Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town normally will be the beginning city for your safari Chobe River cruise. Located on the southwest coast of South Africa, the port city sits on a peninsula below the amazing flat-topped Table Mountain. The spectacular mesa offers a panoramic view of Cape Town and the surrounding area.
Best Time To Visit According to U.S. World Travel, the best times to visit Cape Town are from March to May or from September to November. Because these are shoulder seasons, they provide milder temperatures, reduced river cruise prices, and are less crowded.
You Should Know One of the highlights of visiting Cape Town is seeing Table Mountain, which is reached by cable car. From the top, you can observe sweeping views of the harbor as well as the boats, as they drift in and out of the bay. Robben Island, which is located off the coast of Cape Town, features the prison that once held Nelson Mandela. The prison has been transformed into a living history museum.
Boulders Beach is one of the beaches that make up Table Mountain National Park. It is unique, as it is home to African penguins. The area is a marine protected area to ensure the protection of the penguins, which are listed as endangered species.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Boulders Beach is during the peak season for breeding, or from February to May. Visit the beach in the late afternoon, around 4:00 pm. That is when the birds return to their nests. If you want to avoid crowds, visit the beach in April and May, with the exception of Holy Week.
You Should Know Around 60,000 visitors visit Boulders Beach annually, and it's important not to be invasive of their habitat. Wheelchair-accessible boardwalks wind through the beach's dunes so visitors can view the nesting penguins and their chicks.
Another major river cruise stop on a Chobe River cruise is Johannesburg, South Africa, also called Joburg by the locals. Many Chobe River cruises may start in this town instead of Cape Town. Johannesburg is unique, as it does not lie next to the coast, or sit along a river or lake. That is why this South African city is known as the world's largest dry port. Instead, the city's waterways include spruits (streams) and canals, which link to major waterways.
Best Time To Visit According to the U.S. World Travel, the best times to visit Johannesburg are from March to May or from September to November. These low travel seasons see fewer crowds and reduced river cruise prices, as the weather is warm and dry.
You Should Know Johannesburg began as a gold mining town. The city is home to the world's largest man-made forest, which features 10 million-plus trees. The trees reduce greenhouse emissions and lessen city noise.
Your Chobe River cruise adventure truly starts in Kasane, which is located in northeast Botswana near the borders of Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia. The town is also known as the gateway to Chobe National Park. The Caracal Biodiversity Center, located in Kasane, serves as a shelter for rescued wildlife.
Best Time To Visit If you want to visit the waterfront in the town, it is best to go from May to October, which are considered dry months. If you plan a river cruise safari, you will see more wildlife in the area from August to October. However, the temperature can climb and become stifling during these peak viewing months.
You Should Know Nearby Kazungula Village is home to a crocodile farm. Entry to the farm is free for children up to 10 years old. The Kazungula Snake Park in Botswana, features 50 species of snakes, including the deadly Boomslang. If you visit the Kasane police station, the large space in the Baobab tree behind the station was once used to house prisoners.
Chobe National Park
A major part of the Chobe River cruise experience involves visiting Chobe National Park. The park, which is located in northern Botswana, is the most diverse park in the region, and the third-largest park in the country. You can see all types of wildlife, with the exception of the rhino.
Best Time To Visit While the months of May through July are normally bone-dry and feature cold nights, the temperatures begin to rise quickly with the approach of the rainy season. If you visit the park in August through October, you will experience super-hot temperatures. However, you will also see more wildlife.
You Should Know While the park features the largest concentration of elephants in the world, it has a large array of animals as well, including crocodiles, leopards, lions, hippos, and many more. The park is home to 9 types of owls, including the Southern White-faced Owl, the Spotted Eagle-Owl, the Pel's Fishing owl, and the Pearl-spotted owlet.
Victoria Falls is a cascade found on the Zambezi River in southern Africa. It provides a habitat for several unique animals and species of plants. The falls are surrounded by a rainforest, which constantly sees "rain," due to the waterfalls' spray. During a walk through the jungle, you will come upon 19 viewpoints for observing the falls. While viewpoints 1 through 15 are located on the Zimbabwe side, viewpoints 16 through 19 are situated on the Zambian side of the cascade.
Best Time To Visit The best time to see Victoria Falls is between February and May. That time falls directly after the area's summer rains, thereby causing the waterfalls to display the world's largest volume of falling water.
You Should Know You can view the falls from two countries - Zimbabwe, which offers the largest area for viewing the falls, or from Zambia. Victoria Falls is only one of two places in the world that displays moonbeams. David Livingstone, who was a British missionary and explorer, was the first European to discover Victoria Falls, he named the falls in honor of the British monarch, Queen Victoria.
Impalila Island is a great addition to Chobe River cruises, as it provides an insight into African tribal life. The isle is located where the Chobe River meets the Zambezi River in Namibia. Most visits to Impalila Island consist of a walking tour that gives the traveler an up-close look at village activities.
Best Time To Visit While this is a year-round destination, it is best to see the attraction during the dry season, or from April to October, especially if this is your first trip to Africa.
You Should Know If you take a walking tour, you can watch mat weaving being done and see how the locals ground corn into flour. Support villages by buying locally made crafts, including wooden jewelry, bowls, or animals. You can also watch dance entertainment, with the option to join the activity. During the dance, village women wear traditional garb.
Serengeti Game Reserve
Another Chose River cruise option, the Serengeti Game Reserve, gives you a chance to see the Great Migration. During the migration, you can see thousands of wildebeest crossing the Mara River. This dramatic trek begins in the northern Serengeti plains in Tanzania – an ideal way to conclude your river cruise holiday.
Best Time To Visit If you want to integrate your river cruise travel with the Great Migration in Serengeti National Park, you need to plan a trip from July to October.
You Should Know The Serengeti wildebeest migration features the migration of wildebeest, as well as a large number of zebras, including smaller numbers of gazelles and impalas. You have the best chance of seeing the great migration during August or September.