A Day Trip to Chobe
Chobe National Park is renowned for its large herds of elephant that frequent the Chobe River on a daily basis. In the dry season an estimated 85,000 elephants make Chobe National Park their home, mainly in close proximity to the river. However, Chobe is also home to a plethora of other African wildlife. Game drives offer regular sightings of lion, leopard, buffalo and a whole host of antelope including sable, puku, kudu, eland and roan.
The river offers up its own incredible sightings of huge pods of hippo grazing on the swampy islands interspersed with some of the largest crocodiles in Africa basking themselves on the extensive flood plain and open sand banks. Chobe National Park is also an ornithologist’s paradise – the banks of the river are lined with the nests and holes of some of the most colourful and spectacular birds in Africa and a myriad of birds of prey call Chobe their home.
This tour departs daily to the Chobe National Park in Botswana. Clients will be transferred by bus to the Kazungula border post. They will be assisted through customs formalities by the Wild Horizons driver before being handed over to their Botswana guide. Once they have been assisted through the Botswana border formalities, Chobe Marina Lodge is the next stop for a quick bathroom break and signing of indemnity forms. Guests will proceed straight to the morning cruise where they will spend the morning game viewing along the Chobe River. All the boats offer protection from the sun. The cruise will end at around 12h30 and clients will go back to the lodge for an extensive buffet lunch. The lodge is situated on the river banks overlooking the Chobe River and the Namibian shoreline. After lunch, guests will board safari vehicles for an afternoon game drive into Chobe National Park. After the drive guests will be taken back to the Kazungula Border where they will be met by their Zimbabwean guide for their return transfer to Victoria Falls.
When considering attractions in Victoria Falls, keep in mind the magnificent Chobe National Park is very easily accessible and makes for a fabulous fun filled day!
• 07:00 to 07:30 – Guests will be picked up from their hotel, in a closed bus, and proceed on a 70km journey on a tar road through Zambezi National park and designated safari areas to the Kazungula border.
• 08:30 – Arrival at the Kazungula Border, where guests will exit Zimbabwe/Zambia and enter Botswana. At the border guests will change vehicles and are met by their Botswana guide.
• 08:45 – Once guests have gone through Botswana immigration, they will take a short drive to Chobe Marina Lodge.
• 09:00 to 09:15 – Arrival at the lodge, where guests will have a short bathroom break, and will also be required to fill out the Park Entry form.
• 09:30 – Depart on guests’ first activity; EITHER game drive or boat cruise. If guests would like to go on a specific activity first, then they should please specify. Soft drinks, local beer and bottled water are provided on all safaris and river cruises.
• 12:30 – Return to the hotel for lunch. This will be served a buffet style lunch, with a selection of traditional and modern day meals to choose from.
• 13:30 – Depart for guests’ second activity. This will be either a game drive or a boat cruise, depending on what activity the guests did in the morning.
• 16:00 – Return from the Park and head back to the Kazungula Border to proceed with border formalities.
• 16:30 – Guests will meet their Wild Horizons bus and are transported back to their hotel.
• 17:30 – Arrive at guests’ hotel.
Duration: 11 hours
Departures: between 07h10 and 07h30
Maximum: 9 per vehicle
Age Restrictions: Children 2-11 years are half price, over 12 pay full price.
Botswana requires an unabridged birth certificate for all minors travelling to Botswana (this has been in effect since October 2016).
The following documents are required when travelling to Botswana with minors (18 years and below):
- Valid Passport
- Valid VISA, if required
- Unabridged Birth Certificate (Birth Certificate containing the particulars of a minor and those of the parents)
- A letter of consent from the other parent should the minor be travelling with one parent
*Please note that a normal birth certificate will not be accepted.
Minimum age: We accept children younger than 2 years but on a private trip basis.
Maximum age: N.A
Language: English (French, German, Italian & Spanish available on private tours, at supplement cost – subject to availability)
Transfers: Included from hotels in Victoria Falls Town
Please note: the order of the activities are subject to change without prior notice.
