chobe

Things To Do In Chobe National Park Botswana

Things to do in Chobe National Park

Exploring one of the best and top destinations in Botswana is a dream come true for many tourists and Chobe National Park is the one place that you should visit to realize this dream. Located in the Northern part of Botswana, Chobe is the ultimate destination and this is because of the many activities that will keep you busy throughout your stay like star gazing, watching the sunset, birding, game drives, and taking the luxurious guided nature walk around the National Park. In this article, we learn about Chobe National Park and the many activities that you might want to try out.

Places to visit while in Chobe National Park

Nogatsaa: Nogatsaa is famously known for having natural clay pans around it and is one of the divisions within Chobe National Park that has been under-utilized and less visited. It is a good place to watch the large herds of elephants and local tour companies can easily arrange a trip to the region to not only see the clay pans but also to see the wildlife that lives within the area.

The Chobe Riverfront: this is the most visited part of the National Park and is located right next to the Kasane airport. There are lots of accommodation facilities around the Riverfront and the good thing about visiting the area is that the road network is in good condition. Some of the activities that you get to enjoy while here include boat cruises, game drives, guided nature walks, fishing, and birding.

Savute: the Savute region was for over 30 years a dry area that was almost abandoned by many animals since they couldn’t find any water in the region but recently, water started flowing into the Savute channel and swamplands that have attracted animals back to the marsh. The Savute marsh is a top game viewing spot and some of the animals that can easily be spotted include lions, wildebeests, cheetahs, hyenas, and elephants among others.

Linyanti: Linyanti has a wonderful landscape that can be explored during game drives and it is a popular destination for game viewing with tourists. The lagoons and Channels attract a large of animals making it a top tourist destination in Chobe National park.

 

Chobe National Park

Park entry fees

Residents                        adults                                                   30 BWP

Children (8 to 17 years)                     15 BWP

Children below 8 years                      free

 

Non-residents                 adults                                                  120 BWP

Children (8 to 17 years)                     60 BWP

Children below 8 years                      free

 

Citizens                           adults                                                  10 BWP

Children (8 to 17 years)                    5 BWP

Children below 8 years                     free

 

Campsite fees

The rates paid at the campsite are inclusive of a maximum of three vehicles, camp cleaning, a 12%government tax, BBQ facilities, toiletries that are toilet paper and anti-bacterial soap, shower and toilet facilities, and daily rubbish collection. Note that you will not be allowed to gain entrance to the campsites without a reservation, the money for the camp is paid directly to the Botswana wildlife office, the campsites are not fenced and every tourist I supposed to go to their designated campsites. Some of the things that will not be allowed inside the campsites include moving from one campsite to the next, especially during the night, generators, feeding animals, sharing sites, and playing music.

Savuti campsite          Botswana residents                              170 BWP

SADC Residents                                      275 BWP

Botswana Citizens                                 110 BWP

 

Linyanti campsite       Botswana residents                               170 BWP

SADC Residents                                      275 BWP

Botswana Citizens                                  110 BWP

 

Ihaha campsite             Botswana Residents                               125 BWP

SADC Residents                                        175 BWP

Botswana Citizens                                    100 BWP

Vehicle fees

This is valid for 24 hours and it depends on the size and the kilograms that they weigh and all these vehicles should be private.

Below 3500kgs                     foreign registered                       50 BWP

Botswana registered                   10 BWP

 

3500 to 7000kgs                    foreign registered                        1000 BWP

Botswana registered                   500 BWP

 

7000kgs and above                 foreign registered                         1500 BWP

Botswana registered                     800 BWP

Things to do in Chobe National Park

Birding

Chobe National Park has over 450 recorded bird species which makes it a birding paradise filled with both endemic and migratory birds. Several accommodation facilities offer birding excursions to their guests and the activity is best done during the wet season. Bird species that you should look out for in Chobe include the African skimmer, rosy-throated longclaw, egrets, Souza’s shrike, and many more other bird species.

There are a few things that you need to know before traveling to Chobe National Park and these are, the best time to visit the National Park is during the dry season, game viewing and drives are done in 4×4 safari vehicles, and the local currency used is known as the Pula. You can still use dollars but change some of the money you have traveled with to the local currency so that you can transact easily with the local people.

