Boat cruises in Chobe National Park

Game viewing is the most anticipated activity for many tourists planning a safari to Chobe National park. Game viewing is done using different methods with the most common one being game drives around the National Park. There are however other ways that are relaxing and rewarding and this is where boat cruises along the Chobe River come in. traditional safaris are carried out in a 4×4 safari vehicle but a trip to Chobe will reward you with an exciting way f game viewing while at the same time enjoying a boat cruise.

Boat rides are an all-year-round activity that can be enjoyed both during the wet and dry seasons and the advantage of going for one is that it is a good place to spot the animals that converge along the river banks, especially during the dry season. These come in large numbers allowing tourists to see a variety of animals. The oats normally get close to the animals so that you get that perfect shot at the right time.

Boat cruises are usually carried out in the morning and late afternoon hours when the wildlife can be spotted with ease and each of these takes about 2 to 3 hours. Smaller boats can be used for the boat cruise and these are hired out at an extra cost in case you are doing a solo safari but if you have booked with a local tour company, the guide will book the boat for you. Tourists can also enjoy boat cruises on the houseboats that traverse the Chobe River (these also offer accommodation to their guests) and below is a list of the houseboats that are available for use.

Pangolin voyager: the pangolin voyager offers luxurious accommodation facilities to its guests and also offers numerous activities which include game viewing, fishing, tiger fishing, and guided nature walks. It can be boarded from Kasane in Botswana although it is officially found on the Namibian Side.

The Chobe princess boat: these are three boats each offering luxurious stays to tourists and numerous activities that keep them entertained throughout their stay. Some of the activities include game viewing, birding, fishing, and guided nature walks.

Zambezi Queen: this also offers 14 luxurious accommodation facilities to tourists and it traverses the Chobe River offering different activities like game drives, Guided nature walks, and fishing. To know more about what the houseboats offer and where they can be found, check out our article about houseboat stays in Chobe National Park.

chobe boat safari

What can I enjoy on boat cruises in Chobe?

There are a lot of other activities that you can enjoy while taking a boat cruise along the Chobe River and these include:

Game viewing: best do e during the dry season, a boat cruise along Chobe River will reward you with great sights of the different animals that are found in the National Park. Some of the animals to look out for include elephants, lions, kudus, giraffes, warthogs, crocodiles, African wild dogs, wildebeests, hyenas, zebras, hippos, leopards, red Lechwe, sitatungas, and buffalos among others.

Birding: this is one of the activities that tourists enjoy while on boat cruises in Chobe and it is best carried out during the wet season when the migratory birds fly into the country. A few of the commonest bird species found along the Chobe River include African fish Skimmer, African fish eagle, thrush Nightingale, Rosy-throated billed roller, Red-necked falcon, and yellow-bellied Greenbul among others.

Fishing: fishing at the Chobe River is a catch and release affair that is carried out in small boats. It is mainly carried out in the morning and the best time to go fishing is around the month of August.

Things to carry on a boat cruise in Chobe

Binoculars: binoculars are a must on boat cruises along the Chobe River if you want to get great and clear views of the surrounding areas and wildlife. Some boat companies provide binoculars but we advise that you carry personal ones and first rest to see them that can easily be adjusted (zoom) before packing one.

Essentials: you need to pack light as you head out for a boat cruise in Chobe and a few of the essential things that you should choose include insect repellent, sunscreen, a sun hat, snacks, a waterproof backpack, and bottled water.

Camera: this should be one of the first things to be packed as you plan for a boat cruise in Chobe. Cameras help you keep your memories alive but do not forget to carry extra batteries and extra memory cards because you do not know how many photos you will be able to take.

Neutral colored clothes: it’s a boat cruise with the overhead sun and heat so there is no need to dress up for it. Get neutral-colored clothes especially Khaki to blend in with the wilderness and avoid white and black since they are known to attract insects.

Best time for Boat cruises

Chobe National Park is an all-year-round destination and boat rides that are carried out along the Chobe River depend on a lot of factors but most especially the seasons and other activities on your itinerary.

The wet season which is experienced from November to March is the best time for photo safaris and birding because of the migratory birds seen during this time. January and February are known to be the wettest months but you do not need to worry because even though sometimes the showers are heavy, they do not take the whole day and will not disorganize your activities. A boat ride along Chobe River lets you view the different bird species that are ever present during the wet season. This is also a good season for tourists traveling on a low budget and trying to avoid crowds since the cost of accommodation during this time is always reduced.

The dry season on the other hand which is experienced from May to November is the best time for tourists to go for boat rides along the Chobe River. This is because this is the best time to go for game viewing as many animals can be seen along the River banks cooling off from the hot temperatures that can reach about 95 degrees Fahrenheit.