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Occupying a great woodland wilderness between the eponymous Chobe River and the fringes of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Chobe National Park is one of Africa’s heavyweight reserves and a sanctuary for some of the continent’s healthiest populations of elephant, buffalo, lion, giraffe, zebra – the megafauna, the safari big hitters. Diverse and dramatic on its own, it’s also a destination that combines easily with the Okavango and Victoria Falls. No matter however – and whenever – you fit Chobe into your itinerary, here’s what we consider the 10 best things to see and do in Chobe:

Dry season game viewing

1. The Big Thirst: Sensational Dry Season Game Viewing

If you really, really want to see as many wild African elephants as possible, it’s hard to think of a better destination than the Chobe River at the end of Botswana’s enervating dry season. The virtually rainless winter begins in May and by late August the rest of the park has dried out; the resulting concentrations of animals on the riverfront must be seen to be believed.

In the heat of September and October, thousands of elephants arrive cheek-by-jowl with enormous buffalo herds, trailed by prides of sleek lions. Game drives and boat cruises take you into the centre of the action and the tell-tale clicking of cameras confirms what you might have thought: there is some seriously good up-close photography to be had.

When to Go:

  • May to July: Bone dry with cold nights, famous dry-season game viewing
  • August to October: Very hot and dry, magnificent game viewing

Where to stay:

Chobe National Park, Botswana
ChobeGameLodge-Exterior-SwimmingPool ChobeGameLodge-Dining-Supper ChobeGameLodge-Exterior-StandardRoom ChobeGameLodge-Interior-GuestArea ChobeGameLodge-Interior-LuxuryRoom ChobeGameLodge-Bathroom-LuxuryRoom ChobeGameLodge-UpperLevelBedroom-LuxuryRoom

Chobe Game Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat-based safaris Game drives River cruises
Caprivi, Namibia
ChobeSavannaLodge-Exterior-CommunalArea ChobeSavannaLodge-Dining-DeckPatio ChobeSavannaLodge-Interior-Lounge ChobeSavannaLodge-Dining-Sunset ChobeSavannaLodge-Interior-LuxuryRoom ChobeSavannaLodge-UpperLevelBedroom-BalconyVerandah ChobeSavannaLodge-SwimmingPool-Drinks

Chobe Savanna Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Cultural visits Fishing
Chobe National Park, Botswana
SANCTUARY CHOBE CHILWERO Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Brick-and-thatch suites. Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana

Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Boat excursions Fishing Game drives Photographic safaris
River boat cruises

2. Water Delight: Chobe River Boat Cruises

Any visitor to the area would be remiss to leave without experiencing a Chobe boat safari. The river is an ecosystem as productive as its floodplains and forests; great rafts of snoozing hippos are easy to spot and the odd crocodile (there are still some big ones here), as well as water monitors – six feet of temperamental, whip-tailed lizard. The bird watching is excellent so be sure to keep a pair of binoculars on hand, they are also perfect for getting a closer look at herds drinking from the river’s edge. A boat cruise is also the best chance of seeing elephants at play in water and even a river crossing.

Some lodges offer boat cruises, which we’d recommend saving it for the afternoon activity as early mornings are prime game viewing time and best saved for a game drive. Plus, it’s much cooler on the water in the heat of the afternoon. Choose between the exclusivity and flexibility of a private speedboat and guide or the convivial atmosphere of a larger, shared boat.

A further option to consider is try out a ‘silent’ safari. Instead of the standard boat, head out on the Chobe River with an electric boat that creates almost no noise. Not only are electric boats more sustainable and lower impact long-term but often allow for closer game viewing. Find out everything you need to know in our ultimate guide to a Chobe safari.

When to Go:

  • April and May: A ‘green’ safari time of year with less travellers and fuller rivers.
  • June to August: ‘Peak season’ with optimum game viewing conditions as the land dries up and wildlife converge at the riverbanks.