A visit to the baobab prison

The baobab was formerly used as a prison during the colonial era and right in the middle of the prison was a baobab tree where some of the prisoners were tied the prison was also used as a post office. A visit to the prison will help you understand how the colonial era was and gives you more information about the uses of the baobab tree and how the locals use it every day.

Photo safaris 

Photography safaris in Chobe National Park are carried out both in the dry and wet seasons.  During the dry season, you will be able to take pictures of the many animals that converge around the waterholes and these include leopards, hyenas, kudus, wildebeests, zebras, hippos, elephants, red Lechwe, lions, crocodiles and buffalos among others. The wet season comes with the migratory birds which can be seen in their natural habitats and some of the most common bird species include Meyer’s parrot, thrush nightingale, African skimmer, African fish eagle, rosy-throated longclaw, and Souza’s shrike among others. You will need a camera and binoculars for your photo safari and you will also be able to take photos of the vast landscape and wilderness of Chobe National Park, especially during the wet season.

Boat cruises along the Chobe River

Although game drives are what many of the tourists who visit Africa are used to, Chobe National Park comes in with boat rides that will give you a new perspective of game viewing on your safari. This activity is carried out throughout the year although the best time is during the dry season with a variety of wildlife to see. There are small boats for hire that will take you along the Chobe River or you can use the houseboats (Zambezi Queen, Chobe Princess, and pangolin voyager). The boat rides normally take about 2 to 3 hours and wildlife sightings include hippos, zebras, buffalos, elephants, hyenas, and antelopes among others. Many of the lodges found in Chobe National Park offer boat cruise safaris but the best place to have one is at the Chobe safari lodge.

Enjoy a shopping spree at the Kasane Market 

Enjoy a shopping spree at the Kasane market where different merchandise is sold. The market is an open affair where many locals bring their merchandise for sale to be able to earn a living. Fresh vegetables, fruits, Mopane worms, brightly colored Kitenge (African fabric), food, and other art and craft are sold at the Kasane market but do not make the mistake of shopping without your local guide because prices will be hiked. The Kasane market is also an open place meaning there is no fence between the National Park and the market so do not walk far while in the market. You should however note that this is the perfect place for souvenir shopping for people back home.

Enjoy a game drive around the National Park

Game drives are considered to be one of the best in which one can enjoy game viewing on a safari and the same applies to Chobe. Safari drives are carried out both in the morning hours and late afternoon. It is carried out in a 4×4 safari vehicle that has a pop-up at the top or opens on the sides to give you clear views of the wildlife around. The National Park is home to hundreds of animal species with the largest crowds of elephants amounting to over 50,000 and these can be seen during the game drive with other animals like giraffes, lions, leopards, zebras, hyenas, jackals, buffalos, crocodiles, and hippos among others.

Cultural tour 

This is normally carried out on the Namibian side of the Chobe River in the villages that are just adjacent to the Chobe National Park. A trip to the villages gives an insight into the cultures of the local people, their day-to-day lives, and getting to know about their history which is depicted in stories, songs, and dance.

Fishing tour

Besides taking a boat cruise along the Chobe River, fishing is the other water activity that you can try out while on a safari to Chobe. The River and other water channels have different species but the main type that is caught is the Tiger fish. Fishing is always done in the morning hours or late in the afternoon and it is a catch-and-release affair (the fish caught is supposed to be released back into the water).

Guided nature walks

These are mostly carried out around the different lodges around found within the National Park and are only carried out with the help of an experienced tour guide. This is a good way to get to experience the African wilderness on foot and get close to the animals. The guided nature walks are usually done on trails that do not have predators on them.

Getting to Chobe

By road

There are several buses that schedule rides from different places to the National park from the several major towns linking tourists to Chobe. These buses come from all over the place like Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, and Zambia.

By taxis: taxis are some of the most convenient ways of getting to Chobe National Park and these can easily be identified as taxi touts keep on calling out the destination name. Several taxis go to Gaborone and the good thing about using the taxis is that they are reasonably cheap as compared to other means.

By flight

There are several flights from Johannesburg and other surrounding countries to Kasane airport where a 4×4 safari vehicle will be waiting for you to take you to your accommodation and later on around the National Park.

Best time to visit Chobe

Chobe National park is an all-year-round destination and the best time depends on the activities that each tourist would wish to carry out while on a safari to the National ark. The best time however is considered to be the dry season which is from May to November also considered the peak season.