Chobe National Park



The Chobe National Park is one of Africa’s last havens for its biggest animals and nowhere is that more obvious than the Chobe River in the far north of the park. Home to a vast array of resident animals and an excellent wildlife destination year-round, the river is at its best during Botswana’s long dry season when heavyweight animals arrive in increasing concentrations at what has become the only water source for miles around. You’ll explore the river’s floodplains and surrounding forests on 4X4 game drives looking for elephant, buffalo, giraffe and antelope plus their predators – big cats, crocodiles, hyenas and wild dogs. The birdlife is spectacular and you also have a chance to take to the river on a Chobe boat cruise – a must-do activity in the late dry season. Some lodges located outside the park are permitted to offer guided walks with local naturalists and birding experts.


Decades of dedicated conservation have resulted in the Chobe River becoming the number one destination to see Africa’s biggest herds of elephants. Tens of thousands of them arrive between June and November, juggernaught-sized bulls, jostling juveniles and mothers with wobbly-trunked babies all crowding the river banks in an unforgettable riot of noise and drama. During the driest months (September to November) it’s not uncommon to watch herds swimming across to the Caprivi floodplains, their trunks held up like snorkels. And so successful has their conservation been that these elephants barely acknowledge you as you drive past, making for amazingly close-up shots of Africa’s iconic animal.


With this much wildlife concentrated at the river, it is not surprising that the Chobe River has a great reputation for predators. Prides of lions are the most obvious, dominating the scene during the dry season as they follow herds of buffalo to the river and back, but Chobe’s forests are home to leopards while nomadic cheetahs put in regular appearances on the river’s open floodplains. Spotted hyenas are never very far away from the action – especially when Chobe’s lions are hunting buffalo – while packs of African wild dog occasionally move through the area on the hunt for impala and other antelope. Take a boat trip on the Chobe River to see the most effective predators of them all: Nile crocodiles, measuring up to six metres in length and patiently waiting for their prey.


More than 450 species of bird have been recorded in the Chobe River region, making it one of the best birding destinations in Africa. There is a dazzling display of birds all year round thanks to a generous mix of habitats – storks, spoonbills and egrets by the river, eagles and vultures circling in the sky, kingfishers and rollers hunting insects in the grasslands, woodpeckers and warblers in the forests – but the very best time for bird watching on the Chobe River is during summer – November to April – when migrant species arrive – kites, cuckoos, swallows and swifts as well as paradise flycatchers and the outrageous pennant-winged nightjar. September and October are spectacular months too, with clouds of colourful carmine bee-eaters flitting back and forth from their riverbank nests, and the Chobe River is home to several regional rarities that feature high on a birdwatcher’s tick list such as African skimmer, Pel’s fishing-owl and rock pratincole.


A game drive on the Chobe floodplains will reveal a wealth of wildlife but the best way to see what’s living in and next to the swirling waters of the Chobe River is to get aboard a boat – large or small – and let a local guide show you. Hippos and crocodiles are easily seen, sunning themselves on sandbanks, but look a little closer and you’ll see terrapins and marauding water monitor lizards, whip-tailed reptiles up to two metres long and adding a prehistoric note to the scene. The birdlife is nothing short of spectacular on the river and a pair of keen eyes will pick out animals that prefer the thick cover of the riverside bush such as the exquisitely-patterned Chobe bushbuck and its arch-enemy, the leopard.


Top Experiences


1. Go On An River Safari

Small, manoeuvrable boats get you right up close to elephant and other herds gathered at the water’s edge. River safaris are a relaxing way to view big game and really great for photography too

2. Go On A Game Drive

Game drive vehicles are open-sided, giving you an unobstructed view. Led by your expert guide, you’ll set off along the riverbanks in search of lion, wild dogs and Chobe’s famous elephant herds.

3. Track Big Cats

Teeming with animals from gerbils to giraffes, the Kalahari is classic cat country. It’s Botswana’s best place for cheetah, home to impressively sized lions plus leopards & smaller felines – caracal & wild cat.

4. Go Bird Watching

The birdlife along Chobe River is spectacular! Listen to the cry of the fish eagle; see spoonbills and storks on the floodplains; the colourful flash of a kingfisher and flocks of carmine bee-eaters.

5. Take a Table for Two

Many of Chobe’s lodges are as famous for their romantic ambience as they are for their game viewing; intimate camps, luxurious honeymoon suites & plenty of private pampering.

6. Catch-and-Release Fishing

A few select lodges offer catch-and-release fishing in the Chobe River. If you’d like to spend an afternoon casting for bream or wrestling a toothy tiger fish, then come fishing in Botswana.

7. View Rock Art

Indigenous Khoisan hunters left their mark on the landscape: head for Chobe’s Ghoha Hills for well-preserved examples of ancient rock art, bought to life by local guides.

8. Visit Smoke that Thunders

Victoria Falls is only a 2-hour drive from the Chobe River. Pop across the border to either Zambia or Zimbabwe to see the thundering world wonder up close & personal.

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Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver. She responded to our requests promptly and gave us several options with links to each option; we ultimately chose Lukimbi. She then coordinated our flights to and from the property, arranged the drivers necessary to get us from the airport to the lodge and back again, and sent the appropriate paperwork to each of us to verify each step of the process. We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!


We are six older but experienced travellers who usually do our own planning. Luck led us to Safari Online and Walter. His ideas proved spot on. Throughout our planning Safari Online have been helpful, always answering emailed questions, no matter how basic, straightaway. We’ve had probably our best ever holiday in years of travel, everything went smoothly. Pickups and transfers were on time. Staff in all the places we stayed were friendly and helpful. I can’t think of one adverse remark except maybe seeing a lion that wasn’t asleep, though I think if it could have been arranged Walter would have done so.

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It was excellent all around. Everything worked out well. An experience of a lifetime! The game viewing rides were fun and very informative.

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Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional.  Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

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Excellent communications and service. We dealt with Sabrina and she is awesome. The safari tour was amazing, i can highly recommend going to Elephant Plains. Its a very special place run by awesome people.

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We used Safari Online to put together a mid-range Botswana trip for a group of four going to three different camps and then onto Vic Falls. We asked several operators to provide options (through this great safari bookings website) and Walter Kohrs from Safari Online was easily the most responsive and quickest to provide different but realistic options and at good prices. In the end it was a no brainer to go with Safari Online. Walter always responded to my queries quickly, with honest and valuable responses that were clear and made sense. From our perspective he tailored a good mix of places for both our budget and standard of facilities that suited us perfectly, with enough information and links to help us make our decisions. In the end each camp was different and had different aspects and strengths that made each unique. We loved it.