If you plan a visit to Botswana, the Chobe National Park is probably on your list of places to visit. And there is a reason for that, the Chobe River and its surroundings are some of the best spots for wildlife watching on the continent. Here are our recommendations on how to visit the area without blowing all your budget.
Where to stay
There are several cheaper campsites around but most of them are a bit outside the town center so you have to consider the extra cost of transportation. We enjoyed camping at the Chobe Safari Lodge which charges 95 BWP ($10 USD) per person per night. This price is average in Botswana but you are next to the river and you can use all the lodges’ facilities, including the pool.
What to do
There are two main activities from Kasane, a game drive early in the morning to look for big cats and the afternoon cruise on Chobe River. We found the best deals with Dreams Safaris. Our guide for both activities was Oti and he was super friendly, professional and an expert in spotting animals. The boat and safari truck were both in top shape.
Chobe River cruise (270 BWP / $28.5 USD pp)
The first afternoon, we straight away left on a river cruise which started at 3 pm next to the Marina Lodge. For that price, it was such an amazing experience. Pretty soon after leaving the shore, we saw an elephant in the distance. Then, we stopped next to some kudus grazing next to the water when our guide pointed out two small crocodiles, one in the water and one basking on the riverbank.
The rest of the day we saw several birds, large groups of hippos lazying and yawning in the water. The highlight was when we came up to two young male elephants splashing around in the water.
Game drive (180 BWP pp + 70 BWP park entrance / $26.5 USD)
The next morning, Oti picked us up at 5.45 am for our game drive and at 6 am we entered the park. The day before he told us that we are going to look for big cats but they don’t see them all the time. So we didn’t want to get our hopes too high up, but after only 15 minutes of driving, we saw a group of hippos storming into the river.
And then we saw the reason why they ran off, a male and a female lion were just crossing the road 30 meters in front of us. We accompanied them walking along the road for about ten minutes with only two other cars around. When they disappeared in the bushes we drove on.
Even though this was the highlight of the drive, we enjoyed the rest of it as well. Animals we saw included antelopes, crocodiles, a monitor lizard, a jackal and some giraffes. So even without the lions, it would have definitely been worth going on the game drive.