Our Guide to
Chobe National Park Safaris
Oldest and greatest
The Chobe is one of Botswana’s oldest national parks and has one of the greatest concentrations of game in Africa. It sits along the Chobe River and is internationally famous for its impressive herds of elephant, lions not to mention numerous bird species.
The national park is divided into four distinct ecosystems that include the Linyanti Swamps in the northwest, the hot dry hinterland to the south and east, the Chobe River in the northeast and Savuti marsh in the west.
Home to a massive elephant population, visitors are often rewarded with impressive herds heading to the river to drink in the morning and afternoon light. Whilst the Chobe has been legendary for great wildlife safaris, it is becoming quite busy which can be a deterrent for those seeking more immersive and remote safari experiences.
A water wonderland, boating safaris are brilliant in the Chobe National Park and we highly recommend experiencing it at least once in the morning and afternoon because the light changes as does animal movements.
It goes without saying that a Chobe 4×4 safari game drive will get you close to wildlife. You are likely to see Chobe’s predators as well as the beautiful landscape and ecosystems that stretch from the river to the horizon.
Photographic safaris are brilliant for budding amateurs to seasoned professionals. We partner with Pangolin and they have customised flat bottom boats with just eight swivel chairs and camera mounts to give you the best boating safari on the Chobe and their land vehicle is elevated for brilliant perspective photography.
Fishing is brilliant as the Chobe River is blessed with an abundance of fish. Tigerfish are here and several species of bream.
Guided bush walks are available in the Chobe Forest Reserve for that up close and personal African wildlife safari experience.
Village tours offer a rare insight into the cultural heritage of Botswana and the Chobe region as you head out and meet local villagers, the school and even enjoy a mokoro on part of the river.
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Accommodation in Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park accommodation is varied from budget to high end luxury safari lodges. You can stay within the national park or Chobe Forest Reserve, in Kasane town or even on a houseboat that travels a short distance up and down the Chobe River.
To melt away the stress of city life, it’s always best to stay away from Kasane and focus on the properties in wilderness areas like the national park itself or the Forest reserve. To keep costs down, Kasane accommodation is the way to go. For a really relaxing pace, a Chobe river houseboat would be ideal.
There is currently just one property inside the Chobe National Park and that’s the Chobe Game Lodge. It is extremely unique and offers an impressive and meaningful Chobe safari for its guests. Vehicles are going electric to reduce noise pollution, the guiding team is all female, supporting the need to diversify the male dominated industry. The greatest asset is the deck area where you can sit and watch elephants and other wildlife come to drink right in front.
Luxurious accommodation in wild bush settings that have been built with natural materials is how we describe our favourite properties and in the Chobe region, there is Ngoma Safari Lodge. It sits in the pretty Chobe Forest Reserve bordering the National Park and overlooks the plains down to the River itself. Your river view can be savoured from the luxury of a private plunge pool whilst the main area has a massive deck that we love to utilise at night because of the sky telescope! Ngoma Safari Lodge was built and is operated in partnership with the local community and its staff are all from the surrounding villages.
Chobe House Boat holidays
The Chobe River plays host to a suite of houseboats including the prestigious Zambezi Queen that offers luxurious accommodation during your cruise on the Chobe River.
Sister boats, the Chobe Princesses (of which there are two) offer beautiful accommodation on smaller vessels. The focus is on relaxation, scenic boat cruising, fishing, guided walks and community visits. Everything is included during your stay (except top shelf drinks and tips), so you really can relax and enjoy your Chobe wildlife safari whilst onboard a luxury cruise boat. Departure dates are set and the boats are very popular so give yourself ample time so we can guarantee availability for your Botswana safari.
The other houseboat worth mentioning is the Pangolin Voyager that provides an exclusive and very personal experience ideal for photographers. There are just five cabins so a maximum of ten guests enjoy the comfort onboard. Again the focus is on village visits, boating and fishing with birding safaris also popular. Game drives in the Chobe National Park can be organised for an additional fee or simply relax and enjoy game viewing from the top deck of the boat.
Chobe Safari Top Five Tips
- When you game drive, try to ask the guide to get there before gates open so you can then drive straight into the park and away from the vehicles to avoid congestion at wildlife sightings (pictured).
- Boating safaris in the afternoon for that sunset light over the water and watch elephants come to drink and mornings for the crisper colours
- Birding is fantastic and if you are an avid birdwatcher, we recommend a private guide to get you closer to the action without frustration of other guests who may just want bigger animals to look at
- Wildlife watching from a houseboat – be the first and last to see it all
- Mobile camping safari to get you more remote in the Chobe region away from the crowds that gather each day
Best time to visit Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is open all year round.
During the green season, wildlife does not have to merge with the river as much because water sources are no longer scarce.
To guarantee greater concentrations of wildlife on a Chobe safari, go in the drier months, so July to November.
Just keep in mind temperatures begin to soar November and December so if you struggle with the heat, avoid this time.Let’s Chat