Safari goers view elephants at Chobe National Park. Photo by Charles Leonard

7 Reasons Chobe National Park is the Ultimate One-Day Safari Destination

Known locally as “the land of the giants,” Chobe National Park is home to the world’s largest elephant population. But it also holds much more.

Chobe National Park covers 4,500 square miles of unspoiled wilderness in Botswana, and many safari-goers choose to spend weeks exploring its stunning scenery and breathtaking fauna. But it is also an awarding choice for day-trippers, who often see more wildlife in a few hours than they might see over several days in another location.

The most popular Chobe National Park destination for day visitors is the northeast region known as Serondela. Located near the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia, Serondela is just an hour’s drive from Victoria Falls and also within quick reach of Botswana’s Kasane International Airport.

Here are seven reasons that the Serondela area of Chobe National Park is an ideal destination for a one-day safari.

  1. Explore the park by land and water
  2. More elephants than you’ve ever seen!
  3. Hippos everywhere!
  4. Chobe River’s incredible diversity of wildlife
  5. See birds you’ve never seen before
  6. The Serondela scenery is spectacular
  7. Chobe National Park is easy to get to

A herd of elephants in Chobe National Park Botswana

Elephants and a zebra wander across the Chobe River floodplain, Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo by Steven dosRemedios.

1. Explore Chobe by land and water

The Chobe River fosters a unique ecosystem with one of the densest wildlife concentrations in Africa, both on land and water. By spending half the day exploring the Chobe riverfront by boat and half the day by 4×4, you’ll see a huge array of aquatic, woodland, and savanna wildlife.

Small group of elephants drinks water on the shore of the chobe river at chobe national park in Botswana

Elephants cool off on the Chobe riverfront at Chobe National Park, Botswana.

More elephants than you’ve ever seen!

Chobe National Park has a spectacular elephant population numbering in the thousands, and the Serondela area is one of their favorite places to gather. Visitors have a very high chance of viewing large herds of elephants numbering more than one hundred along the Chobe riverfront. Young elephants can frequently be seen playing in the shallow water on the edges of the river.

A pod of hippos in the river at Chobe national Park in Botswana

Hippos enjoy the refreshing waters of the Chobe River in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo by Paul Makinen.

3. Hippos everywhere!

The Serondela area of Chobe National Park is one of the few places in the world where you can see hippos on land during the day. Elsewhere, hippos spend the day in water and come on land at night to graze. But here on the Chobe riverfront, hippos are in fierce competition with elephants, Cape buffaloes, and other herbivores for food. Getting out of the water during the day gives hippos more opportunities to graze.

a Cape buffalo stand in front of a tree at Chobe National Park in Botswana

Cape buffalos, one of Africa’s Big Five, can be found along the Chobe River in Chobe National Park.

4. Chobe River’s incredible diversity of wildlife

In addition to elephants and hippos, the Serondela area of Chobe National Park is a great place to watch lion prides on the hunt, herds of Cape buffalo grazing, and lone crocodiles sunbathing. Animal diversity here is truly outstanding. Antelopes are abundant, including kudus, red lechwes, sables, roans, bushbucks, impalas, and pukus, which are otherwise uncommon in southern Africa. Other favorite safari animals along the Chobe riverfront include African wild dogs, leopards, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, hyenas, black-backed jackals, warthogs, and baboons—plus a whole lot more.

African Jacana on Chobe River, Botswana
Yellow-billed Oxpecker on a Cape Buffalo, Chobe National Park
African Fish Eagle over Chobe River

From left to right: African jacana on the Chobe River; Yellow-billed Oxpecker on a Cape Buffalo; African Fish Eagle in flight. Photos by Derek Keats.

5. See birds you’ve never seen before

Birdwatching on the Chobe Riverfront is spectacular throughout the day, not just in the early morning and late afternoon hours. You have an excellent chance of spotting multiple species of hornbills, kingfishers, raptors, bee-eaters, plovers, herons, storks, ibises, oxpeckers, and more.

  • Cumulus clouds in the blue sky over Chobe River in Botswana
  • Elephants bathe and graze in Chobe National Park, Botswana
  • A red lechwe antelope in the waving grass at Chobe National Park Botswana

Chobe River in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Elephants photo by Steven dosRemedios.

6. The Serondela scenery is spectacular

The Chobe River itself is quite beautiful, with grassy islands in the center and scenic shores on both sides.

a hippo opens its mouth wide, showing its teeth. on the Chobe River in Botswana

A hippo shows off its weaponry in the Chobe River, Chobe National Park, Botswana. Photo by Sara Joachim.

7. Chobe National Park is easy to get to

Thanks to its location near the northern border, you have your pick of countries to stay in when visiting the Serondela area of Chobe National Park: Botswana, of course, but also Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. If you’re in a hurry, you needn’t stay at all—you can fly into nearby Kasane airport in the morning and fly out again in the evening.

Leopard relaxing in a tree at Chobe National Park

A leopard relaxes in a tree at Chobe National Park.

How to spend the day

Start the morning with a ride from your lodge or Kasane airport. If you are coming from a neighboring country, don’t worry—Botswana’s border control is efficient and shouldn’t delay your arrival at Chobe National Park.

Morning Boat Cruise

Spend the morning hours on a river safari. Your guides will point out remarkable wildlife you may not have seen elsewhere in Africa, such as red lechwe antelopes and black herons. View aquatic animals up close, including hippos and perhaps a baby crocodile.

You will be surprised at how many land mammals you can view from the river. Large elephant herds frequently congregate at the riverbank, especially during the dry season.

Afternoon Game Drive

Once your river cruise concludes, you can return to land for lunch, then embark on an afternoon game drive—where you will have the chance to see more elephants, as well as antelopes, guineafowl, monitor lizards, kori bustards, jackals, and lions. If you’re really lucky, you might even spot an African wild dog!

Love plants? Let your guide know. Travelers may exit vehicles in certain areas of the park to get a better look at endemic flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Plan your trip to Chobe National Park

The Chobe riverfront is so phenomenal, you may never want to leave. The good news: this area is home to several excellent lodges, so you aren’t limited to just one day!

Ready to plan your trip to Chobe? At Ujuzi African Travel, we develop custom itineraries to create the safari of your dreams. Browse through our sample Botswana safari itineraries, or simply get in touch with any questions you may have. Whether you’re looking for luxury or prefer a more intimate connection with the wilds, we offer accommodations and activities to suit your desires. Contact us today!

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