Why you should combine Chobe and Makgadikgadi

by MMC
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If you have been captivated by the appeal of Botswana safaris, you are probably already planning your next adventure. Although Botswana is renowned for its Okavango DeltaIf you like originality and unconventionality, there is a unique combination worth exploring: Chobe National Park and the Makgadikgadi salt pans. At first glance, this may seem like an odd pairing, but there is a method to this apparent madness. As Aristotle pointed out, there is often a fine line between madness and genius. Luckily for me, I work with African travel experts who are happy to answer my questions. Two of these experts, Janine and Danielle, gave me their opinions on why these two destinations are a must-see when visiting Botswana!

A bird's eye view of Chobe National Park!

A bird’s eye view of Chobe National Park

Why Chobe?

So why Chobe National Park in particular? On this, our travel experts agree: elephants! Danielle shared her exciting encounter seeing elephants in Chobe.

“There are elephants everywhere! A family of elephants was crossing the river and there was a little baby. It was quite interesting to see how they crossed the water, because they actually went underwater, and it was very deep too! You can I don’t even see them for a few minutes. – Danielle.

We both thought about how the baby was able to handle this. Naturally, we only had one solution: Google it! The short answer is that they are particularly adapted to crossing water, being able to float and using their trunk as a snorkel when walking along the river bed. Who knew?

“I have never seen so many elephants congregate in one area, and I will never forget driving to an open pool where there must have been over 500 elephants heading towards the Chobe River.” – Janine.

Elephants crossing the Chobe River

It’s amazing to see elephants crossing the Chobe River, image credit: Chobe Game Lodge

But Chobe is no wonder, with our two experts having incredible encounters with various other wildlife. Janine also highlighted the unique experience of a boat safari along the Chobe River.

“It’s very unique to be able to observe the animals from the perspective of a boat and to be able to sail close to them drinking from the banks of the river while remaining silent.” – Janine.

So Chobe has a lot to offer both experienced and new safari enthusiasts!

Couple on private sunset boat tour with snacks

See Chobe from a whole new perspective on a boat safari, image credit: Chobe Chilwero Sanctuary

Where to stay in Chobe National Park

So now that I’ve established why I’m coming to Chobe, there’s just the question of where to stay! Here are the recommendations from our experts:

Why Makgadigadi?

So what makes Makgadikgadi special? Janine described the experience vividly.

“The Makgadikgadi is such a contrast to Chobe, and when we got on the sets it felt like we were walking on the moon! We were lucky enough to take quads to the middle of the sets, which seemed to last forever. It was one of the most surreal experiences to feel like we were on another planet.” – Janine.

Cheetah on the central Kalahari plains of Botswana

Seeing a cheetah in action is an impressive sight!

As for watching the match, Janine said you have to prepare yourself to be surprised, just like her.

“When we were here we saw four cheetahs stalking their prey and were able to spend a lot of time with them as we were the only vehicle!” – Janine.

Danielle, for her part, having experienced a meerkat tour, exclaimed that she loved it!

“You have to get up early at dawn and go to where they’re digging. You sit there with a cup of coffee and you watch them.” –Danielle.

Another added the bucket list, a list that only grows longer as I learn from my fellow African travel enthusiasts.

Meerkats with Jacks Camp in Botswana

Imagine sitting with a cup of coffee and watching these little guys go about their business. Image credit: Jacks Camp

But just like Chobe, Makgadikgadi has lots of amazing experiences to offer, and Janine had many suggestions to share with me.

“You can go on foot with a guide and experience this land from a different perspective, and you can also choose to walk with the ancient Bushmen. Safaris can really surprise you when you see how the landscape changes from being closer to the pans to go deeper into the savannah. If you can, quad biking along the pans is a must, as is horseback riding!” – Janine.

Horseback riding through the dry basins

It is truly a supernatural experience to see the salt flats while galloping on horseback, image credit: Jacks Camp

Where to Stay in Makgadikgadi Pans

Here are some suggestions on where to stay in the Makgadikgadi Pans during your adventure!

Why this original combination?

So why both together? Danielle put it best when she said that all the different regions of Botswana offer a very diverse experience.

Variety is the spice of life, so why not add this philosophy to your travels in Africa? With Chobe, you get the best of both worlds, enjoying land and water experiences and, of course, elephants!

As an aside, after these interviews I added seeing an elephant use its trunk as a snorkel to my personal bucket list. But back to the main point. With Makgadikgadi, you can experience what it would be like to be on the moon, all without ever having to leave our planet.

So choose your own adventure. Get in touch with our travel experts, and let’s start planning your dream African safari today!

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