Chobe National Park Travel and Vacations

Chobe National Park is the second-largest conservation area in Botswana. It is home to the largest elephant population of any national park in Africa. Chobe is an ideal safari destination to combine with a visit to Victoria Falls for a comprehensive vacation experience. All who travel to Botswana should consider a visit to this national park.

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Chobe National Park

Top Travel Destination in Chobe National Park

Unforgettable, wild and exhilarating are the most appropriate words that can be used to describe a visit to Chobe. It is very conveniently located close to the Victoria Falls for an ideal combination package.

Northern Chobe Riverfront

The river and floodplain that form the border between Botswana and Namibia attract significant concentrations of animals during the dry season. The ancient trees on the riverbank offer shelter to many bird species. The marginal floodplain between Kasane and Serondela is covered in dense groves of fever berry and woolly caper bushes.

Savute

Savute is one of Africa's finest wilderness regions. The annual zebra migration passes through this area, allowing viewing thousands upon thousands of these mammals, and the lion prides that prey on them. The Savute Channel started flowing a few years ago after a dry spell of almost a quarter century. It flows into the Savute marsh, providing a limitless water supply and rich pastures in this otherwise arid landscape.

Linyanti Marsh

Linyanti lies in the furthest northwestern corner of the Chobe National Park. It resembles the Okavango Delta in many respects. It covers an area of roughly 900 square kilometers with reed-lined channels and islands with ancient trees and lagoons dotting the landscape. The region is a haven during the dry winter when animals are plentiful, and bird life is almost astounding.

Chobe National Park Travel Overview

Chobe is located in the northeastern corner of Botswana. This national park offers safari enthusiasts the opportunity to experience the African wilderness and all its majesty from both land and water in an area where you can view various animal and bird species.

In addition to the large elephant population, Chobe is also known for vast herds of buffalo, large prides of lion, and the rare African wild dog. Antelope species to keep an eye out for are puku, lechwe, roan, and sable antelope. Rhino is the only member of Africa's Big Five not found in Chobe.

Size
11 700 km²
Established
1967
Gate Times 1 April to 30 September
06:00 to 18:30
Gate Times 1 October to 31 March
05:30 to 19:00
Closest Town
Kasane
Estimated Elephant Population
50 000

Reasons to Visit Chobe National Park

1

Home of the Elephants

No other African national park offers a better opportunity to view the mightiest African mammals. Here you will see vast herds of elephants daily, and you will have the chance to gain a first-hand understanding of the complex social behavior in family herds, as well as the struggle for survival all animals face in this harsh, beautiful land.

2

One of Africa's wildest Frontiers

The northern reaches of Chobe, though not overcrowded, attract several visitors annually. Once, however, you travel further south to the Savute section of the park, one of Africa's wildest frontiers - which genuinely seems to stretch into eternity - can be experienced. Here, only a handful of people at any given time can relish a truly remote safari experience in an area that covers thousands of square miles.

3

Water-Based Game Viewing

Chobe and the Okavango Delta are amongst two of Africa's most sought-after safari areas - where game viewing can be enjoyed on land or from water. Game viewing is especially rewarding during the early morning and late afternoon when many different species come to the water's edge for a drink. River banks also attract birds in great numbers, which enriches the safari experience.

4

Unique Species

Species of antelope indigenous to Chobe, not seen in the national parks of South Africa or Namibia, include the puku, lechwe, and the regionally rare sitatunga. The rare sable antelope and roan antelope occur in substantial numbers in the northern part of Botswana.

Chobe National Park Vacation Options and Travel Tips

Chobe National Park vacations offer quintessential African safari experiences, from sunset cruises on the Chobe River to traditional game drives.

Transport

After arrival at Kasane, Livingstone, or Victoria Falls airports, clients are usually transported in air-conditioned vehicles to the lodge where they will be staying - if this property is located in the northern part of Chobe.

If the lodge you will be visiting is far from Kasane, clients are transferred to Kasane Airport form where a light charter flight of between 20 and 50 minutes will bring you to an airstrip from where a short drive in an open 4x4 game drive vehicle leads to your lodge.

Once at your lodge or camp, daily transportation will consist of game drives in open 4x4 vehicles and specially adapted game viewing boats.

Experiences to be Savored when traveling to Chobe

The Chobe National Park's enrapturing experiences are primarily based around the Chobe River and taking advantage of its wild spoils. From leisurely sunset cruises to observing herds coming down to the water's edge for a drink, you'll find each occasion indelibly memorable.

Sunset over the Chobe River

Enjoying a spectacular sunset over the Chobe River while nursing a drink of your choice with the cry of fish eagles and the snorting of hippos providing the background sounds to a most remarkable display is a moment in time you are not likely to forget.

