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.
Heading to the Chobe River for a cruise adventure is simpler than you might think. Geographically, the Chobe River forms the border between Botswana and Namibia, then flows through the Zambezi region before merging with the mighty Zambezi River. Most travelers kick off their journey to Chobe from Kasane, a town in Botswana that's well connected by road and air.
Cruise ships dock right in Kasane, making it super easy to hop on your boat after a short drive from the airport. If you're coming in from Victoria Falls or Livingstone, it's just about an hour's drive to get to where the cruises start. So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and get ready – a world of natural wonders awaits you on the Chobe River.
The Perfect Time for a Chobe River Cruise
Choosing the optimal time for a Chobe River cruise is crucial for an unforgettable experience. The dry season, spanning from May to October, is often cited as the prime time for a Chobe River cruise. During this period, the weather is agreeable, characterized by warm days and cool nights, ideal for spending time on the river. River cruising in this season also benefits from lower water levels, which lead to an abundance of wildlife congregating around the river, thus offering exceptional opportunities for animal sightings.
Conversely, the wet season, from November to April, offers a different charm for river cruising on the Chobe River. This season transforms the landscape into a lush, verdant paradise, making it a haven for photography enthusiasts and bird watchers. Despite the uncertainty of rain, a Chobe River cruise during this time can be particularly enticing due to the reduced number of tourists and potential for more attractive cruise deals.
Therefore, whether you prefer the vibrant activity of the dry season or the serene beauty and potential savings of the wet season, a Chobe River cruise presents a spectacular experience in any season. Each period offers its unique advantages, making the Chobe River an alluring destination for river cruising enthusiasts year-round.
Experience the Flavors on a Chobe River Cruise
When you're floating along the Chobe, it's not just about the sights; it's also a chance to dive into some tasty local eats. Here's the scoop: you've got to try the local fish, like Tilapia or the prized Tigerfish – often grilled to perfection right on the boat. And it's not a meal without some Pap, a kind of smooth corn porridge that's the go-to side dish around these parts.
For meat lovers, game meat is a big deal – think impala or buffalo, cooked over an open flame, giving it that authentic bush flavor. Wash it all down with a refreshing local beer like St. Louis, and you've got yourself a meal to remember.
Don't miss out on the chance to eat at a riverside lodge where the views are as incredible as the food. They'll serve up these local specialties with a side of stunning sunset. Trust me, dining in the heart of the Chobe wilderness is an experience you won't forget.
Immerse Yourself in Chobe Culture
Chobe isn't just about the wildlife; it's also rich with cultural experiences. The local people, mainly the Subiya and San communities, have traditions that date back centuries. If you're cruising through Chobe, take time to visit a village and see their vibrant dances, listen to folk songs, and learn about their crafts.
One of the best times to visit is during a festival like the Kasane Kombi Carnival in September, where the whole town buzzes with parades and music. It's a fantastic way to see the local culture in full swing. Plus, interacting with locals gives you insights into their daily lives and traditions, like the art of basket weaving or the tales behind their ancient rock paintings.
Remember, it's all about respect and sharing experiences. Join in, ask questions, and you'll find that Chobe's cultural environment is as compelling as its legendary wildlife.
Why Book a River Cruise on the Chobe River?
Booking a river cruise to Chobe is a smart move for several reasons. First off, it's an all-in-one package that gives you transport, accommodation, and entertainment without the hassle of planning every detail. You'll get to see parts of Chobe that are only accessible by water, places where the wildlife comes right up to the riverbank – it's like having a front-row seat to the best show in nature. Plus, on a cruise, you're moving along with your 'hotel,' meaning no packing and unpacking as you go from place to place.
There's also something about the ease of a cruise that lets you really relax. You don't have to worry about finding a restaurant or making it back to your lodge before dark – everything's taken care of. This leaves you more time to enjoy the sights and sounds of Chobe, maybe sipping a sundowner on deck as elephants splash around in the sunset.
And let's not forget that some cruises offer exclusive experiences, like private game drives or dinners in the bush, adding that special touch to your African adventure. All things considered, a Chobe River cruise can offer a memorable, convenient, and often luxurious way to experience one of Africa's most beautiful and wildlife-rich environments.
Ready to Book Your Chobe River Cruise?
Thinking about a Chobe River cruise? Well, it's a chance to see Africa's wildlife up close from the comfort of a boat. Picture this: elephants playing on the shores, hippos peeking out of the water, and sunsets that light up the sky with colors you didn't even know existed. Plus, the warm welcome from local communities adds a rich layer to your adventure.
On a Chobe River cruise, every day brings a new discovery, from the cry of an eagle to the sight of a crocodile sliding into the river. It's wild, it's beautiful, and it's waiting for you. So, why wait? Booking your cruise could be the first step to the adventure of a lifetime. Grab your camera and your sense of wonder, and get ready to make some memories on the Chobe River.