The wildlife along the northern stretch of the Chobe River is so unbelievably concentrated and varied that during a game drive here you may feel as though you have wandered onto the set for an iconic safari movie.

Located conveniently close to Victoria Falls, the Serondela and Chobe Riverfront area is the most accessible and frequently visited part of Botswana’s big game country. One of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe supports a huge diversity and concentration of wildlife. As the dirt road descends from the Sedudu Gate near Kasane in the north, it winds along the Chobe Riverfront for close to 60 kilometres. Vast herds of Cape buffalo fill the air with their bovine scent and sounds as they browse the grasses. Look again, and you’ll see Kalahari elephant in their hundreds – just some of the 120 000 elephant that live in Botswana’s oldest and second-largest park. Keep a sharp eye out for hippo that even in the daytime may stroll right across the road in front of you. Nile crocodile slumber lazily on the banks or float loglike in the waters. During the dry winter months wild animals converge upon the river to drink, making game viewing particularly rewarding. Treat yourself to wildlife viewing by motorboat, which is very popular for good reason.

The rich variety of ecosystems in Chobe National Park supports a striking range of wildlife. In the riverine environment you can see semi-aquatic antelope such as puku, red lechwe and sitatunga. Up to 19 species of antelope can be found throughout the park, as well as large numbers of Burchell’s zebra and giraffe. Of course, these species in turn support predators, and the park has a considerable lion population as well as spotted and brown hyena and leopard (in the forested riverine areas), cheetah and the endangered African wild dog, particularly in the open grassland areas around Savute. Smaller mammals abound, including baboon, warthog, vervet monkey, honey badger, jackal and more. The lucky few may catch sight of the rare endangered pangolin.

Birders can tick off over 460 species of bird in this twitchers’ paradise, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for birding safaris. Notable species include the giant kingfisher, green-backed heron, pied kingfisher, white-fronted bee-eater, carmine bee-eater, African fish eagle, marabou stork, malachite kingfisher and the African skimmer.

To the west, in the park’s interior, is the Savute region, characterized by open grasslands and savannah woodland and best known for its predators, particularly lion, cheetah and hyena, of which there are large resident populations. The erratic Savuti Channel flows from the Linyanti River for about 100 kilometres, carrying water away from the river and releasing it into a vast swampland called the Savuti Marsh and further south onto the Mababe Depression. The Mababe is immense, flat and fringed with thickets of trees; when filled with water, it becomes the venue of choice for thousands of migratory birds and animals, particularly large herds of zebra. The Savuti Channel is famous for its long history of periodically drying up then recommencing its flow, owing to tectonic plate movements. After being dry for 30 years, in 2008 the channel once more became a deep, clear waterway harbouring hippo and aquatic life, with myriad varieties of waterbirds. (Interestingly, the variant spellings of Savute/Savuti are said to derive from the water’s unpredictable flow, with Savute now referring to the land and Savuti to the wetlands.)

In the northwest corner of Chobe you will find the beautiful Linyanti swamp and wetlands. This lush area’s lagoons and floodplains are worth exploring in their own right. The hot, dry Nogatsaa grass woodland lies between the Savuti Marsh and Linyanti. This hinterland is the wildest and least explored part of the park, and is home to large herds of eland.

Chobe National Park

Things to do in Chobe National Park

River cruises

Game-viewing drives

Accommodation in Chobe National Park

Chobe Game Lodge

Experts will tell you that the Chobe Riverfront offers one of the most impressive safari experiences in Africa, which makes ‘the one and only’ Chobe Game Lodge an excellent base for your Botswana wildlife experience. Situated on the famous Chobe Riverfront – which teems with game – Chobe Game Lodge is perfectly placed for safaris by game-viewing boats or 4X4 game-drive vehicles or – if you don’t want to leave your tranquil surrounds – from the comfort of its ‘Far Deck’. The historic Chobe Game Lodge is conveniently situated just 90 minutes’ road transfer from Victoria Falls, and still remains…

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Accommodation in Chobe National Park

Chobe Princess

Get in sync with the timeless flow of life in the Botswana wilderness aboard one of the three Chobe Princess houseboats. Each of these sister vessels is its own totally private, floating ‘boutique hotel’. We cannot imagine a more special way to soak up the wild sights and sounds of the game-rich Chobe River!   Each beautifully appointed Chobe Princess has just four or five cabins, so your family or group of friends has the entire boat to themselves for your river safari. The warmly welcoming crew takes care of your every need, serving up delicious food and astonishing wildlife…

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Accommodation in Chobe National Park

Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge

High on a granite koppie in western Chobe National Park, Ghoha Hills Savuti Lodge is a tranquil sanctuary overlooking a well-visited watering hole and the game-rich plains of the Savuti. You could even spot the Ghoha lions, a pride that roams between the lodge and this waterhole, or spotted and brown hyena – all without leaving the comfort of your home in the bush. Sleep under canvas in one of the 11 luxurious tented suites (two for families) built on wooden platforms with teak floors and private decks. The views from each en-suite tent are spectacular, even from the shower.…

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Accommodation in Chobe National Park

Ngoma Safari Lodge

Its location on a ridge within the Chobe Forest Reserve just 3km from the Chobe National Park means that Ngoma Safari Lodge has panoramic views over the Chobe River and its floodplain. Low-key luxury rules here. The understated yet elegant safari lodge is built of natural materials – think thatch, wood and stone – so that it blends into its surroundings. The charming and airy central lodge area is where you’ll find the guest lounge, dining room, bar and a plunge pool that is extremely welcome in the heat of summer. Beneath the outstretched boughs of an ancient baobab, the…

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