Chobe National Park is one of the best parks in Africa for big herds of elephants. Towards the end of the dry season the Chobe River is the only source of water in the area and estimates put elephant numbers at an awe-inspiring 120,000! Resident game here is also superb, with buffalo and lion especially prolific. The boating safaris on the river here are some of the very best in Africa.
Its close proximity to where the mighty Zambezi crescendos into the Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia) makes Chobe National Park one of the continent’s most popular destinations for short safaris (including day trips) and African honeymoons. A Chobe safari offers a beautiful blend of senset boat cruises and captivating safari.The Victoria Falls compliments a safari very well - aside from being an unbelievable sight, it is a good place to relax and unwind after an action packed safari. Chobe is also more affordable than Botswana’s
typical high-end private reserves (such as the Okavango Delta). However, these factors work to Chobe’s disadvantage, as the park gets very busy in some areas, especially around Kasane in the north east.
If you are on a high-end safari and are short of time, there’s an argument for missing out Chobe in favour of the Linyanti / Kwando / Selinda areas just to the west. However, Chobe's river safaris are the best in the country, and it is possible to avoid the crowds in more remote parks of the game reserve - you just need to know where to go...
Chobe Safaris: when to go
July, August, September and October are peak season for the vast herds and the best time to be there. However, the river supports an outstanding density of resident game throughout the year making Chobe one of Africa's most rewarding regions for game viewing at any time of the year.
The accommodation in Chobe falls into two categories - the riverfront and the Savute marsh area.
Chobe river front: where to stay
The majority of the park’s lodges are to be found on the banks of the Chobe river, specifically around Kasane, which serves as the gateway to the park. Here you will find large hotels and the busiest safari areas such as Chobe Safari Lodge. Chobe Chilwero, run by Sanctuary lodges (A&K) is the most luxurious and best lodge in this area, however Chobe Game Lodge (not to be confused with Chobe Safari Lodge!) is our favourite of the larger hotels due to its welcoming attitude to children with famtastic family rooms. There are also a couple of lodges set on islands in the middle of the river, that offer good river cruises but no game drives - so this is not a place to base yourself for s big game safari, but rather a place to go for a fantastic river view getaway.
Away from busy Kasane there are a couple of hotels that have virtually private game viewing areas - of these Muchenje is a lovely homely lodge and a great value option, probably our number one choice for a Chobe safari. We also recommend &Beyond’s Chobe Under Canvas, a luxury tented camp located away from the crowds.
Chobe Savute area: where to stay
There are three main camps in Savute worth considering: Savute Safari Lodge, Savute Elephant Camp and Savute Under Canvas. Of these, Desert and Delta’s Savute Safari Lodge has the best location on the edge of the Savute Marsh; you are never out of sight of an elephant when in camp. This is a 12-chalet lodge with a library, lounge and unbeatable views, and offers excellent value. Now with the return of the water to the channel and fertility to the area, this is definitely the camp of choice. Savute Elephant Camp, although in a good area, does not offer such good value.