CHOBE in BOTSWANA
Up close mammal, reptile and bird viewing by boat within a tranquil and exceptionally special wildlife environment of quiet lagoons and papyrus fringed islands.
Each houseboat acts as a ‘mother ship’ with two or more aluminium ‘skiffs’ in tow for exploring the channels and back waters as well as getting close to the elephant and buffalo coming down to the river to drink at dusk.
Most months but best in the cool winter from May to September when herds of elephant and buffalo come down to drink. Birding is exceptional with many of the larger storks, eagles, herons in constant attendance. African Skimmer and Rock Pratincole favour the drier months when the sandbanks and rocky outcrops on which they breed are exposed by receding water levels.
The Chobe river in Kasane is lined with hotels of varying standards bringing in large volumes of tourists. To preserve something of the wilderness experience we highly recommend staying on one of the limited number of luxury houseboats holding special concessions to operate within the Chobe National Park. Rates vary according to time of year from highly affordable to expensive. Given the quality of the experience and the all found hospitality approach, embracing the daily rate and river related activities, this represents excellent value for money.
Flying in via Victoria Falls or Livingstone and taking a transfer to the Botswana border or flying directly from Johannesburg to Kasane in Northern Botswana is the only practical way to go. A ‘meet & greet’ service is now established practice. Transfers to the houseboats on the Chobe river are done by boat from Kasane.
- Game viewing by skiff with elephants as the main focus of attention as they come down to bathe and drink.
- Close up views of hippo, crocodile and monitor lizards on the many sandbanks.
- Birding is exceptional with a number of highly localised and specialist species occurring within the labyrinth of channels and lagoons.
- ‘Catch & release’ tiger fish and bream fishing under expert guidance.
- Photography in its many forms as the day and wildlife mix of interest dictates.
- Lazing alongside the pool and enjoying the surrounding ambiance in a state of perfect relaxation.
Due to high volume of tourist traffic in the Chobe area we recommend 2 or 3 nights on a house boat which provides the opportunity to get away from the crowds in the backwaters of the Chobe River.
A stay on a luxury houseboat is a great add-on to an overland tour or an Okavango safari: besides the fact that it is a very relaxing way to view wildlife and birds, it is also excellent value for money within the very high end mix of safari options in Botswana.