South African traveller, researcher, and photography enthusiast, Senzelwe Mthembu is a self-learning snapper and storyteller that visited Nata Lodge and Chobe Safari Lodge on a #BucketlistBotswana road trip to see how easy it is to explore.
With a background in politics, philosophy, economics and a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, for Senz, travel is a lifestyle, which fuses art, fashion, wellness, culture and so much more. She uses her beautiful images and careful words to tell a fuller narrative about the African continent and shares fantastic tips on how to navigate it – because she believes that travel is possible for everyone.
Also read: The Best SADC Specials in Botswana for a Safari Escape
Here are her impressions of Chobe Safari Lodge plus tips and tricks for visiting northern Botswana.
What was the most surprising aspect of Chobe?
Mainly, it was just how abundant wildlife was in Chobe. I did not expect that Chobe had the highest concentration of elephants and moreover, it was my first time seeing elephants almost fully submerged in water. During my stay at Chobe Safari Lodge, I experienced some of my most unique game viewing to date.
I also had no idea that this part of Botswana was in such close proximity to Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. On one boat safari, I learned that the Chobe River is the only river that flows in both directions.
What did you like most about the rooms at Chobe Safari Lodge?
I loved that the rooms reminded me of some of my very first safari lodge experiences with family in South Africa. There was a familiarity about the thatched roof and the way the bed looked out into surrounding nature.
From my room, I could hear hippos and other wildlife and watch sunsets from my veranda. I am also a fan of rooms with long mirrors and a place to store your luggage that is away from the bedroom, as well as small but thoughtful touches.
What’s your number-one must-do activity in Chobe?
I would do an evening dinner boat cruise for a special occasion or to mark the end of a beautiful trip in Chobe.
The chef cooks up a delicious three-course meal onboard the most welcoming and romantic atmosphere and the stillness of the night while cruising the Chobe River along with sounds of wildlife is just incredible. The menu on my trip included beef seswaa and pap (a traditional Setswana dish) plus parmesan-crusted fillet of Chobe bream (a popular fish in the region) and some of the chef’s interesting creations such as the tomato and mint sorbet served with strawberry brandy. It was an evening to remember!
If not this then a daytime boat safari definitely ticks all the boxes.
What did you think of the flights and airport in Kasane?
Kasane airport really took me by surprise! The building looks brand new, is clean, functional and modern but there is also an abundance of shuttle and transfer services to take you to your lodge in no time.
Anything you wish you knew before travelling to Botswana? One thing you’d tell your best friend?
I wish I knew that there were areas within Botswana that are worth visiting that are easily accessible to South Africans wishing to self-drive.
In Nata, for example, there are affordable lodges and campsites which offer a good base for some game-viewing. I also wish I knew that depending on the time of year (and how long the dry or wet season lasts) your experience of a region can change quite significantly. This was the case in my experiences of the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans which I visited in different years.
After experiencing the salt pans at their driest in November of 2019 I was surprised to see them filled up with water on my second visit in June 2021.
Why would you return to Botswana?
The landscapes are incredibly breathtaking and diverse, to my surprise. Despite distances between locations, there’s always something interesting or surprising along your journey, whether it’s a palm tree in the distance, a “warning of elephants” road sign or honesty stalls selling wood on the side of the road.
Botswana is simply beautiful without having to alter itself – the sunsets, the tones, the majestic wildlife, the warm welcome you receive at every lodge. The lodges and campsites themselves are tucked away and fit right into nature.
Anything else you’d want to share?
I love how in Botswana even an unofficial game drive is still eventful. We saw so much wildlife en route to the next camp and so whether you are in your car travelling to your accommodation for the night or have just checked in you are always very close to nature.
You also get the sense that anything is possible in the wilderness that is Botswana!
How much is it to stay at Chobe Safari Lodge?
Accommodation in the safari rooms where Senz stayed costs from BWP699 per person sharing B&B or BWP999 for a single traveller B&B.
Travel Tip: Score a complimentary Chobe River cruise valued at BWP225 when you book for three nights or more!
To make a reservation at Chobe Safari Lodge call +2676250336 or +267 247 1112 or mail email@example.com