Occupying a vast swathe of territory in Botswana’s north-east, Chobe National Park belongs among the elite of southern Africa’s wildlife destinations.

Chobe incorporates two distinct regions: Chobe River (close to the Zimbabwe and Zambia borders), famous for its large elephant herds; and Savute (in the west), where a juxtaposition of contrasting habitats and handful of pumped water holes sustain a melting pot of species.

Chobe national park

Classic views over Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park highlights

Close to Kasane, the Chobe Riverfront section of the park is wonderfully accessible and can be enjoyed on a game or wildlife drive, or on a boat safari from Kasane and out on the Chobe River.

The Savute (sometimes spelled Savuti) region out in the west of the park, serves as a transition zone between the Riverfront and the Okavango Delta. It has a small number of tented camps, mobile camps, and campsites, and you can either fly in or self-drive. Savute can get busy, but safari vehicle densities are nothing like those in East Africa or even Chobe Riverfront.

Chobe National Park wildlife

Chobe in general, but especially the riverfront, has one of the highest elephant densities in Africa and close-up sightings are almost guaranteed.

Lions and leopards are also possible here, with giraffe, zebra, buffalo, hippo and crocodiles all commonly seen.

Game-viewing on the permanent Chobe River is best during the dry season, when elephants and buffalo regularly swim across the broad waterway to feed on the lush islands – the sight of a herd of submerged elephants using their trunks as snorkels is unforgettable. The plentiful birdlife (including several near-endemic species) is also best appreciated from the river.

Game drives are the order of the day in Savute where wildlife-viewing is good year-round. Savute is known for its predators – I’ve always had luck with lion, leopard and cheetah here, and on my last trip I spent an afternoon watching a highly active den of African wild dogs. As with the rest of Chobe, elephants are everywhere in Savute.

Best safari lodges in Chobe National Park

Savute Under Canvas: Easily the pick of the mobile camps in Chobe, &Beyond’s tented camp moves around the park almost weekly and captures the spirit of a mobile camp at its best.

Chobe Game Lodge: the only lodge inside the park gives you a chance to get ahead of the crowds in the early mornings.

Pangolin Lodge: a specialist photographic boat with swivel seats and gimbal mounts makes this an ideal choice for keen photographers.

Kubu Lodge: a charming affordable option in nearby Kazungula.

Savute Safari Lodge: a great value camp overlooking its own waterhole with experienced guides and a friendly atmosphere.

About the authors

Safari in Chobe National Park

James Gifford

James is an award-winning photographer and journalist based in Botswana. His work on Botswana's wildlife, landscapes and culture has been published in numerous publications including The Times, The Guardian, BBC Wildlife, Lonely Planet, CNN Traveller, amongst many others.

Safari in Chobe National Park

Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned travel journalist and guidebook author and is one of the world's leading authorities on Africa safari, wildlife and conservation. He has been travelling to Africa for more than two decades to research Africa safari guidebooks for Lonely Planet. He is widely published in The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Monthly, Virginia Quarterly Review (VQR), National Geographic Traveler, BBC Wildlife, Lonely Planet Traveller, Africa Geographic, The Independent, Travel Africa, among many others.

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