Remote isolation of Savute

The Savute region in the south-central part of the Chobe National Park offers a sense of remote isolation rarely experienced in the modern world. A feeling of being part of this vast wilderness and the multitude of creatures, great and small, that inhabit it.

Observing elephants at the water's edge

Witnessing a large herd of elephants with youngsters approaching the water's edge, drinking and splashing about with calves, often playful and amusing, is a wonderful experience from the safety of a boat just meters away.

Best Private Tours and Safari Packages

18 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury Code: S01

Two and a half weeks devoted to visiting the best safari areas and top travel destinations in Southern Africa. A luxurious adventure.

7 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Top-End 5-Star Code: S16

Visit the two most popular safari areas in Botswana in combination with Victoria Falls, as seen from the Zambian side of the Zambezi River.

4 Days From: ZAR 69,270 pp Luxury 5-Star Code: S20

A visit to the Chobe National Park, which departs from and returns to Johannesburg in South Africa.

Foods to try when visiting Chobe National Park

Vetkoek

Vetkoek is a type of deep-fried bread made of cake flour. Vetkoek is a local favorite that can be eaten as is, filled with beef mince, or spread with butter and jams.

Samp

Samp is a food that consists of dried corn kernels crushed until broken but not fine. It is then cooked in salted water and served as a starch with fish or meat dishes.

Chibuku

Chibuku is a sorghum beer brewed in Botswana - ingredients of this local favorite include sorghum, maize as well as millet. The alcohol content ranges between 0.5 and 4 percent.

St Louis

St Louis Lager is Botswana's only locally produced lager beer. It has been in production for 50 years and is well worth a try on a sunset cruise or one of those hot Chobe summer afternoons.

FAQ

How far is Chobe from Victoria Falls?
The northern part of Chobe and the town of Kasane - the gateway to the north of Chobe National Park- is a drive of about one and a half hours from the towns of Livingstone in Zambia and the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. These two towns lie on opposite sides of the Zambezi River.
Which are the main safari areas in Chobe?
The three main safari areas in the Chobe National Park include northern Chobe, not far from the town of Kasane; the Linyanti Swamp, tucked away in the northwestern corner of the park and Savute, situated in the south-central part of Chobe. Each area is distinctive in character and offers fantastic wildlife experiences. It must be noted that reaching either Linyanti or Savute will require a light charter flight from either Kasane or Maun.
Will the Internet be available?
If you are staying in the northern part of Chobe near the town of Kasane, access to the Internet will be readily available. If your safari takes you to the Savute or Linyanti areas, there will be no Internet connection or mobile phone coverage available.
Do I need to take malaria medication?
Discussing the options with your doctor before your visit would be best.
Can I view animals at night?
Traversing during the hours of darkness is not allowed in Chobe. The Kruger National Park in South Africa should be considered if you are intent on nighttime game drives.
Which is the best airport to use when visiting Chobe?
Though Kasane Airport is the most convenient, flights to Livingstone and Victoria Falls are much cheaper. Flying to one of these two towns also visits Victoria Falls, possibly in combination with your safari to the Chobe National Park.
What are the most common species of wildlife seen in Chobe?
The animals you are most likely to encounter in Chobe are Elephant, Cape buffalo, waterbuck, blue wildebeest, impala, red lechwe, zebra, hippo, crocodile, lion, leopard, and African wild dog.
What languages are commonly spoken in the region?
English is the only European language commonly spoken in the region, in addition to the native languages.
Which languages are commonly spoken in the region?
English is the only European language commonly spoken in the region, in addition to the native languages.
What other safari areas in Botswana do you recommend?
The Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi Pans are two other areas well worth visiting if you are traveling to Botswana.

Useful Travel Info

Getting There

By Air

Chobe National Park is accessible via Kasane Airport in Botswana, Livingstone Airport in Zambia, and Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe. The latter two airports are a drive of about an hour and a half from the northern part of Chobe near the town of Kasane.

There are daily scheduled flights between Johannesburg in South Africa and all three of these airports. The duration of these flights is around one hour and forty minutes.

By Road

Traveling overland from South Africa to the Chobe National Park is recommended only for 4x4 enthusiasts. It can, however, be an unforgettable experience for those well-prepared.

The road journey would typically involve a night spent just before the South Africa/Botswana border, from where it is recommended to overnight near Nata on the second evening before reaching the town of Kasane - the gateway to Chobe - on the following day.

Weather & Best Time To Visit

Chobe is best visited during the dry season from the beginning of May to late October. During this time, the concentration of animals around the Chobe River increases substantially, and game viewing is optimal.

The temperatures prevalent in the area are at their lowest during May, June, and July, with chilly evenings and very pleasant daytime temperatures. From August, the temperatures start rising, with days becoming hotter each consecutive month. With the onset of the rainy season in late October, the wildlife disperses to other areas where fresh grazing is available.

