The Best Safari Destinations in Chobe
The best place to view and experience elephants in Africa is in Chobe Botswana but the region is so vast that you need the ultimate guide to a Chobe safari and how to choose the best safari destinations in this thrilling region. It is good to know that the enormous Chobe region covers an incredible 11,000 square km of ecosystem diversity and includes the iconic Chobe Riverfront, Chobe National Park, Savute, Linyanti and Okavango areas further north. For all you need to know about a safari to Chobe National Park read on. The best camps and lodges, the best time to visit and what safari itinerary to choose will define your tour to Botswana in an unforgettable dream holiday.
Tourists need a few weeks to take in this entire region and to see the diversity of habitats from rivers to floodplains, wetlands to grasslands. Flying to Kasane is the best way to start a safari to Chobe and to stay in a range of high-class luxury lodges and rustic eco camps. A safari to Botswana therefore requires good planning and enough time to make the most of the wildlife, landscapes, outdoor activities and world-class safari lodges and camps.
The best safari destinations in Chobe start at the iconic Chobe riverfront (the Serondela area), just one awe-inspiring part of this magical ecosystem. It also features forests and fertile floodplains habituated by herds of herbivores and prides of lions. The Chobe River rises in Angola and is called the Kwando. It takes several dramatic turns and bends as it enters Botswana as the Linyanti River, eventually flowing into the Okavango Delta at the Selinda Spillway as the Chobe River, later flowing into the mighty Zambezi River. See our Chobe properties here:
The very wet and fertile Linyanti lies west of Chobe National Park and features untouched grasslands, riverine forests, channels and lagoons. Birdlife is prolific, animal herds captivating and the sensory beauty overwhelming. Roads are often impassable, so it is advisable to land in small charter planes from Kasane. The mysterious and astounding Savuti Channel is the highlight for many safari enthusiasts who get there in the drier months to see the best wildlife and birds in Botswana. The channel opens out into the Savute marsh and is a mini-delta area where thousands of elephants migrate and wallow. Revel in the beautiful African trees here, from mopane thickets to various acacias and camel thorn trees. Look out for a few small granite koppies as you explore the Savuti region, where ancient San rock art can be viewed. See our range of Savuti and Linyanti safari camps here.
The Best Time to Visit Chobe
As one of Botswana’s top tourist attractions, the Chobe River and Chobe National Park are sought-after safari destinations during most seasons of the year. The best time to visit Chobe is when the dry season starts around April and ends in about October, a time when temperatures are very warm and the days long. It’s the best time to see elephants, buffalo and lions in large prides along the Chobe Riverbanks.
It’s also a good time to venture further into Linyanti and Savute to see birds, large herds of antelope and much more. In October temperatures soar and the wet season is extremely hot and humid. Heavy storms in January and February make way for better weather and game-viewing conditions. Look out for red lechwes in marshy areas, Selous’ mongoose, and serval. Chobe boasts the highest count of southern African raptor species and is home to the endangered African skimmer too.
Best Lodges and Safari Camps in Chobe
Some of the best luxury lodges and safari camps in Chobe sit snugly along the Chobe River in Botswana. Sip cold beers under shady African trees as the sun sets into the horizon and the Fish eagle soars above the still waters. Most Botswana safari-goers fly to Kasane to reach special Chobe accommodations close to the village or located deeper in the Chobe National Park. The Chobe River forms the lifeblood of this region and is a magnet for wildlife and tourists all year round. Chobe National Park is also the setting for the magnificent Savute Channel and the lush Linyanti Swamps, a vast floodplain extension of this enormous biodiversity hotspot in northern Botswana. It’s close to the splendid Okavango Delta so makes the ideal combination holiday tour very possible.
We recommend these best lodges and safari camps in Chobe:
Chobe Elephant Camp – an innovative eco-camp in Chobe National Park made entirely from sandbags, recycled wood and reused furniture. Filled with the red Kalahari sands, these thick walls create a natural barrier against the harsh African climate and enhance the old farm-style feel of the camp. The safari camp perches high on the edge of a rocky ridge overlooking the famous Chobe River and aims to decrease its carbon footprint in line with sustainable tourism. Boasting 10 double rooms, including one family room, it sleeps 24 guests at a time who love the wide range of wilderness experiences laid on.
Chobe Game Lodge – the first five-star lodge of its kind to be built way back in 1972 and the first lodge to be built inside the Chobe National Park along the Chobe riverfront. The best of both worlds, it provides all visitors with an incredible land and river game viewing experience – see the magnificent herds of elephants and the prides of lions Chobe is famous for, right here. Chobe Game Lodge is large and charismatic, a premier venue for game viewing with a female team of staff all committed to top-class conferences, large celebrations, wildlife conservation and ecotourism. Chobe Game Lodge offers 48 rooms with river views and all game drives and boat cruises are eco-friendly (electric and silent) with zero carbon emissions.
Zambezi Queen – the epitome of Chobe houseboat safaris, indulge in a few nights aboard a floating boutique hotel and cruise the Chobe River. It’s all about refined elegance on a unique and adventurous river safari with unsurpassed game viewing as huge herds of elephants stroll down to drink. Fish for Tigerfish, visit local villages and enjoy thrilling game drives in Chobe National Park. Lavish boutique hotel accommodation on a boat in 14 refined suites decorated in simple nautical tones with plenty of sun and light, and wildlife art. Decadent fresh food and an open bar add to your fantasy holiday.
Linyanti Ebony Camp – a flawless safari destination on the watery Linyanti Swamps, overlooking prime wetlands, vast floodplains, lagoons and river channels. Mokoro rides are silent and peaceful, food for the soul at Linyanti Ebony Camp hiding under huge old ebony trees. Wooden structures and decks, a delightful fire boma on sandy floors, a dining deck and an inviting swimming pool ensure all guests are ultra-comfortable on their safari of a lifetime. Only 4 luxury tented suites boast plenty of room for couples and children in a family-friendly venue.
Going on safari to the Chobe River and into Chobe National Park is a quest to see the multitudes of elephants the region is famous for. This is ‘the land of the giants’ indeed, the land of the largest population of elephants in Africa. They inhabit Botswana’s third largest park, and their numbers reach an astonishing 120 000 individuals! Sometimes, an elephant is seen wandering down the Kasane main road. They congregate on the riverbanks when the dry season is ending, from August to October, and are best viewed on a boat cruise, silently watching and learning from these massive intelligent herbivores.
Who would have known that early colonialists hunted the elephants out during the 1800s to mid-1900s, the era of trophy hunting? Thankfully, Chobe Game Reserve was proclaimed in 1960, then Chobe National Park in 1967. Today, Botswana is home to the most elephants on the continent thanks to civil wars in Angola and Mozambique, civil unrest in general and excellent conservation legislation. The ancient elephant migration route once passed through the Chobe River region but now there are too many obstacles and fences in their way, while poaching is still a huge issue in Africa. The elephants are safe in Chobe and have all they need to breed and succeed.
Chobe National Park is one of the best safari destinations in Africa, a diverse and enormous region offering something for everyone: huge herds of elephants and buffalo, prides of lions, incredible plains game and birding. From the Chobe River to the Linyanti and Savute floodplains, then north to the great Okavango Delta, a Botswana safari tour is yours for the asking!