Are you looking to go on safari to see incredible animals in their natural habitat? Are you looking for somewhere that offers luxury accommodation right up close to the animals? Are you looking for a unique, once in a life time wildlife experience? If so, then Chobe National Park, Botswana’s first National Park, may well be the place for you.
Getting to Chobe National Park is fairly straightforward. It’s located only about 3 miles from Kasane airport which is a local airport. You can transfer there from many South African airports including Johannesburg, or other airports across Africa. We chose an alternative option – we drove from Victoria Falls which was the first stop on this holiday.
Chobe is a piece of paradise. To see the huge herds of elephants in the wetlands, the zebra in the marshes, the buffalo roaming free and hippos in the water – is an experience so special. It makes you feel very small, and incredibly sad, that less and less of this habitat and these animals are in existence every day.
Chobe is made even more special if you choose to stay at the Chobe Game Lodge. This is an eco friendly hotel, right inside the park perimeter. This means you have a head start each morning on all the visiting tourists!
There’s something else special about Chobe Game Lodge – all the guides are female. Guiding is often seen as a male job, and there are so many incredible male guides (so I’m not saying that isn’t good), but it was so special to me to meet empowered, amazing women who are absolutely awesome at their jobs. Interestingly, women were initially hired because they were seen as safer drivers – and I have to say, I felt safe at all times. So thank you to the amazing women of the Lodge who made this trip so special.
Visiting a National Park like this really only means one thing – wildlife, wildlife and more wildlife. It’s best to go out first thing in the morning (be prepared for pre 5am starts) and late at night. This is because it’s just too hot for the animals in the heat of the day.
I personally loved the giraffes, they are just too cute and an absolutely crazy creation of nature!
Chobe is also famous for its lion population which live around the Linyanti marsh. We saw quite a few up close and thought they were beautiful (if a bit scary). I also liked the huge herds of buffalo, although my personal favourite was this characterful guy missing a horn with an egret on his back for company!
Zebra are also really common in the Park and mainly stay in the floodable grasslands, and hippos are a common site in the river and on the banks of it. Interestingly, the guides are most afraid of hippos of all of the creatures, so if you come across one don’t be surprised if your guide tries to get you away as quickly as possible!
Chobe Game Lodge also offers a number of additional experiences, not just 4X4 guided tours. You can also take afternoon tea every day on the board walk looking out to the African plains, cook with the chefs to make your own stirfry or pizza or even venture out for a Chobe sunset river cruise. The colours in the sky literally took my breath away and it’s true that photos can never do the moment justice. It was truly special.
Our time in Botswana was really special, and you can combine a visit here with a safari in the Okavango Delta which is close by as well. There are so many spectacular places in Africa to go on safari – Botswana’s tourist scene is well established and the country is a stable democracy and felt very safe so was the right choice for us. Zimbabwe, looking like it could return to democracy post Mugabe is still struggling economically and politically, but has vast National Parks without the same crowds. South Africa (especially the Kruger which I visited as a child) also has vast, well established parks. Africa is beautiful, and each place offers a different experience – I’m glad we chose Botswana and would make the same choice again.
Thank you for reading – I hope you’ve found this post interesting and helpful if you’re interested in visiting Africa to do a safari and see all of this magnificent wildlife up close. Let me know in the comments below.