Where to Stay:  

Chobe National Park, Botswana
SANCTUARY CHOBE CHILWERO Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Brick-and-thatch suites. Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana Sanctuary Retreats - Chobe Chilwero Lodge, Chobe National Park, Botswana

Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Boat excursions Fishing Game drives Photographic safaris
Chobe National Park, Botswana
ChobeUnderCanvas-Exterior-CommunalArea ChobeUnderCanvas-Exterior-StandardRoom ChobeUnderCanvas-Interior-StandardRoom ChobeUnderCanvas-Bathroom-StandardRoom ChobeUnderCanvas-Activity-Drinks ChobeUnderCanvas-Dining-Lunch ChobeUnderCanvas-Dining-Drinks

Chobe Under Canvas

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Boat excursions Game drives Photographic safaris Specialist guides
Botswana, Botswana
Each room has an en suite bathroom with bath as well as indoor & outdoor showers. Air conditioning & mosquito nets ensure a good night's sleep at Ngoma Lodge. Overlooking the Chobe floodplains, super-secluded Ngoma Lodge is perfect for honeymooners. Meals at Ngoma enjoy Chobe River views whether served at the main lodge or in your suite. Professional guides lead early morning walks for a fascinating alternative to game drives. Ngoma's signature baobab tree stands sentinel over the lodge's swimming pool. Game drives into the Chobe National Park deliver plenty of close-up wildlife sightings.

Ngoma Safari Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Full-day safaris Game drives
Savuti predator action

3. Predator City: Savuti’s Dramatic Action

Savuti, Savute…however you choose to spell it, will always be ‘Predator City’. Found in the remote, wild heart of the park, the Savuti region is fed by a channel of clear water that attracts great concentrations of animals as the dry season bites. Fortunately, that also means hunters like lions, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs are lured into plain sight.

The San Bushmen knew there was good hunting in Savuti – they left paintings of their prey in the Ghoha Hills nearby – and although they may be gone, Africa’s big predators are certainly still around. Cheetah, wild dog and leopard are often seen in Savuti, but it’s the rivalry between the area’s lions and spotted hyenas that have made Savuti so famous. Fights between the two species often erupt over territory and kills – some visitors to Savuti have been kept awake at night by the thrilling rumble of a far-off battlefield.

Deadly and dramatic in the dry season and hugely rewarding in the green summer months (a zebra migration arrives in time for Christmas), Savuti is a year-round destination. For the classic experience, stay at Savuti Bush Camp or Savute Safari Lodge.

When to Go:

  • July to October: Dramatic peak-season game viewing.
  • December to March: Excellent bird watching and zebra migration.

Where to Stay:

Savuti, Botswana
SavutiCamp-Exterior-ArealView SavutiCamp-Exterior-DeckPatio SavutiCamp-Dining-BomaCampFire SavutiCamp-Dining-Elephant SavutiCamp-Exterior-SwimmingPool SavutiCamp-Interior-CommunalArea SavutiCamp-Interior-Supper

Savuti Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Day tours Fishing
Chobe National Park, Botswana
SavuteSafariLodge-Entrance-MainEntrance SavuteSafariLodge-Exterior-ArealView SavuteSafariLodge-Dining-Elephant SavuteSafariLodge-Dining-Lunch SavuteSafariLodge-Exterior-BomaCampFire SavuteSafariLodge-Interior-GuestArea SavuteSafariLodge-Interior-Lounge

Savute Safari Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
4x4 Drives Game drives Game viewing
Savuti, Botswana
Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Tented suite Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Suites and Swimming pool Each tented suite captures the essence of a classic African safari with all the luxury trimmings. Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Boma A romantic dinner set up by the pool for honeymooners. Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Pool view The en suite bathrooms feature flush toilets, a walk-in shower and complimentary toiletries.

Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Guided walks Star gazing
Authentic tented camps

4. Canvas and Candlelight: Chobe’s Authentic Tented Camps

With all this talk of elephant herds and lion prides, you may feel that Chobe is a destination that doesn’t lend itself to being in a small, unprotected tent. Fortunately, that’s not true! Camping in Chobe means huge walk-in tents set under shady trees along with all the details: tinkling ice cubes in tall glasses and fresh bread from an underground oven. It’s Hemingway without all the shooting and shouting.

