One of the most diverse regions in Africa, Chobe National Park lies in northern Botswana. It was the first national park to be established in the country and today is the third-largest after the Central Kalahari Reserve and Gemsbok. With one of the best concentrations of game in Africa, it’s also an excellent destination for a safari trip.
The stunning Chobe River winds through sandy terrain as a central feature of the park, with diverse wilderness stretching out on either side as far as the eye can see. It covers woodland, swamps and floodplains, with four distinct geographical areas to visit – the riverfront, Savute, Ngwezumba pans and Linyanti.
The most accessible and popular area is the Riverfront, which is famed for its big game and herds of elephants and cape buffalo coming down to the water to drink. Other animals include lions, leopards, hyenas, warthogs and monkeys, as well as the puku – this is the only place in Botswana where they can be seen.
Almost 500 bird species can also be found in the park, making Chobe an excellent choice for bird safaris too. Enthusiasts will love spotting the unmistakable fish eagle, spur-winged geese, carmine bee-eaters and the sacred ibis.
Best time to go to Chobe National Park
Chobe has two distinct seasons – the wet season from December to May and a dry season from June to November. The animals have migration patterns and tend to migrate further from the water source during the wet season so it’s often best to view them between December and May when they congregate at the Chobe River.
If you’re visiting for the elephants, it’s also best to visit in the dry season, when they stay in the river and Linyanti areas.
Chobe entrance fee
The cost of entering the park is 120.00 per visitor per day on a private trip, with discounted rates of 70.00 per person for visitors with a tour operator. Camping costs an additional 30.00 per day and a night game drive will be 30.00 extra. If you’re looking to use the wilderness trails for a walking safari rather than bringing a vehicle, the cost is 200.00 per person.
Chobe National Park highlights
Chobe National Park is best known for its excellent elephant population – an estimated 50,000 and the highest concentration in Africa. On a safari holiday here, you could be surrounded by hundreds of elephants on a game drive – an unparalleled experience! They are Kalahari elephants, characterised by short tusks.
The Savute region in the heart of the parkland is also excellent for game viewing and you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of antelope and their predators, including lions, cheetah, and hyenas, as well as large herds of zebras. This area is itself a highlight of the park – the Savute channel is a mysterious irregular waterway that has affected the geography and landscape strangely.
Activities at Chobe National Park
The most popular activities are 4WD game experiences with professional guides, night drives, and walking tours. There are also great hides for bird watching enthusiasts to enjoy, plus canoe safaris available on the Linyanti marshes with a mokoro (traditional style dug-out Botswana canoe).
To make your Botswana safari unique, and to get a different view on Chobe, try a river cruise for the chance to get close to hippos, crocodiles and water birds.
Getting to Chobe National Park
Tour operators run from nearby Kasane or from Victoria Falls and Livingstone, with transfers included across the river border of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. The short boat ride arrives just five minutes from Kasane and many of the lodges.
Inside the park reserve, you’ll need a 4WD vehicle to travel between camps and lodges as the road network is relatively primitive. There are no facilities between Maun and Kasane, so stock up food and water before you set out from town.
Search & book accommodation around Chobe National Park
Have you been to Chobe National Park and have any tips to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!