Ranking as the second largest park in Botswana, Chobe National Park is also one of the most famous. The elephant population here is the largest in all of Africa with approximately 50,000 elephants in the park at any one time. Their numbers are staggering and awe-inspiring, especially when seen concentrated on the banks of the Chobe River. Some very rare antelope also call this place home, including Sable, Roan and Puku. The boating safaris here are some of the best in Africa and offer a great chance to see hundreds of hippos, crocodiles and other wildlife from a very different perspective. The park is very easy to access with flights directly into Kasane and Victoria Falls/Livingstone are only an hour’s drive away.
Unfortunately, because of this accessibility, the park is exposed to very high levels of self-drive and overland safari traffic. The worst of this traffic is usually focussed around the busy Kasane area. There are two notable exceptions which are worth considering here though. The first is Chobe Chilwero, which is the most luxurious lodge in the area and offers fantastic low season rates. The second is Chobe Game Lodge, which is the only lodge to be situated inside the park itself and enjoys a quieter riverfront location. However, if your budget is sufficient we would always recommend that you focus on the private concessions for which Botswana has become so famous.
If budget is a concern, then two or three nights in Chobe can certainly help to bulk up your itinerary. In this case we would recommend staying further west in the Chobe Forest Reserve, either at Ngoma, Muchenje or Chobe Elephant Camp. These properties still offer access to the national park itself but, because they are situated outside, they are also able to offer night drives and walking safaris in addition to the usual game drives. You then have the added benefit of steering clear of the Kasane traffic.
Further south-west, away from the Chobe River we come to an area known as Savute. This area has long been known for offering some phenomenal game viewing, fuelled by the rich Savute Marsh. This is the land of the elephant-hunting lions and a host of other predators including leopard and hyena. The wildlife interactions here can be incredible but unfortunately there is also a lack of diverse activities (game drives only) combined with no off-road driving and relatively high vehicle traffic to contend with.