The Chobe River runs along the northern border of the Chobe National Park in the far north-east of Botswana. The river is the border between Botswana and Namibia. It then flows into the Zambezi River which borders Namibia and Zambia and Zimbabwe and Zambia.
The river is a buzz of wildlife and activity. Much like most of the national parks in Botswana, the wildlife population is abundant. With that, however, brings more tourism. There are quite a few boat safaris along the river, as well as a few permanently set up houseboats. It wasn’t too busy while we were there, though I can imagine it getting quite crowded during the peak season.
During the dry, winter season the river is packed with elephants, all gathering around to cool off and drink in the river. We were there in November and they had already had some decent rains so the elephants and large population of antelope had already migrated into the Savuti marshlands. I’ll admit to being really disappointed about this as elephants are my favourite animals, and the main reason that I fell in love with Botswana on my first trip into the country. Nonetheless, we still saw loads of animals and I was able to fall a little bit more in love with the hippos of the river.
For other elephant and wildlife lovers, the best time to go is during the winter months of May through to September / October. However for serious bird lovers, the Chobe area is amazing in the wet summer months when the migrant birds are in full colour, and the antelope start having their young. I have never seen so many baby impalas!
Chobe National Park is also a perfect day trip for travelers staying in Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) or Livingston (Zambia). Check out this blog post for more details for a day trip to Chobe National Park (including a river cruise).
Chobe River Safari Cruise
Most of the lodges in the area will likely have their own boat, like Ngoma Safari Lodge where we stayed. They offer an activity for a full day safari which kicks off with a river safari cruise in the morning, followed by a game drive for the rest of the day. It’s a whole lot easier when your accommodation sorts this all out for you, as you then don’t have to worry about transfers to and from the river as well as trying to find a decent tour company to take you. The boat that we went on was quite spacious, comfortably fitting seven of us (with space for a few more!).
The cruise probably lasted about two hours, though I was having so much fun I didn’t take note of the time. We saw some incredible sightings while on the river, including hippos, crocodiles, antelope, buffalos, lions, and a few birds. We then saw even more wildlife on our afternoon game drive after the cruise. So, all in all, it was a great game viewing day.
Chobe River Safari Cruise in 12 Photos
When describing a safari, the best way is always with photos. So I’ve picked out twelve of my favourite photos from the boat cruise, that I hope will relay how incredible the experience was.
Thank you to Africa Albida Tourism and fastjet for sponsoring this trip. As always, all views and opinions expressed are my own.
Interested in a trip to Chobe and Victoria Falls? Here’s the Perfect Six-Day Victoria Falls and Botswana Itinerary.