We booked a day trip to the Chobe River from the tourist desk at The Victoria Falls Hotel. Most establishments offer the same service or can advise and assist you with bookings for various excursions.

Fortunately, we went out of season and we could book a trip for the next day. I wouldn’t suggest taking the chance during busier times as you may miss out, given this area hosts over a million visitors a year. I highly recommend planning and booking your Chobe River cruise in advance because this is one experience you don’t want to miss.

Chobe River Day Trip

How to Get to the Chobe River

The departure points for the cruises are easily accessible by road. If you are self driving, check departure point with the cruise company before hand, and ensure that there will be a safe place to park your car.

Many tourists fly into the area and stay in accommodation nearby. If your accommodation is in Botswana it will be quicker and easier to reach the river. However, to travel from Victoria Falls requires a border passing and 1-1 1/2 hour journey each way, depending on how busy the border is.

Speak to the concierge desk at your resort or to the cruise company to arrange transport. They will collect you from the front door and drop you off afterwards. All you need to do is pitch up, relax, and enjoy this amazing excursion.

Our guide fetched us from the hotel reception in Vic Falls and we headed off via the Kazungula Road to the Botswana/Zimbabwe border. It is approximately 85km or 53 miles from Victoria Falls. Be sure to look out for wildlife as you will traverse the Zambezi National Park to reach your destination. The border post is at the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, as well as the quadripoint of Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Once through the border post, you are almost there.

What You Can Expect to See

I wasn’t anticipating much more than a leisurely cruise along the river, but once we got going, I was astounded by how much wildlife we saw and how close we could get to the animals.

The bird life along the banks of the river is prolific, so Binoculars and a zoom lens for your camera are essential if you have them. I didn’t have a zoom lens to take good photos, but we did enjoy a great sighting of two Fish Eagles and a Kingfisher that dived into the river to catch a fish. I was suitably impressed by the skipper’s skills as he adeptly maneuvered the boat close to shore for us to get a good view of the birds.

My best sighting was the young elephant who swam with its mother from one side of the Chobe River to the other. It’s amazing that these huge mammals can not only keep themselves afloat but swim a fair distance too.

Remain Vigilant and Saftey Conscious

The fact that you are in a boat and can get up close to the animals may lead to complacency. Bear in mind that you are still in the bush and wild animals can be unpredictable.

We saw a near-ugly experience occur right before our eyes. We were watching a hippo wading in the water next to the boat before he ducked down below the surface. Seconds later, a man on a small motorboat appeared from behind our boat, and oblivious to the hippo, rode straight over where the Hippo had disappeared seconds before.

It all happened so quickly that nobody had time to react. Fortunately, the man managed to pass by before an irate Hippo reared up out of the water in anger. All was well that ended well, but it could have been nasty. Hippos look docile but they are one of the most dangerous animals. Yet this is part of the attraction of Africa, the ability to be among these animals that are from another world.

Chobe River

Which Chobe River Cruise is Best

Choosing a cruise depends on what you are looking for. We were limited in our time available so we only went for one day. You can choose from a 3-hour sunset cruise to a full-day trip, or overnight stay. Perhaps you would enjoy a live aboard boat that offers fully inclusive packages over several days.

Check out some of the various options on Get Your Guide or consider the option of longer stays with Zambezi Queen

Our day trip to Chobe was organized by Flame of Africa and I would recommend their service again. The entire day was well organized and included drinks on the boat, as well as a delicious lunch at the launch point. Packages differ so when you book, check what your cruise includes.

Other Attractions in Botswana

Of course, the Chobe River is not all that Botswana has to offer. For a country that is committed to conservation, the wildlife is abundant and well cared for. There are numerous rustic luxury resorts, tucked away in the bush on the banks of the river.

Our day package to Chobe included an amazing game drive through the Chobe National Park. We were there in late June which is a good time for viewing the wildlife. Remember to consider that when booking your trip.

Chobe-River
Drinks break in the African Bush

What to Take for Your Trip on the Chobe River

Extra water: Temperatures can rise and the heat is intense, particularly during the summer months. Drinks are supplied on most tours, but rather be safe and have extra liquids on hand.

Sunscreen

Dark glasses

Hat or cap

Passport and required documentation for the border post

Camera

Binoculars

Comfortable walking shoes

Insect Repellant

Light clothing is sufficient for daytime but nights can be cool, depending on the time of year.

Where to Stay near Chobe River

Victoria Falls is a popular tourist destination and is less than 2 hours drive from the Chobe River departure points. Take a look at this post to find the Best Places to Stay near Victoria Falls

I will be posting an article on accommodation options in Botswana. Sign up for the newsletter to stay informed of new posts and happenings.

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