Overview – Chobe NP

Anthony Ham
By Anthony Ham

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of many Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the 'Botswana & Namibia' guide.

Anthony is a renowned Africa expert and author of the 'Botswana & Namibia' Lonely Planet guide.

Anthony is the author of the 'Botswana & Namibia' Lonely Planet guide.

The Chobe is one of Africa’s magical rivers, and the best way to explore the park is by boat. In the late afternoon, big herds of elephant and buffalo come to drink. There are plenty of hippos and crocs in the river, and the birdlife is phenomenal. Predator sightings are easier on game drives.

Best Time to Go August to October (Best at the riverfront area)
High Season July to October (The park gets crowded)
Size 11,700km² / 4,517mi²
Altitude 919-1,061m / 3,015-3,481ft

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent wildlife viewing
  • Four of the Big Five present and easily seen (rhino is absent)
  • Ideal birding destination, especially for waterbirds
  • Game drives and boat safaris available
  • Self-drive day visitors are allowed entry
  • Most accommodation is outside the park
  • Depending on crowds, self-drive hours are officially restricted from 9am to 2.30pm, the worst time for wildlife viewing
  • The river gets very busy with safari boats in the afternoon
  • Very hot in summer
  • Limited safari circuits inside the park

Chobe NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding


Chobe offers great wildlife viewing. The park is renowned for big concentrations of elephant and buffalo that come to drink at the river. Other mammals that are usually spotted on the shore are bushbuck and puku. Lions often lie in ambush near the river waiting for an opportunity, but spotted hyena, leopard and cheetah are more easily seen inside the park. Rhino are absent.


Chobe’s lifeline is the Chobe River which lazily meanders through savannah and woodland, and the floodplains are usually dotted with animals. The interior is a patchwork of mopane woodland and flat Kalahari sandveld (dry, sandy soil). The Savuti Marsh is another landmark in the park. It is mostly dry, and it is often compared to the Serengeti Plains.

Weather & Climate

Average daytime temperatures in the Dry season (April to October) start at 30°C/86°F in April, and by October they’ve climbed to a very hot 35°C/95°F. Conditions stay fairly hot in the first two months of the Wet season (November to March), before the heavy storms of January and February sweep away the worst of the heat.

Best Time to Visit

You can see animals year-round at Chobe, but the Dry season (April to October) is when wildlife viewing is at its best here, particularly along the southern bank of the park’s broad, namesake river. You’ll also see some unforgettable sunsets across the water at this time, though you’ll be elbowing the high-season crowds while checking them out.

Want to Visit Chobe NP?

Chobe NP Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Elephant central

Your experience of Chobe will depend on which part of the park you visit. The waterfront area in the north, which is within a day trip of Victoria Falls, offers game viewing for the masses, with boats cruising up and down the Chobe River...

Latest User Review
Chris  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Jul 11, 2020
Paradise on Earth

Myself and wife did a self drive in Chobe National Park beginning of May 2018. Oh my god! I've never experienced anything like it. We saw so many beautiful animals and it felt untouched. The highlight was getting stuck between a hunting...

Full Review