Going Chobe Solo

Solo travellers looking to safari in Chobe National Park are spoilt for choice – especially those who have 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 4x4 drivers, used to the lonely routes, deep sand and unexpected elephant encounters might not consider driving too far alone; if planning any park transects it is highly advisable to set out in company and with the right equipment. The exception may be 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.

Photographic safaris in Botswana can be arranged by road, water or even air

Solo travellers 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 travel specialist can advise on suitable expert 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 photographers. Some even provide the gear and lenses to make that perfect shot, so there’s no need to lug cases across the world – and small charter flights limit one to 20kg. The unusual vantage point of the Chobe River allows close-up encounters with splashing herds of elephant, 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. Elephant babies, just by-the-by, weigh a healthy 100kg at birth.

Elephant rule the land in Botswana

Solo travellers 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 travellers. 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 advisor 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.

In many ways, a Chobe safari is perfect for solo travellers. Set entertainment – from boat cruises to the thrill of game drives – is part of the experience, and as any safari regular can attest, if you do both daily activities and all meals, there isn’t actually all that much down time! Lodges often have lounges full of private nooks, expansive decks and daybeds for dreaming and reading on. Some have libraries and an excellent selection of books on the area; some provide newspapers. Should a little bit of privacy be welcome, private dining or breakfast in your room are options at the better lodges.

Boat cruises are a great excursion for solo travellers

Travel tips

  • Travel for individuals is often considerably more expensive thanks to the dreaded single supplement. And Botswana is in any case especially pricey as 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 travelling 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; enquire about which outfits are most likely to have such specials.

  • Trips that have set-date departures are also good options as solo travellers can join a group without extra costs.

  • The smaller and more intimate the lodge, the more likely it is to be a favourite with honeymooners and couples. And just as some lodges are genuinely more child-friendly than others, one can find lodges that support and welcome singles. A travel expert’s advice will be invaluable here.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Pangolin photography tour of Botswana

day 1

day 2 to 3

day 4

Moremi Game Reserve

day 5 to 6

Moremi Game Reserve

day 7

Departure

View Full Itinerary

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Chobe in January

Summer December to February is peak rainy season in Chobe, and the Riverside area receives more rain than anywhere else in Botswana: up to 650mm a year. The great herds won’t be visiting the Riverside, but elephants and hippo are always present. Vegetation everywhere will be splendidly lush and the herds dispersed. By now, trees like the sour plum, African Mangosteen and marula trees…

Chobe in April

Autumn - Zebra and Wildebeest begin their return migrations towards the permanent rivers as water sources and the bush begins to dry out. Savuti and Nogatsaa can see a migration of zebra in April and May. Low temperatures drop below 20°. The last summer bird migrants are on the wing, heading north again until the next rains. A good time to visit Savuti – and the central areas of the…

Affordable Chobe holiday

Travellers lucky enough to be armed with strong international currencies should be able to explore Chobe in perfect comfort (sometimes top-end comfort) for a reasonable price – but do remember this is a destination where low-volume, high-income tourism is promoted. As such, some may need to look for ways to keep costs down. Most lodges and camps in Chobe Riverside, Savuti and…

Chobe in May

Winter - Some say Botswana is the most beautiful country in Africa this month – and it’s still shoulder season, so specials can be found. Temperatures are definitely cooler in mornings and evenings, take layers. Kasane and the Chobe Riverside will be getting busier as high season approaches. Game of all kinds will start to be drawn to water sources and is easier to see, but it’s…

Chobe in August

Winter - It’s still cold enough to really need warm layers for early mornings and evenings. Wild dog puppy season! (The Linyanti concession areas are the best place to see them.) And the numbers of elephant at Chobe Riverside proves why Chobe is rated one of the best places in the world to admire the giants. It’s still high season, which means more park visitors as well as more…

Chobe in December

Summer - Humid, with rain. The wetter weather can bring cooler temperatures, so pack a jacket or jersey. The antelope baby boom peaks: by mid-month, most wildebeest, impala, tsessebe and warthog will have dropped their offspring. Good rains will have soaked the earth and termite alates (the ones with wings, often called flying ants) erupt from the ground, sparking bird feeding frenzies.…

Popular Chobe National Park Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Victoria Falls and Chobe Safari

Victoria Falls and Chobe Safari

Encounter the smoke that thunders and explore the land of giants in the Chobe National Park...

Boating on the Chobe River | Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Quick and affordable Victoria Falls & Chobe experience

Visit Livingstone, Zambia, to marvel at the Victoria Falls – or 'the smoke that thunders' – before going on safari and a river cruise in Botswana's Chobe National Park...

 | Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Botswana Luxury Safari and Victoria Falls

Experience the paradise of Botswana and enjoy game viewing as well as exciting activities in Zambia ...

 | Two weeks in Botswana - a luxury safari itinerary

Two weeks in Botswana - a luxury safari itinerary

The ideal safari to capture Botswana's unrivalled beauty and abundance of flora and fauna through the lens...

 | Botswana and Zimbabwe safari

Botswana and Zimbabwe safari

Experience the best of Africa, from the Okavango Delta – to the diverse game viewing at the Chobe National Park and ending at the thundering Victoria Falls...

 | Highlights of Botswana

Highlights of Botswana

Experience two of Botswana's best safari destinations; the Savute region and Okavango Delta ...

 | 8-day Botswana premier safari collection

8-day Botswana premier safari collection

Choose our Botswana premier collection and experience a traditional big game wildlife safari in one of Africa’s top destinations. ...

 | Highlights of Southern Africa

Highlights of Southern Africa

Exploring these areas of the Southern African continent should on top of your bucket list...

 | Big Five safari in the Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve

Botswana Chobe and Moremi Adventure safari

Encounter the extraordinary herd of elephants and other species that will make your safari remarkable ...

 | Safari in Zimbabwe and Botswana

Safari in Zimbabwe and Botswana

Explore the thundering Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and the wildlife rich Okavango Delta...

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