Chobe National Park Through My Lens: A Photo Essay
After our time exploring Victoria Falls on both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides, we crossed the border to Botswana and headed to one of the best places on earth to see African elephants, Chobe National Park.
Chobe National Park was not our first African safari. We had already been lucky enough to see a fair amount of wildlife during our safaris in Uganda, Namibia and then most recently Zambia. Still, Chobe quickly became our favourite park in Africa. The amount of wildlife you can find in Chobe is incredible and each game drive we went on felt more amazing than the ones before. When we thought we’d already seen everything, our guide always seemed to find us a new wildlife sighting to keep us excited. Even after multiple safaris, we were never bored in Chobe.
Where is Chobe National Park?
Chobe National Park is located in Southern Africa, in the northern part of Botswana. The closest town is Kasane, which is 6 kilometres from the entrance to the park.
How to get to Chobe National Park?
Chobe National Park is easily accessible by road from the nearby towns of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and from Livingstone in Zambia. Many people choose to visit Chobe as a day trip from Victoria Falls or Livingstone. After all, it’s only an hour away. But we’d recommend spending more than a day in this incredible park and taking multiple safaris. There’s so much to see that you won’t regret staying longer.
Chobe National Park is also accessible by air. South African Airways offers flights to airports close to the park. From Johannesburg in South Africa it is possible to fly to Kasane, Livingstone (Zambia) and Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe), which are all close to the park. Kasane is the closest of the three.
Inside Chobe National Park
There are two ways to see wildlife in Chobe National Park. You can head up the Chobe River on a boat to observe animals from the water, or you can jump in a jeep and take a game drive to see them from the land. Whatever you choose, you are guaranteed to have some amazing wildlife sightings. If you get the chance, we recommend you do both.
The Chobe Riverfront
The Chobe Riverfront is the most accessible area of the park. It’s also where you will find the largest concentration of wildlife, especially elephants, hippos, buffaloes, crocodiles and birdlife.
Here is some of the wildlife we saw during our sunset boat rides in Chobe National Park.
Game drives in the park
We took four game drives in Chobe National Park and we saw heaps of wildlife. We saw Elephants, giraffes, lions, buffaloes, hippos, zebras, wild dogs, hyenas and much more.
Our first leopard sighting ever!
A game drive is your best best for seeing predators. We’d been to several countries that have leopards (Sri Lanka, India, Namibia and Uganda) but we still hadn’t managed to see one. We were really hoping that Chobe would give us a leopard sighting and fortunately for us, it did!
One morning, our guide, the fantastic Leonard, received a call on his radio, alerting us to a leopard that was lying up in a tree nearby. He quickly drove us over to the tree and we took it in turns to look at her, with all the other jeeps in nearby. But unfortunately, she was so far away that even with binoculars it was hard to see her, let alone take decent photos.
But that same evening, as dusk approached, we decided to go back and see if she was still there. At the exact moment that we reached her tree, we spotted her deftly climbing down the trunk and onto the ground.
Leonard assured us that she would shortly come out onto the road and make her way towards her hunting grounds down near the Chobe River. He wasn’t wrong because a few minutes later, there she was, walking slowly down the road and right past our jeep! I was so ecstatic to finally see a leopard that my hands were shaking, which unfortunately didn’t help my photography!
Watching a Pride of Lions
During the three days we were in Chobe National Park, we watched the same pride of lions. Their pride consisted of four lionesses and three juvenile lion cubs. We were able to watch them going about their daily activities. They twice went on failed morning hunts and then finally succeeded on our last day when they caught a baby buffalo that had fallen over in the bushes.
It was a thrilling experience to watch them, especially when they tried to take on a group of five angry water buffaloes! I had mixed feelings about their hunt; I wanted them to eat because they looked so hungry but I also was glad when they missed their prey. I also felt really sad for that baby buffalo 🙁 Unfortunately that’s the law of the jungle.
Of course, Chobe wouldn’t be Chobe without elephants on every corner! Chobe National Park is home to Africa’s largest elephant population and it’s estimated that over 100,000 of them currently live in the park. Babies, teenagers, females and huge bull elephants, you’ll see them all in Chobe!
When is the best time to visit Chobe National Park?
Most people tend to visit Chobe National Park from May to November. That is the dry season and it’s when game viewing is at its best. But there is really no bad season to visit Chobe National Park. In the wet season from December to April, the animals disperse but it’s the best time for bird watching. The wet season is also the Impala’s birthing season, making it a heaven for the predators. We visited in March and saw more wildlife than anywhere else we’d been in Africa. Visiting in the wet season also means cheaper rates which can save thousands as Africa is not cheap!
What do you need before you go on a safari in Chobe National Park?
A good camera with a good lens is essential!
Some insect repellent to keep those mozzies away!
An action camera for those lion hunting videos!
Binoculars to observe the animals from afar
A hat… it gets hot!
Sunscreen to protect your skin from sunburn
Where to stay in Chobe National Park?
As part of our 10 year wedding anniversary treat, we stayed at the beautiful Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero. Chobe Chilwero is a luxury lodge that offers first class service. It’s located on the Chobe Riverfront, in the heart of the bush at the edge of Chobe National Park. The lodge offers unparalleled panoramic views across the islands and floodplains; you can even see as far as Namibia!
From the lodge’s restaurant, you can look down at families of elephants in the distance, while eating your delicious lunch paired with a glass of lovely South African wine. The lodge’s 15 luxurious suites come on an all-inclusive basis, including all activities in the park (morning and evening game drives as well as sunset boat rides on the river).
Other Accommodation in Chobe National Park
Use the search box below to find other accommodation in Chobe National Park:
For an even more awesome game viewing and safari experience, why not combine your trip to Chobe National Park with some time in the Okavango Delta? The Okavango Delta is another great marvel of Southern Africa.