Going Chobe Solo
Solo travelers looking to safari in Chobe National Park are spoiled for choice, especially those with a little more to spend. The only limit to consider when enjoying Chobe’s delights? The prospect of self-driving within the park. Even highly skilled local 4×4 drivers used to the lonely routes, deep sand, and unexpected elephant encounters, might not consider driving too far alone. When planning park transects, it’s highly advisable to set out in company and with the right equipment.
The exception may be the main routes in the Chobe Riverside area. This gets so busy in season that, should a vehicle run into trouble, rescue won’t be too far away. For anyone unfamiliar with the bush, it will be infinitely more relaxing to join a tour, hire a guide, or book in at a lodge that caters to all needs and offers game drives.
Solo travelers can indulge in the specialist activities they are passionate about. Trips that focus on birding and photography besides game viewing are available – a Discover Africa safari expert can advise on suitable specialist outfits and guides.
Trips to the glorious, deep blue Chobe River in the north of the park can include time on a safari boat that’s been kitted out for photographic safaris. Some even provide the gear and lenses to make that perfect shot, so there’s no need to lug cases worldwide. Small charter flights limit you to 20kg/44lbs.
The unique vantage point of the Chobe River allows close-up encounters with splashing herds of elephants, strings of weighty buffalo, charismatic water birds like kingfishers, and – with luck – African skimmers. The guides are tech-savvy and there to teach and help.
Dedicated photo trips that combine time on the plains (in a vehicle with bean bag mounts) can also be booked. This is an all-seasons activity: even if the herds are sparser in green season, there are dramatic skies and deep green vegetation, plus tottering babies that make for irresistible shots.
Solo travelers are welcome on mobile safaris for all budgets and are placed in an appropriately sized group. Some may feel lodge-based safaris are a better option. Lodges need not be lonely places. Guests tend to be allocated a guide on arrival, and activities such as game drives and cruises take place with other travelers.
These groups can become firm friends thanks to the intensity of the shared encounters with wildlife! Dinners, too, are often communal and lively. Again, your Discover Africa expert will be able to pinpoint the lodges best placed for soloists. Happily, there are options in all areas: Chobe Riverside, Savuti, and Linyanti, at various budget levels from simple to sumptuous.
A Chobe safari is perfect for solo travelers. Set entertainment – from boat cruises to the thrill of game drives – is part of the experience. As any safari regular can attest, if you do both daily activities and all meals, there isn’t actually all that much downtime!
Lodges often have lounges full of private nooks, expansive decks, and daybeds for dreaming and reading. Some have libraries, and an excellent selection of books on the area, and some even provide newspapers. Should a little bit of privacy be welcome, private dining or breakfast in your room are options at the better lodges.
Travel Tips for Going Solo
- Travel for individuals is often considerably more expensive thanks to the dreaded single supplement. And Botswana is, in any case, especially pricey as the government has committed to high-income, low-volume tourism. The quality of the game viewing and unspoiled wilderness, of course, make up for this. But to help bring costs down for singles facing a 50% surcharge, consider traveling during shoulder season (May and November, when weather and animal movements are less easy to predict) or the “green season” (December to March). Rates can fall quite dramatically, by as much as 40%. A handful of lodges also waive or lower the single supplement at various times. Ask us about which outfits are most likely to have such specials.
- Trips with set-date departures are also good options, as solo travelers can join a group without extra costs.
- The smaller and more intimate the lodge, the more likely it is to be a favorite with honeymooners and couples. And just as some lodges are genuinely more child-friendly than others, you can find lodges that support and welcome singles. A Discover Africa safari expert’s advice will be invaluable here.