free day in chobe, what to do?

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May 15th, 2005, 08:33 AM
  #1
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free day in chobe, what to do?

i'm going on an organized 14day safari to balule, kruger, chobe and vic falls. the itinerary lists one "free day" in chobe for rest or doing optional day trips. (doesn't list the options) any suggestions or ideas what the options would be? i don't want to lay around the pool all day. well be based at chobe safari lodge. thanks in advance!
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May 15th, 2005, 09:15 AM
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I agree with you--I can sit at a pool at home.

First, I would think if you asked your agent, they'd be happy to provide you with some activites that might be offered to you at a special price.

Chobe Safari Lodge offers:

A walking safari in Zambia.

Visiting local villages. I think you can even see one in Namibia.

Fishing (tigerfish I think) on the Chobe
River.

Bird walks for bird watching.

Boat safaris for birds and game.

Evening sunset safari cruise on the river.

Additional regular game drives.

You can see what activities your itinerary includes and try to add something different. Even if it is already included, the sunset Chobe River cruise was quite spectacular and might be worth doing twice.

Have a nice day in Chobe and on safari!
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May 15th, 2005, 11:59 AM
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sandi
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Even staying at Chobe Safari Lodge, it's not you can take a leisurely walk down to the corner market or mall (there aren't any)... you're out in the wilderness. Closest town is Kasane and there aren't many options there.

If you've got a "free-day" there have got to be are optional (for a fee) activities in which you can participate. Some have been mentioned above, but you should be able to get specifics from your tour operator (and associated costs) for your consideration. Contact them!
 
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May 15th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Matnikstym: if you go to Google and type in Chobe Safari Lodge, its web page will say "activities", and you cn look at the options. I don't know where you are staying, but activities probably don't vary by much. Chobe Safari Lodge offers day trips by flight to the Okavango Delta, so perhaps if you look into the activities of you lodging, you may find similar. Even if you don't plan something specific, I would think just the time to be on one place and absorb it's "ambience" would be one great activity, esp if you are on the river. Have a great experience. Susan
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May 16th, 2005, 09:57 AM
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Matnikstym,
All the above posts are accurate and of course please do not sit by the pool all day (unless you really need the rest)!

We stayed at the Chobe Safari Lodge last year. They have their own activity center which is open all day. The game drives may be a little tame if you are coming off of a 14 day safari although those are the only ones we did and we loved them. The River Cruises around sunset were pretty spectacular but make sure you take a look at the website to see what the boats look like.

The week we were there we decided to splurge and do the one day fly in and fly out of Okavango (mokoro ride and all) but we were sorely disappointed to find out that the one pilot's schedule was limited and he was booked up. If you are thinking of doing this I would really recommend inquiring in advance. Also, some of the private boat rides for birding and fishing might also have limited availability so advance reservations might help. If this is too much of an effort then the game drives and cruises usually have availability unless you are going during peak season.

Hope this helps. We'd love to see a trip report when you return!
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May 16th, 2005, 04:40 PM
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Jeorgiagirl: How did you find Chobe Safari Lodge? What were the vehicles like that took you out on safari? I can hardly wait. What kind of experience did you have re passport into Botswana or visa? I don't know if you read my post asking others about this. We are flying into J'burg then to Cape Town, then Kruger, then Vic Falls (Zimbabwe), Chobe, back to J'burg, and home to Florida. I am not sure how to pack for the weather, but it seems from my reading that cold nights and mornings are going to be the expectation. Susan
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May 16th, 2005, 05:41 PM
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thanks for the advice jeorgiagirl, atravelynn, sandy and susan! will definitely check out the activities beforehand. not going until october. susan, when you return, let me know what you did on your free day, prices etc. (she's going on the same safari, only 4 months earlier!) hows the camera susan? email me and let me know!
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May 17th, 2005, 07:43 AM
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Susan,
If you click on my name above you'll see all the posts I have responded to including one last year specifically about the safari vehicles used (on a 2Afrika trip but at Chobe Safari Lodge).

In that same post I also have an Ofoto/Kodak Gallery link which has about 100 pictures. Half way thru those you'll see a picture of the game vehicles they use.

The mornings and evenings were chilly last May and a windbreaker and maybe even a light wrap may help. The wind really does cut through and there is probably a 10-15 minute ride on the equivalent of freeway until you get to the national park gate.

Overall we were very pleased with Chobe Safari Lodge. It is not "luxury tenting" but was clean and well maintained. There were only two of us but they still put us in one of the family suites which had an extra back room with bunk beds. However, we hardly even opened the door except to store our suitcases.

As far as the passport goes it looks like most of your questions have already been addressed. I do recall being in line in Atlanta to board the South African Airways plane and noticing one of the attendants looking at everyone's passport to see at least two blank pages. I barely remember passport issues with Botswana. I can recall some strange cash transactions at Zimbabwe's border but we had been advised on this before so it was not really a surprise. And it seemed legitimate since everything was logged and some type of sticker was put into the passport and then officially stamped.

Vic Falls last year was amazing. The heavy rains caused one of the all time highest flows and the spray was overwhelming. It made photography a bit of a challenge. It will be interesting to get your impressions of the Zim side- economy and all.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask!
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May 18th, 2005, 07:12 PM
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found out from chobe safari lodge that they are not doing the okavango delta trip as the water level is too low. anybody do the nambian village trip?
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May 19th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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Matnikstym,
Amazing that the water level is too low. Water levels were so high at this time last year that everything was flooded. Even the little Sedudu Island you can see from Chobe Safari Lodge was immersed except a few high points and termite mounds.

Anyhow, the excursion to the Namibian village was a nice break from all the game drives and cruises. Only after recently reviewing your itineray do I now realize you are doing a game drive and river cruise your first day followed by a "free" day the second.

The village trip was about 3 hours. The experience of doing a border crossing on a small boat (I think there were 5 of us total on the boat) was interesting enough. The village interaction was mainly with the women and children. The men were off at work or fishing. I think we spent close to an hour walking through the village and using the guide as a translator.

Another tip if you do go on this trip is to bring a few extra dollars (or pula - they seemed to want pula over USD or Euros). Some of the women make those fine woven baskets in their spare time to generate some extra revenue. They only had a few to offer but the money helps out the village and they made great, small, light-weight keepsakes. On top of that, they were less expensive than what we saw them charge in Kasane.

We were also able to do the fishing trip although later we found out the reason we did not catch anything is because the fishing season is later (August, perhaps?). At that peak time we heard it is virtually impossible to even hire a boat to "Tiger" fish. Nevertheless, there was something very tranquil about slowly drifting on the Chobe River for a few hours, surrounded only by tall reeds, on a nice sunny day.

Have a great trip!
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