I recently had the opportunity to partake in a Wild Horizons’ Sunset cruise. The cruises depart daily from a jetty on the banks of the wide and calm upper Zambezi above the Victoria Falls. The river here is so broad it splits onto three channels and it’s calm belies the thundering spectacle mere kilometres downstream. At this time of year the spray from the falls is a mere smudge on the horizon and the roar of the falls registers as a background vibration from a distance. The scene couldn’t be calmer. Pods of hippos, graceful dragonflies, cormorants, darters, splashing kingfishers, and gliding crocodiles grace the calm waters. As we take off from the jetty engines purring there’s nothing to do but relax and take in the beauty that surrounds- an experience better conveyed through images from the day, enjoy!
Victoria Falls is a great family friendly destination. However with a full gamut of activity options it can be overwhelming to plan your trip. To make it easier we have rounded up some of the best activities for families. Of course, every family is different; if you have any questions or need advice feel free to contact us, we are happy to help.
Although it can seem like Victoria Falls only offers adrenaline based activities there is actually far more to do and see here- and some pretty exciting options are safe and friendly for even young children. The town also offers a convenient ‘home base’ from which many exciting activities are easily accessible whilst you have comfort and convenience.
A Cultural Tour is a great way to expose your children to different cultures and ways of life whilst still having fun. You can choose from many different options- such as a rural village tour, a township tour or a home-hosted meal. In any of these your children will likely get to meet and interact with local children while learning about their culture. Check out some cultural tours here or you can read about my experience on a home hosted dinner here.
The Boma Experience is a fantastic night out for children and adults alike. With a huge buffet that includes local delicacies and Western fare everyone will find something they like. And the evening will be filled with entertainment from traditional dancers to a local story teller and a fortune teller. After dinner, you can join in the drumming lesson- something your children will love.
A Zambezi Sunset Boat Cruise is a must do and a fantastic family activity. Cruises last on average 2 hours which is just right- not too long for kids. The boat will leave the jetty and meander through upstream through islands, while you enjoy the views and potential bird and wildlife along the banks. Most vessels serve snacks and beverages. Have your camera ready to capture one of the most amazing sunsets in Africa.
Tip: Ensure that you book the right cruise for you- some larger boats have a party atmosphere, others are smaller with an emphasis on relaxation. We recommend The Zambezi Royal. There is no minimum age on this cruise and children pay 50%.
There are also some activities you may not have expected would make the ‘family friendly list’ but I recommend many of the highwire activities for a safe thrill. My favourite for families is The Canopy Tour which lasts between 2 to 2 and a half hours. Depending on their age and size children can be harnessed in with their parents or go alone. The Tour consists of 9 different slides, varying in length and 1 cable bridge. Friendly and experienced staff will give a detailed safety briefing before the canopy tour and there are two guides on each tour so you will feel comfortable before you depart. It offers amazing views of the turbulent rapids, the Victoria Falls Bridge and spray of the Falls.
Of course, while you are here you will want to visit the Victoria Falls! Victoria Falls itself is a fantastic activity for older children in particular (10+). The safety precautions around the edge of the Falls are limited; older children will appreciate the beauty of the Falls whilst being able to also stay away from the canyon edge. For children small enough to be carried you should also be fine although be prepared to walk for a distance.
- Can be a long walk for very small kids so be prepared with a stroller or baby carrier.
- Safety precautions are scant along the edge so it’s important to keep you children close if they are young or to arrange for a half day of babysitting whilst you view the Falls.
Text by Sarah Kerr
I recently had the opportunity to go on a Chobe Day Trip from Victoria Falls (It can also be taken from Livingstone). This tour departs daily to the spectacular and game-filled Chobe National Park in Botswana. You are collected early- around 7 am and transferred to the Botswana border. Here we were met by our Botswana Guide. We went straight to the Chobe river for a cruise. The wildlife watching on this cruise can only be described as truly exceptional! We returned to shore at 12:30 for an hour of lunch (a great buffet that I over-indulged in!) before we departed- this time in a vehicle to see the park by land. The Chobe landscape and sheer number of animals is amazing. Some experiences are hard to put into words so I have put together a gallery of this must-do. After our game drive,we were taken back to the border for our return transfer to Victoria Falls.
TIPS & TRICKS:
- This is a long and exciting day so I suggest taking a snack bar for the morning if it’s too early for you to eat before departure. You will arrive back around 18:30 (6:30 pm)
- Drinks are provided through-out so don’t worry about staying hydrated
- Sunscreen is a must! It can be very warm in the afternoon.
