Hotels in and around the Chobe Park suburb
The Chobe River is actually the lower part of a much longer waterway called the Cuando River. The Cuando rises in Angola’s central plateau, and then extends southeast along the border of Zambia, through Namibia and Botswana (forming the border) and then into the Zambezi. Because the Chobe supplies so many swamps with water on its way to Botswana, not much is left to enter into the Zambezi, unless there have been exceptionally good rains.
The Caprivi Swamps of Namibia are on the northern side of this impressive river. These are alive with wildlife, including crocodiles and hippos. Southern Africa is known for its diverse and fascinating array of animal- and plant life. These animals frequently make use of the river and its swamps in which they drink, bathe and even live.
Along its course, the Chobe River boasts many different types of landscapes. Some areas are characterised by stark plains that have been decimated by frequent floods, beautiful in their own way. Others are densely wooded, forest-like areas that are home to many animals.
Botswana's Chobe National Park is a popular tourist destination, the border of which is formed by the river of the same name.
The Chobe, Okavango and Zambezi Rivers are believed to have all flowed as one massive waterway millennia ago. They are thought to have wound through the Kalahari Desert and into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean before the Earth's land masses moved and caused the water courses and river structures to change.
Botswana is fairly close to Johannesburg's OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa. Gaborone is also equipped with an international airport, making access to Chobe River simple and efficient. Flights entering directly into Botswana are not always conducted on a regular basis, and must be confirmed with your tour operator well in advance. It is recommended that visitors fly from Johannesburg's OR Tambo Airport to Livingstone or Victoria Falls, and drive the remaining distance to the river (approximately 1.5 hours' drive).
The Chobe River covers some distance and the quality of the roads cannot be guaranteed along the way. Tourists are advised to hire a 4 x 4 vehicle, as normal cars may struggle in sandy, wet or muddy conditions.
In Botswana itself, licensed taxis are evident by their blue number plates. Minibus taxis are available, but visitors are cautioned about the road-worthiness and adherence to road rules of these ones. The railway system is efficient, but does not travel as widely as the taxis and busses do. Most of the roads are tarred, particularly in places like Gaborone.
The Chobe River is best experienced by appreciating the game, birds and insects that have built their lives around this water source. Cruises down the river are conducted by Chobe National Park and allow visitors to experience the crocodiles and hippos that occupy the river, as well as the elephants, baboons, buck and many more that drink from it.
Game drives in your own vehicle, or conducted through the park, are a definite must. Embarking on one of these in the early morning and late afternoon will allow tourists to witness the different kinds of animals when they emerge for feeding, bathing and drinking, once the hot midday sun has abated. Some of these magnificent animals include buffalos, lions, impalas and giraffes. There is a high population of leopards around the Chobe River. However, these creatures are shy, and it takes a skilled eye to spot them.
The local villages provide insight into the customs and rituals of the local African way of life. Guided tours are also available, and those planning a visit should consult with their tour operators regarding these.
In Kasane, Botswana, the natural springs are believed to have curative minerals in them, making them both relaxing and restorative; the ideal way to end off a day of sightseeing under the hot African sun.
The Chobe River benefits from the southern hemisphere's summer from December to March and winter between June and August. Summer in Botswana is hot (often about 35 degrees Celsius during the day) and humid. Even nights are warm. Winter days are warm, while temperatures drop significantly in the evenings and mornings. The summer months experience the most rain, whereas April to October is dry. Winter is the best time for visiting, as tours and hikes are not hampered by downpours, and visitors are able to watch the animals enjoying the water from the summer months that has been preserved in the waterholes.
Tick-bite fever is another real threat in this area. This is usually contracted by being bitten by a tick while walking in the bush or by petting animals. Cover you feet, ankles and legs with light fabrics while walking through any vegetated areas.
It is essential to use plenty of sunscreen, a wide-brimmed sun hat, sunglasses and light, protective clothing during daylight hours to avoid sun damage.
Bilharzia is common in Africa, and can be contracted by swimming in dams, streams and rivers. Stay out of any foreign bodies of water, unless you have clear direction from your tour guide that it is safe to swim. Tap water is suitable for drinking.
As with any destination in the world, Botswana has some areas in which it is unsafe for travellers to walk at certain times of the day or night. Consult your tour guide and / or hotel to ensure that you are aware of these areas. When walking around towns, villages or any other tourist attractions, do not carry large amounts of money or expensive equipment on you. Do not stray from groups of people to walk on your own, and do not accept help from anybody, especially not if it involves handing over your credit cards or cameras.
Especially in the more rural areas, watch out for animals and people on the road. Drive slowly and carefully at all times, and never drive while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Do not ever attempt to touch any of the wild animals that you see. Although they may seem curious and friendly, they are not trained to deal with human beings, and their reactions are unpredictable.
Botswana requires foreigners to possess a valid passport and Visa as well as return tickets (or similar plans to return) and sufficient funds in their bank accounts before entry into the country. Visas and Visa information can be retrieved from the British Embassy in the absence of one that represents Botswana specifically. Visitors are only permitted to stay for 90 days each year, unless special arrangements are made.
Any visitors planning to bring their boat or aquatic apparatus may do so only with an Import Permit, which is issued by the Department of Water Affairs.