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!
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
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!
For more information on Chobe, Kwando and the Linyantu and Botswana’s other safari destinations visit: www.journeyintoafrica.com
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Next on the Top Ten – Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.