- Dress comfortably and with layers you can easily peel off as the day warms.
- Charge your camera batteries and empty your memory cards! This trip is a photographer’s dream!
- You can also do this trip as a half day- either the boat cruise or the game drive departing in the morning or afternoon. My pick would be the boat cruise- there’s something very special about it.
- For more information see here.
We arrive at The Wild Horizons jetty to the mesmerising sound of African voices harmonising over water. A group of men, dressed in traditional skins are singing and dancing. The sound is beautiful as we make our way up the path and onto the jetty and boat. We are greeted by name and helped aboard where we are offered a glass of bubbly. The boat is a study in understated luxury. A open plan single-story it is decorated in tasteful neutrals, and has plush seating at intimate tables of four. My dining partner and I take a seat and begin to take in our surrounds. The Zambezi is beautiful. It stretches glass like in the evening light, with palm islands adorning it and the sounds of the singer’s voices carrying over the water.
We take off, soon after being seated, and are given a short introduction and safety briefing by our captain, Jeremiah. It is immediately apparent we are in knowledgeable hands, as he orients us to our surrounds and points out many facts about the Zambezi. He is a calmly capable man, quietly answering all the guests’ queries with a smile.
|Guests Photograph a Crocodile on the Banks of the Zambezi. Image Sarah Kerr.
The first of many well-portioned hors-d’oeuvres arrives as we bask in our surrounds and we are offered a drink from the cocktail menu. The food and beverages flow faultlessly throughout the cruise- the service is such that you never feel crowded yet also never find yourself wanting. Plate after plate of delicacies arrive- from crocodile croquettes to cheese selections, and you are free to order from the generous bar selection and cocktail menu.
|Friendly Service aboard the Zambezi Royal. Image Sarah Kerr.
As we cruise upstream Jeremiah points out the many birds to be seen along the river and turns out be the outstanding feature of the cruise. As we glide along we see Open billed stork’s dextrously removing snails from their shell, White backed vultures swirling overhead, Cormorants and Darters preening, Egyptian Geese honking obnoxiously, the predatory swoop of the African Harrier-Hawk, the whistling of White-Faced Ducks and so much more. The boat is effortlessly steered for the best sightings and all of this adds to the background ambience and the feel of the river.
We see larger creatures too. Hippopotami surface and crocodiles bask like oversized lizards on small islands, making for great photo opportunities. Then there is the special time we spend watching a family of elephants quietly come down to quench their thirst. They are unperturbed and we feel lucky to witness their interactions. Yet it is still the birds that most stand out; their abundance and variety is truly exceptional. As we make our way homeward, content and with sated bellies, Jeremiah mentions in his characteristically understand manner that there is an African fin foot up ahead and to our right.
|Watching a herd of Elephants from the Zambezi Royal. Image Sarah Kerr.
You can hear the intake of breath by the two South African birders who accompany us. For them this bird is a ‘lifer’. A goal they have been seeking for years and never attained. Because these birds are so highly secretive they are rarely seen by even experienced ornithologists and little is known about their habits or even their conservation status. We all peer unconvinced at the spot Jeremiah has pointed out to us. Where a tree’s branches reach the water in a confused tangle approximately 200 metres ahead. As he steers us closer we all squint and murmur ‘to the right’, ‘no, that’s not it’, ‘is that a log?’, ‘there’s nothing there!’… Until finally a gap in the foliage provides the glimpse we have been seeking. A small, pretty bird peers back at us before erupting from the tree and taking off downstream. This provides us with a beautiful view of the characteristic orange feet and bill and leaves us all with a sense of awe and gratitude.
Our fellow passengers are beside themselves with joy and we make our way back with smiles on our faces, knowing we have seen something that few people ever get to.
What we saw: Reed Cormorant, African Darter, Green-Backed Heron, Hamerkop, African Open- Billed Storks, Hadeda Ibises, White Faced ‘Whistling’ Ducks, Egyptian Geese, Spur Winged Geese, White backed Vultures, African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene), African Fin Foot, African Jacana, African Wattled Lapwing, Pied Kingfisher, Giant Kingfisher, Brown-Hooded Kingfisher, White fronted Bee-Eaters and African Pied Wagtail.
|African Darter (Anhinga rufa). Image Jane Bettenay