A mobile Chobe camping safari is undoubtedly the most adventurous way to discover this region. You’ll stay in fully staffed, pre-erected camps with hot-water bucket showers and a silver service mess tent that would make old Ernest rub his hands in glee. Your setting is unrivalled: private, unfenced sites away from all the other visitors but in prime position for game viewing – you’ll be the first out there in the morning and the last back at night. Not to mention the exceptional knowledge of local guides.

When to Go:

  • A year-round destination with cooler, dry nights from May to July after which the weather gets warmer and heads into green season from November.

Where to Stay:

Linyanti, Botswana
LinyantiBushCamp-Dining-BomaCampFire LinyantiBushCamp-Exterior-DeckPatio LinyantiBushCamp-Dining-DeckPatio LinyantiBushCamp-SwimmingPool-Evening LinyantiBushCamp-UpperLevelBedroom-LuxuryRoom LinyantiBushCamp-Exterior-Bath LinyantiBushCamp-Bathroom-StandardRoom

Linyanti Bush Camp

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Full-day safaris Game drives Guided walking safaris
Chobe National Park, Botswana
ChobeUnderCanvas-Exterior-CommunalArea ChobeUnderCanvas-Exterior-StandardRoom ChobeUnderCanvas-Interior-StandardRoom ChobeUnderCanvas-Bathroom-StandardRoom ChobeUnderCanvas-Activity-Drinks ChobeUnderCanvas-Dining-Lunch ChobeUnderCanvas-Dining-Drinks

Chobe Under Canvas

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Boat excursions Game drives Photographic safaris Specialist guides
Savuti, Botswana
SavuteUnderCanvas-Exterior-ArealView SavuteUnderCanvas-Exterior-BomaCampFire SavuteUnderCanvas-Interior-StandardRoom SavuteUnderCanvas-Dining-GuestArea SavuteUnderCanvas-Dining-BushDinner SavuteUnderCanvas-Activity-GameDrive SavuteUnderCanvas-Exterior-GameDrive

Savute Under Canvas

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Specialist guides
Bird-watching paradise

5. Flocking Together: A Bird-watching Paradise

With over 450 species on record, there is no shortage of chances to see birds in Chobe National Park; in fact, it’s somewhat of a twitcher’s paradise. The resident birds are exciting enough – African fish eagles and vultures, dazzling lilac-breasted rollers, and giant eagle owls – but when the hordes of summer migrants arrive, it’s enough to make anyone reach for a pair of binoculars.

The Chobe River is a great birding destination year-round (combine game drives and boat cruises for maximum diversity) but Savuti is hard to beat in the green summer months between November and April. Flocks of vivid crimson bee-eaters patrol the grasslands, great numbers of raptors follow insect outbreaks, and once-dry waterholes now brim with wildfowl and waders. As for accommodation – stay anywhere. Lodge gardens make for great armchair birding – you could easily knock off 20 species off your list before you’ve had a chance to sit down properly. Just wait for a game drive with a specialist guide, your head will constantly be turning!

When to Go:

  • November to April: Green season, a bird watcher’s paradise.

Where to Stay:

Botswana, Botswana
Set under giant riverside trees, Chobe Safari Lodge has one of the area's best locations. The bathrooms of the lodge's River & Safari Rooms each feature a bath & shower. Natural materials & earthy colours combine to please the eye at Chobe Safari Lodge. Complete with satellite television, your accommodation is well-furnished both inside & outside. There's a pool as well as an internet cafe, volleyball & squash court plus a health & beauty salon. Rooms at Chobe Safari Lodge are all air-conditioned & have their own private bathroom. The lodge's riverside location allows for easy access onto the Chobe River by boat.

