7 Reasons Chobe National Park is the Ultimate One-Day Safari Destination
Known locally as “the land of the giants,” Botswana’s 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, 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 Serondela area in the northeast of the park, which encompasses the Chobe riverfront, is the most popular area of Chobe National Park for day visitors. 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 Kasane International Airport. It can easily be added to a variety of African safaris.
Here are seven reasons that Chobe riverfront in the Serondela area of Chobe National Park is the ideal destination for a one-day safari.
1. Safari 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.
Elephants cooling off on the Chobe riverfront at Chobe National Park, Botswana
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.
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 the water and come on land at night to eat grass and other plants. But here on the Chobe riverfront, hippos have adapted to daytime grazing due to competition with elephants, Cape buffaloes, and other herbivores for food. Getting out of the water during the day gives hippos more opportunities to graze.
Cape buffalo, one of Africa’s Big Five, can be found gathering along the Chobe River banks in Chobe National Park.
4. Chobe Riverbank Hosts an 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 on Chobe riverfront. Animal diversity here is truly outstanding. Antelopes are abundant, including kudus, red lechwes, sable, roan, bushbuck, impalas, and puku, which are otherwise uncommon in southern Africa. Other favorite safari animals in Serondela include African wild dogs, leopards, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, hyenas, black-backed jackals, warthogs, and baboons—plus a whole lot more.
From left to right: African jacana on the Chobe River; Yellow-billed Oxpecker on a Cape Buffalo; African Fish Eagle in flight. All 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, waterfowl, oxpeckers, and more.
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.
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.
Red lechwe in the grasslands at Chobe National Park, Botswana
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.
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 African fish eagles and black herons. View aquatic animals up close, including impressive hippos and perhaps a baby crocodile.
You will be surprised at how many land mammals you can view from the river. Frequent sightings include Cape buffaloes, kudus, and red lechwe. But the most impressive sighting will likely be of elephants. Countless numbers frequently congregate at the riverbank, especially during the dry season.
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 are really lucky, you might even spot an African wild dog!
If you are interested in 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.
Finish your day-trip with outdoor tea at a nearby lodge. This will give you one last chance to enjoy the flora and fauna of Chobe riverbank before you call an end to a fantastic 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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