Exploring the Chobe National Park on and along the mighty Chobe River is a feast for the senses and an all-round breath-taking experience – one not to be missed in Botswana.
The Chobe is one of the major rivers feeding the great Zambezi and is the life-source of the animal, bird and plant life that flourishes in the Chobe National Park, in northern-most Botswana. It is also home to Africa’s largest elephant population, which gives it its rightful title as ‘The Land of the Giants’. Not only is it brimming with approximately 120 000 elephants, it is Botswana’s third largest park.
As the Chobe River is the main gathering point for Chobe National Park’s dense and diverse concentrations of wildlife in this region, the best way to explore this region is by boat. This is what you can expect from a water safari in Chobe National Park:
Elephants in abundance
Opportunities to encounter elephants going about their daily activities abound whilst crusing along the Chobe River. Although there are undoubtedly an abundance of elephants around the Chobe River, a water safari also is about great viewing of other wildlife.
Whether they are tucking into the lush grass on the riverbanks, dipping their trunks in to quench their thirst or even swimming across the river with trunks raised, seeing them from whilst positioned in the water provides a special perspective.
There are plenty of hippos and crocodiles in the river, while buffalo, giraffe, red lechwe and waterbuck can be seen grazing on the shore. You may be lucky to see a puku. This antelope is only seen in this part of Botswana. As the Chobe River is a great watering hole for plains game to gather, there can be opportunities to witness lions ambush and take down prey that are often caught unaware.
With over 450 bird species, Chobe is a great destination for avid birders, particularly a large variety of waterbird species.
Birding from a boat trip is an excellent opportunity to get up close to birds wading among or perching on the water-grasses lining the riverbanks. A water safari makes for truly immersive photography. Special waterbird species include the saddle-billed stork, African skimmer and African darter along with a variety of kingfishers.
Fish eagles can be heard calling as they fly overhead and an incredible sight is seeing them swoop down near to the boat to catch their prey. Birders should plan to visit Chobe National Park from November to April when migrants visit the park and large colonies of waterbirds nest on the riverbanks.
When you’re not sailing past elephants, gasping at a hippo’s open mouth or peeking into the reeds to find a malachite kingfisher, you can sit back, relax and simply take in the scenery while enjoying first-class service.
Under One Botswana Sky offers guests staying at Chobe Safari Lodge and Chobe Bush Lodge fantastic experiences on the Chobe River throughout the day. Guests can clink glasses from the side of the boat as the sun sinks below the horizon illuminating the sky with stunning pinks and oranges. By night, a candelit dinner can be enjoyed bobbing on the calm river with just the nocturnal bush sounds and chatter of fellow guests filling the air.
Inspired to explore Chobe National Park via the Chobe River? We have lodges to suit all tastes and budgets. Chat to us about planning and booking your water safari in this beautiful corner of Botswana.