“What the hell is in Chobe National Park anyways?” Was what I was thinking when offered a tour into Botswana. Since I am already doing a tour of the Southern Africa region, I might as well check out Botswana. And the only way to cross over to Botswana from Zambia is to book a tour to see Chobe National Park.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love doing safari tours. When I went to South Africa, I did a self-driven safari tour of Kruger National Park. It turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. I have never done a jeep safari tour before and thought touring Chobe National Park is the perfect chance to try it out.
How to book a safari tour to Chobe National Park in Botswana
One of the things I noticed while traveling around the world is that it is always cheaper to book tours in the country itself. If you want to save money on booking your tour into Chobe National Park, then do your bookings in your hostel or hotel. They will typically give you a cheaper price than if you book it ahead of time online.
It’s kind of like when you go shopping. It’s always cheaper when you cut out the middle-man and go factory direct. So, when you book your safari, go factory direct and book it in the country itself!
I booked my safari tour with Jollyboys backpackers in Zambia. The hostel has a nice appearance; though, be sure to bring a mosquito net otherwise you will get eaten alive.
While in the safari, other travellers booked it through their hotel making that option viable as well.
I paid $157 USD to do a full day tour of Chobe National Park.
Included in the tour price is the following:
- Transport to the Zambia-Botswana border
- A boat ride to cross the river between Zambia and Botswana
- Light breakfast
- Safari Jeep tour in the morning
- Buffet style lunch
- Boat tour in the afternoon
- Transport back to your accommodation
Transportation and customer service
I was quite impressed with the level of customer service provided by our tour guides. Their English was great and answered all our questions in regards to their respective countries.
Our safari tour guide in Botswana was also a bit of a prankster and loved telling jokes and trolling our group. It’s good that our tour guide has a personality because it set the tone for fun in our tour.
The only thing that I didn’t quite like was the customer service during breakfast and lunch. While they were prompt and the food was good, I can see that the servers really did not like serving the tourists. It reflected on the way they looked at us. Aside from the servers, everything else was pretty good.
In my honest opinion, the jeep tour was the highlight of my trip to Chobe National Park. First, you ride on this high jeep complete with a sun cover so you don’t get burned by the heat.
Next, they take you really up close and personal to the animals. At one point, some Japanese tourist in our safari jeep was getting scared when the elephants started walking towards us. The elephants was literally right in front of us making it scary and exciting at the same time.
We got to see groups of elephants walking around while protecting their cubs. When it got really hot, we saw how the animals also love hanging out under a shade.
Doing the safari yourself is not advisable because some of the sand pits were quite bad and many cars got stuck while trying to navigate through them. We can see how it’s definitely better to go with a safari professional who knows how to navigate through the difficult terrain.
Breakfast and Lunch
Surprisingly, the breakfast and lunch were quite good! The breakfast was light and comprised of fruits, pastries and a little bit of protein in the form of sausages.
The lunch was just fabulous. Especially when you’ve been travelling on a backpackers budget and living off bread and cereal, it was nice to pig out on a delicious lunch buffet.
Honestly the main problem with the boat tour was because we did it after lunch. We were in a bit of a food coma rendering us tired and sleepy during the entire trip. It certainly made focusing on the animals difficult when all you want is a nice comfy bed to pass out on.
Regardless, the boat tour was great because you got to see a different variety of animals. We got a chance to see more hippos, buffalos, crocodiles and various different birds wandering around the water.
The boat ride itself was pleasant and beverages was provided should you get thirsty.
Overall, I would definitely recommend doing the Chobe National Park safari tour – especially if you are interested in checking out Botswana while you are already in Livingstone, Zambia.
I personally had a great time and I’m glad Karen tagged along for the adventure. Just make sure you get a Zambia multi-entry visa ($80 USD) so you don’t end up paying $50 USD twice and also having to lineup in the border to get the paperworks done.