Chobe Safari Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Day tours Fishing
Savuti, Botswana
Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Tented suite Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Suites and Swimming pool Each tented suite captures the essence of a classic African safari with all the luxury trimmings. Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Boma A romantic dinner set up by the pool for honeymooners. Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge - Pool view The en suite bathrooms feature flush toilets, a walk-in shower and complimentary toiletries.

Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Game drives Guided walks Star gazing
Victoria Falls day trip

6. Sensory Overload: A Day Trip to Victoria Falls

Not only is Victoria Falls UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the ‘Seven Natural Wonders of the World’, it also holds the title as the world’s biggest uninterrupted sheet of falling water. It’s 1.5 times wider and double the height of Niagara Falls! From time to time, this colossal waterfall’s soul-stirring roar can be heard up to 25 miles or 40 kilometres away, ergo its traditional name of ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ or ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Chobe’s gateway, the town of Kasane is narrowly out of earshot, making it a fantastic location from which to enjoy a Victoria Falls day trip.

When to Go:

  • February to July: Most spectacular views of Victoria Falls.
  • August to January: Best time for white-water rafting and swimming in Devil’s Pool.

Where to Stay:

Botswana, Botswana
Elephant_valley_lodge_Boma_ Elephant_valley_lodge__swimming_pool Elephant_valley_lodge_lunch_with-a_view Elephant_valley_lodge_lounge Elephant_valley_lodge_tent_interior Elephant_valley_lodge_common_area Elephant_valley_lodge_Patio_view

Elephant Valley Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat-based safaris Game drives Game viewing
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe Bakwena Chobe Bakwena Chobe Bakwena Chobe Bakwena Chobe Bakwena Chobe Bakwena Chobe Bakwena

Chobe Bakwena Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Fishing Game drives
Sustainable Safaris

7. Sustainable Safaris: Community & Female Empowerment

If you choose to stay at Chobe Game Lodge, there’s also the unique opportunity to experience the Chobe Angel’s, an all-female safari guiding team. Chobe Game Lodge has hired female guides since 2004 when Florence Kagiso became the movement’s trailblazer, claiming the title of the first women to join the team inside Chobe National Park. At the time, there were only 8-10 female guides in the country. Today, that number is 60 strong and counting.

When to Go:

  • A year-round destination.

Where to Stay:

Chobe National Park, Botswana
ChobeGameLodge-Exterior-SwimmingPool ChobeGameLodge-Dining-Supper ChobeGameLodge-Exterior-StandardRoom ChobeGameLodge-Interior-GuestArea ChobeGameLodge-Interior-LuxuryRoom ChobeGameLodge-Bathroom-LuxuryRoom ChobeGameLodge-UpperLevelBedroom-LuxuryRoom

Chobe Game Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat-based safaris Game drives River cruises
Crossing into Namibia

8. Switching Sides: Crossing the River into Namibia

Just a short boat cruise across the Chobe River lies Namibia’s Caprivi region, a narrow strip of country that is often described as Namibia’s answer to the Okavango Delta. It supports dense concentrations of wildlife like elephants, hippos and buffalo, as well as the rare puku antelope. If you’re looking for a private, secluded and aquatic safari experience after a couple of days of game driving around the Chobe National Park, head on over to the northern bank of the Chobe River. Catch-and-release fishing trips for Chobe bream and tiger fish are firm favourite activities here, as well as a cultural village visit to learn more about local Namibian traditions.

When to Go:

  • A year-round destination.

Where to Stay:

Caprivi, Namibia
ChobeSavannaLodge-Exterior-CommunalArea ChobeSavannaLodge-Dining-DeckPatio ChobeSavannaLodge-Interior-Lounge ChobeSavannaLodge-Dining-Sunset ChobeSavannaLodge-Interior-LuxuryRoom ChobeSavannaLodge-UpperLevelBedroom-BalconyVerandah ChobeSavannaLodge-SwimmingPool-Drinks

Chobe Savanna Lodge

Activities Travellers Enjoyed
Bird watching Boat excursions Cultural visits Fishing
Chobe National Park, Botswana