Chobe National Park and the Kwando and Linyanti River systems.

Chobe National Park and the Kwando and Linyanti river systems is fifth on my list of  Top Ten African safari destinations   You could argue I’m cheating as they are not one place and certainly not one park, however as the Kwando River becomes the Linyanti River which in turn becomes the Chobe River before it flows into the mighty Zambezi River, I feel justified in putting them together!

Kwando Elephant

Where: Located in northern Botswana, the Chobe National Park borders the town of Kasane, easily reached by air or overland from Victoria Falls.  Access to the Linyanti or Kwando Rivers is normally by air from Kasane or Maun.

Why: Unbelieveable numbers of large herbivores: buffalo, hippo and especially elephant gather along the Chobe water-front particularly during the dry season in vast herds – it’s a quite extraordinary sight!.   The Savuti area of Chobe and both the Kwando and Linyanti have good numbers of lion and leopard and offer great predator viewing.  Kwando in particular, has a consistent record of excellent wild dog sightings, the Painted Wolves of Africa, one of Africa’s most endangered predators.

The area has small and excellent all-inclusive camps, great guiding and the concession areas outside of the park allow for a very exclusive safari experience including night drives, game walks and off-road game driving

Kwando bathroom Kwando wild dog

When: Game viewing in Northern Botswana is at its best in the dry season from July to October when the wildlife is drawn off the surrounding areas to the permanent waters of the rivers and swamps, but beware it can be very cold at night in the June to August period and very hot in October in the day!  Vegetation cover is also low at this time making for easier game viewing; during the early part of the yeat December to March, you should expect to see fewer animals, but the light is clearer for photographs, bird-watching is at its best and some camps offer considerable savings of up to 60% on the high season prices.

Where: The Chobe waterfront is the most game-rich region in the dry season, but also has the most visitor traffic – it’s hard to get an exclusive game viewing experience at this time of the year by vehicle or boat.  The concession areas of Kwando and the Linyanti offer much more personalised and exclusive viewing, but are harder to get to, and in general offer smaller, more expensive camps.

How long: I recommend a 3 night stay at Kwando or Linyanti and 2 nights at the Chobe water-front area.

What to do: Game viewing by 4 x 4 and by boat is on offer along the Chobe River; during the dry season this is a great place for watching elephant in water who regularly swim across the Chobe River in fromt of the boats.  Birdwatching plus hippo and crocodile watching, amongst many other species, can also be excellent from the boats.  The concession areas of Kwando and Linyanti offer game drives, both day and night as well as game walks and boat excursions from many camps.

 My View:  Fantastic game viewing areas and terrific camps make this one of Africa’s top safari areas, with a great range of safari activities available.  If you can afford the high season prices at the smaller camps, you’ll get a truly pristine wildlife safari experience!

Bots 2011 441

For more information on Chobe, Kwando and the Linyantu and Botswana’s other safari destinations visit: www.journeyintoafrica.com

Or contact us on : info@journeyintoafrica.com

Next on the Top Ten – Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

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The Okavango Delta

eles blog 2

This is the first of my Top Ten African safari destinations, in no particular order, but the Delta is just so different to anywhere else!

Where:  Located in northern Botswana, accessed fron the town of Maun.

Why:    Stunning scenery: rivers, lilly covered lagoons, termite mound ‘islands’, fantastic birdlife, good numbers of wildlife including predators and many elephant and giraffe and a great range of activities. Small, high quality camps and particularly concession areas can give a very pristine, exclusive safari experience.

When:  The Delta lets water through its reedbed channels very slowly, so the high water is almost at the height of the dry season.  This anomoly means that the game viewing is at its best in the dry season from July to October so this is peak season and peak prices in Botswana.  Access for mokoros, the local dug-out canoes, is better before the water level starts to drop usually in September.  Birding is particularly good in the northern winter, December to March, when the migrants are present and the air is clear making for great photographic light.  Some rain should be expected at this time of the year but this is offset by some great off-peak deals at some excellent camps.

Where:  Visiting any area around Maun or in some of the more crowded areas of Moremi Game Reserve can be busier particularly during the peak season in July and August, but anywhere more remote and certainly in one of the larger concession areas, you can expect great game viewing and a genuine safari experience.  The larger islands and land areas on the edge of the Delta are home to more large wildlife than the permanent water, and Moremi Game Reserve is one of the top predator and elephant viewing destinations on the continent.

How long:  You need  at least a three night stay to get a feel for the Delta and preferably spend 2 to 3 nights in a water-based camp and 3 nights in a more land-based camp.

What to do:  Game drives, including night drives if in a concession area, guided walking safaris, boat trips from some camps and you should spend at least some time in the local dug-out canoe – the mokoro, to get a real feel of the Delta experience.  Mokoro expeditions with camp outs on islands are possible for the more adventurous.

Mokoros blog 2

For more information on the Okavango and Botswana’s other safari destinations visit:  www.journeyintoafrica.com            Or contact us on : info@journeyintoafrica.com

Next on the Top Ten – Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater!