Chobe National Park in Botswana is one of the most stunning National Parks in Africa and the World. It is a must see for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. It has one of the highest concentrations of elephants in the world. You are also almost guaranteed to see hippos, crocodiles and an endless array of beautiful birds. While most of the options you’ll find online are quite pricey, there are ways to see Chobe National Park on a budget .
Where is the Chobe National Park?
Chobe National Park is located in the Northern part of Botswana in Southern Africa. It is easily accessible from the towns of Kasane and Kazungula which are both near the border with Zambia and Zimbabwe.
How to get to Chobe National Park
From the towns of Kazungula or Kasane the park is so close that you often encounter elephants and other animals on the road, and even warthogs and baboons in town!
How to get to Chobe National Park from Livingstone
There are daily shuttles coming and going between Livingstone (Zambia), where Victoria Falls are for around $35 USD. You can also get there by public transportation. A shared taxi from Livingstone to the border should cost $5 USD per person and the ferry across into Botswana costs around 20 cents. From the Ferry on the Botswana side to Kasane or Kazungula it will be around $5 dollars or .50 cents in a shared taxi.
What animals can you see in Chobe National Park?
Besides an abundance of elephants, hippos, and crocodiles, if you are lucky you can also see lions, leopards, giraffes, hyenas, blue wildebeest, Cape buffalo, civets, puku, and tseessebe.
Where to Stay at Chobe National Park (Kasane/ Kazungula)
I stayed at the Elephant Trail Guesthouse and did my activities through them and was very happy I did. They are the best budget option and only backpackers guesthouse near Chobe and have both dorms, and comfortable rooms. It doesn’t hurt that they are the cheapest option for accommodation and tours to the park and your activities will include a pick up and drop off.
How much are activities?
If you look online, safaris can be quite expensive. But on this post and below tips of how to enjoy Chobe National Park on a budget.
As of March 2019 the cost of activities were:
3 Hour game drive: 260 Pula/ $26 USD) per person
6 Hour / Half day game drive: 850 pula /$85 per person
9 Hour /Full day game drive: 1600 pula /$160 per person
3 Hour Boat Safari: 260 Pula/ $26 USD) per person
6 Hour/ Half day Boat Safari: 850 pula /$85 per person
9 Hour Full day Boat Safari: 160 pula /$160 per person
Note: If you do more than one activity in the park on the same day make sure you aren’t paying or being charged the daily park entry fee twice (70 Pula/ $7 USD).
Tips: Do early morning game drives if possible (The park opens at 6am) as that is the time that you are likely to see more animals. Especially the big cats as during the middle of the day they are often sleeping or resting in their shelter to avoid the sizzling day time heat.
hippo in fieldOnward Travel
You can either fly or take road transportation to the rest of the country from Kasane.
If you want to go to the Okavango Delta , take a bus to the city of Maun. That leaves every night at 9pm from the Bus Rank near the Spar Supermarket for 143 pula/$14USD (as of March 2019) and takes
around 8.5 hours and arrives at the Maun terminal around 5:30am.
What currency do they use in Botswana
The Pula is the name of the currency which means rain
and as of March 2019 was 10 Pulas to each US Dollar.
What to pack / bring?
Keep in mind that most of that while you will be on safari activities, you won’t be walking much, but it would be wise to have the following:
List with examples of the gear from Amazon
-Long sleeve shirts for sun protection: https://amzn.to/3fNzIgH
-Hat for sun protection like these: https://amzn.to/2SZCuFS
-Hiking pants (preferably with zipper to convert to shorts when warm during day), like these: https://amzn.to/3fy02Lz
-I recommend hiking sandals like these for your feet to breathe: https://amzn.to/2AqzYSy
-Waterproof outer shell, like these: https://amzn.to/2yGNtwH for when it is rainy.
-Head torch/flashlight, like this one: https://amzn.to/2WhrQMM
-Sunglasses (I recommend Polarized), like these: https://amzn.to/2zjzq0j
-Chapstick preferably with SPF sun protection (sun can be strong, especially on summit day)
-Camera or phone for pictures. I recommend compact mirrorless cameras like these: https://amzn.to/35NBbz0
-Powerbank for electronics you will want to charge when away from outlets . Like these: https://amzn.to/2YMY3NB
A few words to get by
While most people speak English, to make people happier learn these few words. The official language of Botswana is Setswana and here are a few useful words:
Thank you: Ke a laboga/Tanke
That concludes the information on how to see Chobe National Park on a budget. I hope you found it useful and get to enjoy this beautiful park yourself!