Rainfall continues throughout the hot summer months until about the end of April. During this period, the region is hot and humid. These months are, however, the best time for bird watching in Chobe.

Medical Considerations

The northern part of Botswana is a malaria area, and it would be prudent to discuss anti-malaria precautions with your physician. It is also advisable to pack sufficient allergy medication if you are prone to allergies related to dust, pollen, and grasses.

Safety

Botswana is a very safe country with a very low crime rate. Chobe is a vast wilderness with a low human population, where the prospect of petty crime is virtually non-existent. Once at one of the lodges in the region, you are in good hands, and you will be very well taken care of. Adhering to the rules and advice communicated by your ranger will ensure your safety while enjoying safari activities in the Chobe National Park.

Safari Activities

Several activities primarily focused on experiencing Chobe's wildlife and natural beauty is available to visitors. In addition to these nature-based activities, some cultural immersions are also on offer.

Open 4X4 game drives

These safaris are conducted in Chobe, interpretive, and accompanied by a local ranger and tracker. It is an ideal way of coming close to the animal and bird species inhabiting Chobe. Game drives are normally conducted during the early morning and the late afternoon. The duration of these excursions would typically be between three and three and a half hours.

Water-Based Game Viewing

The signature wildlife activity in this region involves game viewing from specially adapted small boats. It offers visitors a unique way of observing the wildlife along the river banks. These boat safaris are provided during the morning as well as in the late afternoon. The author believes that late afternoon boat cruises are best, for more animals come to the water's edge during this time. It also has the advantage of a unique vantage point as the sun sets over this remarkable wildlife haven.

Riverboat cruises

A few large riverboats offer cruises of varying lengths devoted to exploring the Chobe and Zambezi rivers. The confluence of these rivers is near the town of Kasane. The Zambezi Queen is recommended for those wishing to experience this part of Africa from a riverboat. Two daily game activities are conducted from the boat.

Fishing

Chobe has recently become a top-rated fishing destination, with 90 species of freshwater fish found in the vast stretch of the river near the town of Kasane. But the tiger fish, Africa's greatest freshwater fighting fish, attracts more international anglers to the Chobe River than any other fishing pursuit.

Bush Walks

Bush walks are conducted from almost all of the lodges in the area. These walks offer a unique way of viewing the wildlife in the region quietly and discreetly. The walks are accompanied by skilled rangers who are experts in interpreting animal behavior and ensuring the safety of safari enthusiasts near potentially dangerous animals.

Visits to the Victoria Falls

You can explore mighty Victoria Falls on a day trip from the northern part of Chobe. We recommend that all that visit the region dedicate a day to exploring one of the world's grandest natural wonders.

History

The first inhabitants of the area where Chobe National Park is now located were the Basarwa - descendants of the San Bushmen. Their rock art can still be viewed on rocky hills scattered throughout Chobe.

During the 1930s, the British High Commissioner visited the Chobe River and recommended that the region become a wildlife conservancy, following the example of the Kruger National Park, which had already been established in South Africa. Subsequently, an area about a third of the park's current size was proclaimed a non-hunting area.

In 1960, the Chobe Game Reserve was created. It received official national park status in 1967. At this time, several commercial ventures, mostly related to the timber industry, were still located inside Chobe. These were moved outside the park's boundaries by 1975. Chobe has since established itself as one of Africa's most prolific national parks dedicated to conserving vast herds of common mammals and several rare carnivore and antelope species.

Wildlife

Though not as diverse in species as the Kruger National Park, the herds encountered in Chobe are typically much larger. Elephants, especially, can be seen by the thousand throughout the region. These giant pachyderms substantially impact the environment and have thinned out the dense thickets along the banks of the Chobe River. Each fully grown animal requires roughly 150kg of fodder daily.

Buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra can be seen in large numbers, also impala. Notable antelope species in Chobe include sable, roan, kudu, and waterbuck. The rare puku and Chobe bushbuck can be seen nowhere else in Botswana. The small oribi and Sharpe's grysbok are other species rarely seen in the other national parks of Southern Africa.

Predators in the park include lions, leopards, and African wild dogs. Cheetahs are often spotted on the park's open landscapes, where their speed can be utilized to full advantage when hunting. Smaller cat species like serval and caracal, though not regularly spotted, maintain healthy populations in the Chobe National Park.

Countries

View of the Drakensberg in South Africa. South Africa
Elephants in the sunset in Botswana. Botswana
A desert landscape in Namibia. Namibia
People swimming in the clear waters of Mozambique. Mozambique
View of the Victoria Falls in Zambia. Zambia
Antelope standing on a river bank in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe