Famous for its 80,000-elephant population, Chobe National Park is located just one hour’s drive from Victoria Falls and sprawls adjacent to Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and the Chobe River itself. The park is absolutely immense, containing a number of different habitats. This is classic big game country, with Chobe most famous for its vast herds of elephant and buffalo as well as its uncommonly large lion prides.
Additionally, the park offers some of the finest river safaris in Africa. The riverfront to the north of the park boasts the majority of big hotels – here the river safaris are busiest, but also at their best. The sheer size of Chobe allows for areas containing very few tourists, such as the dry areas of the Savuti marshes and the remote south-west. Nevertheless, the region as a whole is one of Botswana’s liveliest destinations.
WHAT YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW
So many safari experts reckon that Chobe is too busy and not worth the visit. However, we think this is completely missing the point. Yes, Chobe is popular – in fact, it’s one of the busiest parks in Botswana – yet it’s also one of the most exciting parks in the entire country. We believe the only argument for missing out on Chobe is if you can afford to spend all your time in Botswana’s private reserves (at the best part of $1,000 pp). If that’s the case, opting not to visit Chobe is understandable. But the value for money you get here, and the volume and diversity of game you see, make this our favourite park in the country. For a first-timer to Africa, or for someone who loves the idea of getting up close to game from a boat, this park ranks very highly.
Game driving and boating. Due to the fact that Chobe is a National Park, no night safaris or walking safaris are permitted. There are camps outside the park which do operate these activities.
TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL
Chobe is a classic dry-season reserve with the game getting progressively better, the later in the year you travel. June through to October is superb, especially due to the huge elephant migration that happens in the park throughout this period. However we would also argue that it is one of the best year-round safari destinations – travelling at any time of year gets surprisingly good results.
Start in Chobe then go into the Okavango – saving the Okavango until last. Chobe is on the way to the Okavango from Victoria Falls, so stopping off here for a couple of nights is logistically easy and also very good value. And remember - there is nowhere in the Okavango that will guarantee seeing as much big game from the water!