Like its near namesake, the African Dream provides a river cruise (but with better digs)


Cruising along the rivers of southern Africa, passengers will feel as though they’re on their own private yacht once the African Dream sets sail in December. They may even find themselves recalling the adventures of Bogie and Hepburn aboard a similarly named vessel.

The African Dream, being built in Harare, Zimbabwe, will host a mere 16 passengers. The itinerary takes guests along the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers through Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Nine-day adventures begin in Johannesburg and end at Victoria Falls. The overnights are divided between the boat and two remote lodges run by CroisiEurope, a French-based river cruise company that is just beginning to offer voyages in Africa.

Prices start at $5,749 per person. That includes air transportation from Johannesburg to Kasane, Botswana (where the cruise begins), and excursions such as a visit to a Namibian school to meet the students and teachers.

Don’t expect all of the amenities available on typical cruise ships. The African Dream will be just 131 feet long and 26 feet wide. In contrast, at roughly 1,200 feet, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis-class ships are nine times longer.

Eight staterooms await passengers, and at 194 square feet, they’re a smidge on the small side compared to those on the much bigger, distant cousins. All rooms have balconies.

Guests will be served by a crew of eight in a restaurant, a lounge and on a rooftop terrace.

The digs are a far cry from those aboard the fictitious (but similarly named) African Queen, which — along with the cantankerous Humphrey Bogart and Katharine Hepburn — was the star of the 1952 movie. And unlike the real-life ride along rivers in southern Africa, the film is set in German-controlled East Africa during World War I.

CroisiEurope is so confident its new African tour will be a success that a second boat is already being planned for 2018.

travel@latimes.com

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