Are game drives at Chobe Chilwero too congested?

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Feb 8th, 2005, 03:40 PM
  #1
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Are game drives at Chobe Chilwero too congested?

I visited Chobe in 1995. At that time Chilwero had simple cottages and was not the luxury camp it is today. While we saw a little more traffic in the park than we did in Zambia or the Okavango, it wasn't so bad that it got in the way of a good game drive. Has traffic/comgestion become worse? I'm a little nervous about it for an upcoming trip.

Also, we're looking at visiting Singita Boulders and Mombo Camp for the same trip (Sept. 2006). Any comments about the lodges would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
travelwmn is offline  
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Feb 8th, 2005, 08:21 PM
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I was in Chobe Aug 2003, both Savuti (coming overland from Moremi) and along the river. I don't know what you are comparing to, but it really isn't very crowded, certainly not compared to a Kruger or Ngorongoro. Yes, we saw other vehicles particularly on the river toward sunset, but there is plenty of room so when you stop no one is nearby. Especially since the main sight at Chobe is the massive elephant herds, it isn't like everyone has to crowd around the same thing. By contrast, the main water hole near the lodge at Savuti can draw a crowd of people -- especially since there were two prides contending for the same elephant carcass. I counted 31 lions all present at one time (and every one of them in motion, in the daytime!), so yes it was crowded around that spectacle. I think even Natl Geographic would have been pleased if it could have filmed the 10 second fight between the prides. But anyway, away from the waterholes southern Chobe is very uncrowded.

We were camping so I can't comment on the lodging.
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Feb 9th, 2005, 05:29 AM
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I stayed at Chobe Game Lodge during my visit in August 2001, and while there were certainly times that we felt isolated, the drive along the river were busy, and I counted more than 20 cars surrounding a pride of lions. The Chobe riverfront provides fantastic game viewing, but it does get crowded, much more so than either Zambia (my experience limited to South Luangwa) or the delta.
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Feb 9th, 2005, 05:58 AM
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We were at Chilwero in November and there was little traffic. Except down at the river area when they stop for "sundowners" - a perfect spot, but still only two or three vehicles and some boats. Otherwise traffic is the park was minimal. However, November is not a very busy time - there were only 3-4 houses/rooms occupied on the two days we were at Chilwero when we were there.

The new Chilwero is certainly a change from the original. You should enjoy.
 
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Feb 9th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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I was at Wilderness Safari's Savuti Camp in June 2005 and didn't find it crowded at all. We'd see other vehicles from our own camp from time to time, and rarely we'd also see King's Pool vehicles, especially when we found the wild dogs which were right near King's Pool at the time. We didn't see any vehicles from other operators in our area. I can't comment for crowding in the wider Chobe region.

We visited Little Mombo for the second time in June 2005, after our first visit in 2001. We were quite apprehensive because several reports made it clear that guiding standards had slipped during 2002/2003 but were delighted to find that this had been resolved by our second visit. Game viewing was as good as ever and staff were friendly and helpful.

Accommodation is beautiful and incredibly spacious but very much designed to give style within a traditional tented dwelling. You will still encounter insects in the rooms, for example, because the space is certainly not fully sealed. Note that you do not have baths here as water and the electricity to heat it is at a premium. If you're there in winter you might want to shower during the midday break when water and air temperature are nice and warm.

From what I understand, Singita accommodation is a somewhat different experience. It's equally stylish and attractive (perhaps more) but less rustic and more luxurious. Although I have heard game viewing is good, I have also heard that emphasis is also on meals, drinks and so on and it offers a service more akin to a small, boutique, luxury hotel. Perhaps someone who has been to both can comment.

I'd be pleased to visit Singita one day but the desire is not strong enough to justify prices.

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May 13th, 2005, 04:02 PM
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We were in Botswana last April and Chobe Chilwero was our last stop. After being in the Okavango and Savute etc. Chobe Chilwero didn't feel like "real Botswana" to us. There were huge game vehicles with 20 passengers when we spent most of our safari in Botswana in and a Landcruiser with 4 passengers. There were so many trucks and our driver advised that the game viewing was not good. Generally we found that he was correct.

But I have to tell you that our last night in Botswana in Chilwero along the Chobe river we were desperately seeking those last few pictures of sunset across the Chobe river. We had taken tons of pictures everywhere. The last sweep at in that area there were two little impalas along the river at sunset who turned their heads in the sunset and I took the most amazing picture of my entire travel experience. I have a picture of the Chobe river at sunset with two little impalas, heads turned and ears perked looking toward us. A relative, who doesn't travel much, commented "It would have been worth that much money for the trip to Africa just to have taken a picture like this"
Several others have commented that it looks like a postcard. Not a pro photographer this is a souvenir, my favourite of any I have from anywhere, that I will cherish for life and it was taken along the Chobe river at Chobe Chilero. Every place has it's moments and Chobe Chilwero has a place in my heart forever.
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May 13th, 2005, 04:44 PM
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I know what you are talking about. I 1st stayed at Chilwero in '87. Rarely see more than a couple other vehicles then in a day. Now there is considerable traffic as botswana is very much in Vogue comparably. I drive independently now and attempt to avoid all the traffic and it still finds me.
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