Chobe National Park
Land of the buffalo and elephant
The Famous Chobe National Park covers over 11,000km² and includes the Savute region. The Park is so large that we at Safari Lifestyles believe that Savute should be dealt with separately, this is due mainly to the fact that there are separate gates for each of the Chobe River area and the main Savute area.… Please go to the Savute Regional page for more information.
Given National Park status in 1967, this immense area’s history dates back many years previous when the governing body of the region declared it a non-hunting zone. As the Kwando and Linyanti river sections wind their way through the northern edge of Botswana the river widens and becomes the Chobe river, one of the great rivers of Africa. Bordering the northern edge of the National Park, this river quenches the thirst of large numbers of animals, thus making it one of the best places to see game in Botswana. Famous for its large herds of elephant and buffalo, The Chobe River Front gives you perhaps the best sunsets, viewing African skimmers skirting inches above the surface as a background to the large herbivores drinking under a blood red sun.
Most activities revolve around the Chobe River frontage, although the more adventurous may visit the more remote Nogatsaa and Tchinga areas. There is also the new and up and coming Chobe Forest Reserve area just to the west of the national park boundaries.
The main entry point to the Chobe River front is the buzzing town of Kasane which is also the gateway to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Within the National Park region are private lodges, which are generally situated along the Chobe River front. Due to its proximity to Kasane, the river front can be busier than many of the private concession areas in Botswana, but none of these other areas present you with the spectacle that the Chobe River does.
As it is a National Park, entry is allowed for the Self Driver and we thoroughly recommend the Ihaha camp-site area for a wonderful camping experience. Situated right on the river you are able to experience the wonders of the game in the region coupled with the incredible vista without paying the price of a private Lodge.
The Park also caters extremely well for Mobile Tented Safari operators who have the benefit of the sole use of private camp-sites. These mobiles will often stay within the park for a few nights as part of a longer safari throughout Botswana, and possibly its neighbouring countries.
Selected Chobe Tours
This 8 night tour represents very good value as a Botswana package. The tour covers the Okavango and the Chobe River Front area.
8 nights from $5,165
Taking you through the more Game Reserve, though the Okavango to a wet camp and lastly to the famous Chobe Game Lodge
6 nights from $3,898
Very good value 10 nights safari covering the depth and breadth of Botswana ending at the southern tip of Chobe
10 nights from $5,720
We have quite a few tours on offer which showcase Botswana... you can view all of them by clicking the button below...
The lodges in the area will conduct excellent game drives during the day within the National Park, but no night drives are permitted in the park. Lodges that are based outside the park such as Muchenje Safari Lodge and Chobe Elephant Camp, both of which are sited within the Chobe Forest Reserve are able to conduct night drives and walks in their local private areas.
Mobile Safaris will concentrate on day game drives but are restricted to the same rules in that no night drives, nor off-road driving is allowed.
Especially with the lodges, who may often own their own boats, water activities can be a major part of your safari into the Chobe River Front area. Here, the Chobe River offers arguably the best and most diverse spectrum of boating excursions. Simply drifting down the river amongst pods of hippos, spotting the many elephants swimming through the water or perhaps a pride of lions drinking at the waters edge.
Sunset cruises abound, unsurprisingly, as this is one of the great spectacles of the area. Most of the sunset cruises start from Kasane town from one of the many Lodges there, however most of the Lodges and even the Mobile Safaris that traverse the area offer a cruise as an inclusive treat.
There are three main choices you have if you intend to stay in the Chobe National Park area. At the top end of the scale you have the private lodges. These lodges will offer you the best levels of comfort you can enjoy and will provide you with all of their activities as part of their package rates. It may come as some surprise to know that out of all the Lodges, there is actually only one lodge that is wholly within the park boundaries, this would be Chobe Game Lodge.
Secondly you may wish to visit the park as part of a Mobile Tented Safari. Your accommodation will be on a camping basis, usually in a private camp-site that is only available to the operator. Please see our Mobile Tented Safaris section for tours through this region.
Chobe Under Canvas is a little different in that it provides a semi-permanent tented camp that moves every 6 days within the National Park boundaries… this allows it to sit somewhere between the offerings of a standard Lodge and that of a Mobile Safari.
Lastly, you may decide to go completely DIY and undertake a Self Drive Safari where you will need to be totally self sufficient and stay in one of Chobe National Park’s public camping sites. These sites are at Ihaha and are right on the river, although your camp-site will be a bare patch of ground, there is a very good ablution block facility for your use.
Lodges within Chobe
How do you get to Chobe?
Like the Greater Linyanti, the Chobe River Front is teeming with buffalo and elephant. Away from the river exists mile upon mile of dry land only dotted with waterholes, therefore the river is an absolute haven for the game that needs it. As ever, where there is a large presence of plains game, there are large numbers of predators, mostly lion.
On the flats around the river area, aside from the normal game, the more interesting antelope you may see are good levels of red lechwe, the similar looking puku and the rare Chobe bushbuck. To the southern end of the Chobe River area can be found good numbers of roan and sable antelope, and if you are lucky, more inland you will find eland.
Birdlife, as expected on the river area can be spectacular and you may see birds that may be more difficult to see elsewhere such as African skimmers, spoonbills and giant kingfishers. Together with a surprising array of raptors, the Chobe River front area is a stupendous location for birders.
The peak season for an area can differ and is dependent on wildlife movements and the weather itself
Winter is between June and October.
Considered the dry months, The waters of Chobe start to recede during this period, opening up to drier floodplains
As the water recedes on the river, it also disappears from other drinking spots leaving the river as the only choice for thousands of animals.
Summer is between November and May
Considered the rainy season. Depending on the year, the rains can be heavy or light and have the effect of filling up waterholes far and wide.
The Chobe River itself starts to fill to its peak during this season.