Picture yourself in a top-deck whirlpool with a glass of Stellenbosch Pinot Blanc, watching for elephants, hippos, or rare puku antelope in the Namibian floodplains of the Chobe River. Welcome aboard the Zambezi Queen, a new riverboat with 14 spacious cabins that have panoramic windows, zebra-striped pillows, and black-and-white prints by Cape Town–based photographer Horst Klemm. But it’s not just about the boat: the Zambezi’s two- to three-night itineraries include open-air barbecues with oxtail-and-impala stew; rides on 14-seat launches that get you even closer to the wildlife; and visits to traditional villages where fishermen still ply their trade in makoro (dugout canoes made of ebony). At night, travelers dine on prime beef fillet with Chateau potatoes before stargazing from leather Marconi sofas in the lounge.
Two- and three-day cruises from $400 per night per person, all-inclusive.