Travel Tips
9 tips for a successful self-drive safari in Chobe National Park

9 tips for a successful self-drive safari

The Chobe National Park in Northern Botswana boasts some of the most spectacular wildlife encounters in the world. A self-drive safari can be one of the best ways to experience the wonders that Chobe has to offer. The freedom to move at your own pace and plan your adventures can make for some wonderful memories. Here is a list of tips to help you make the most of a self-drive safari!

Be prepared

Pack your bird and animal identification books, binoculars, camera, and GPS if you have one. As you enter the park speak to the employees about the best routes for game viewing, get maps of these areas if possible and familiarise yourself with park rules.

4×4 Hire

When hiring a car make sure it is a fully equipped 4×4 which can handle the deep sand and rugged terrain. Familiarise yourself with the vehicle before you leave and ask for assistance if you are unsure of anything.

Be friendly

Being friendly helps; ask guides and other fellow selfdrivers about what they have seen. The speed limit is slow and roads have single tracks or lanes, which allow you to converse with passing drivers while in the safety of your car.

Safety

Never get out of your car unless at designated stretch points and toilets in the park, and still use caution when in these areas as animals may be close by. Take extra supplies: water, food, sun cream, etc. in case you get stranded. In the event you do break down or get stuck stay with the vehicle until help arrives.

Respect the animals

Leave plenty of space between you and the wildlife you are viewing, try not to block their movements and be prepared to move out of their way if necessary.

Be considerate of others

Don’t spend too much time at a sighting if a lot of other vehicles are crowded around, give other park users a chance to enjoy the experience. When you stop for an animal or meet an oncoming car, pull slightly off the road to allow other drivers room to pass.

Finding predators

Don’t spend too much time at a sighting if a lot of other vehicles are crowded around, give other park users a chance to enjoy the experience. When you stop for an animal or meet an oncoming car, pull slightly off the road to allow other drivers room to pass.

No off-road driving

Never drive your vehicle off-road: You could get stuck in deep sand, thorns could puncture your tyres or you may destroy animal habitats and vegetation.

Early mornings / Late afternoons are the best

Pay park entrance fees the day before; mornings at the gate can be busy and you may find long queues. If you enter before other drivers you will be able to see and follow animal tracks from the night before. Later in the day, particularly in the dry season, large herds of animals tend to congregate along the riverfront.

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  • 4×4 Prado rental, including petrol

  • 1 guidebook on mammals of Botswana

  • 1 guidebook on birds of Southern Africa

  • 1 detailed map of Chobe National Park

  • 1 pair of binoculars

  • 1 cooler box

  • 1 GPS with Tracks4Africa

  • 1 satellite phone
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