise — the Chobe region is known for its 120,000 elephants, one of the largest pachyderm populations in the world.

Birding, fishing, and visiting local villages are other possible activities for passengers.

You can combine your cruise with a visit to Victoria Falls, known locally as the “Smoke That Thunders” for the roaring mists that it sends high into the air, along with other possible combinations.

Mantis is a family-run collection of five-star properties around the world — including one in Antarctica, making it the only hotel group to have a presence on all seven continents.

 

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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