Should I go to Chobe?

Jun 26th, 2005, 06:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 31
Should I go to Chobe?

Still working on planning my Botswana safari for next June. We've settled on Duma Tau as one destination, which sounds great from all your recommendations. Would a visit there satisfy our desire to see elephant herds, or should we book a few nights at a place like Muchenje as well. I really appreciate all your expert advice.
poppys is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 07:06 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 172
Hi poppys, I would be flying from LA22-25 hrs in flight) So if I were making the decision, I would go to more than one type of location (I would want at least 3 days at each spot though). One water based, one more dry. That way, I would have a better chance of seeing a good variety of animals, birds, bugs etc. JMO Suzic
suzic is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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As to Chobe or not, below was a previous post of yours, so if you are looking at about 9 nights, Chobe and a water camp would be nice additions to Duma Tau. Since Chobe is not as remote as some of the other camps, it has more people in it. That could also be a consideration.

1. Kwara Camp 3 nights
Kwando Lebala Camp 3 nights
Muchenje Lodge 3 nights

2. Duma Tau 2-3 nights
Nxabega 2-3 nights
Sandibe or Impalila (in Namibia) 2-3 nights

As to Duma Tau satisfying your desire to see elephants, that's hard to predict. I was at both Duma Tau and Chobe in July and saw more elephants in Chobe, but had good elephant and overall experiences both places. You can also do a Chobe River sunset cruise that is a wonderful opportunity to see elephants and other animals.

Wherever you go beside Duma Tau, you'll likely see more elephants, though not in the numbers.

If elepant viewing is a prime reason for your trip, I'd go to good elephant places, such as Duma Tau and Chobe. It's not like you are sacrificing other species by staying in these places. You can see everything but rhino at Duma Tau and Chobe, two stong game parks.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Atravelynn has it right...huge herds of elephants in Chobe are probably the surest thing in Africa, and seeing them from the water as they come to drink is superb. If you are extending your vacation (rather than trading off days), definitely add chobe. It's also cheaper than the other destinations in Bots (I believe) and Muchenje is a nice, small lodge.

I'm not a big fan of Duma Tau in June...I was there in June last year, and the area is very very hit or miss at that time of year (even the guides acknowledge this...once you get there! From our stay, I can't really understand how it keeps its reputation as a year round camp. It's not good year round... It was largish, a bit tired, not particularly well run...and in June it seemed that our drives were quite limited (by high water) to the same areas, and there was not alot going on in those areas. Night drives in June seemed to be a particular waste (grass was high). We saw absolutely zip/zero/nothing in 3 days of night drives. The boating options were similarly boring and disappointing. Unlike several other camps that have worked out boat transfers to drives on the other side of the water (Kwetsani, Jao, Tubu, Vumbura) Duma Tau doesn't have this, so when it's boring, it is really boring. It's not a camp I'd recommend in June...maybe in August/September...
tashak is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 09:24 AM
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Posts: 31
Hi Atravelynn (I also love your name), you keep such good track of people's posts. Since my previous queries, and due to the great advice I have been receiving, I had settled on Sandibe, Nxabega, Duma Tau and Impalila - - with a mix of 2-3 nights each. (I nixed Kwando camps early on because of the mixed reviews on this site. ) But then yesterday, I spoke to a travel agent who told me she thought I'd be missing out if I didn't go to a lodge right in Chobe, where I could do the Chobe River Cruise and see the great herds of elephants. So I was trying to decide if I should replace Duma Tau or Impalila with Muchenje. I get the impression that your view would be to perhaps add Muchenje to the mix (but keep Impalila), whereas Tashak might suggest dropping Duma Tau altogether if we go in June (which we are). At some point - fairly soon- - I'll have to make a final decision, but I figure I still have some time to ask questions and get advice from those in the know. Thanks!
poppys is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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Posts: 396
Wow, all these conflicting experiences! We were just at Duma Tau in early June (about 2-3 weeks ago) and it was great. We saw lots of elephants plus wild dogs and cheetahs. Granted, I think the rains were less than last year, but the whole area was so exceedingly dry I can't imagine it being flooded in June. We drove huge areas including the dried up Savuti channel with big grazing herds, the lagoon, river, etc. The one complaint I would have of Duma Tau is that it's so dry. I would also agree that the boat ride is boring and absolutely no substitute for a true water camp.

The elephants were predictable like clock work and the herds (the ones we saw had 15-20 elephants) went to drink at the Linyanti river every afternoon. It was fun to watch them cross the river. We did have a couple with us that just came from Chobe, and they said they saw much bigger herds there. Even just taking off from Kasane you can look down and see huge herds of elephants at the Chobe river.

So, if you're truly keen on seeing big herds of elephants, I think Chobe would be good. Maybe only 2 nights each at Chobe and Duma Tau if you decide to do both?

linjudy is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 11:59 AM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 72
In my opinion you can do the Chobe River if you say in Impalila.
It’s difficult to explain.
I stay in this area last December.
You must cross the Chobe River to go to Impalila Lodge.
Impalila Lodge can provide also a Chobe River Cruise also. You have 3 or 4 Lodges is Islands close to Chobe.
You will realise that to go to Impalila Lodge you must lave from Kasane (Chobe).
...Impalila is also the most secluded and remote of the Chobe destinations but close enough to offer guests the very best of the Chobe River – that is game viewing by boat...
I loved to stay in this area. We saw elephants (lostīs of), Hippos all over...and birds.
I didnīt stay at Impalila, but at Kingīs Den Lodge. I think Impalila Lodge is superior then Kingīs Den Lodge, and maybe better then Lodge close to Chobe.

I hope I can return soon

Fil is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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Glad you had such a good June experience at DumaTau...that is why I used the term "hit or miss" for June-- it is very dependent on water level, which is impossible to predict a year in advance. And indeed, the water levels were very high in 2004 when I was there. My problem with Duma Tau was that unlike those camps that have made arrangements that allow them to move people to better areas (boat to a vehicle type transfers--common at Vum, and the Jao concession camps), DT doesn't do that, hence the repetitive and ultimately boring drives. Honestly, we did the same d*** drive to the same areas 3 days in a row, and there really wasn't much on any of them! Also, unlike other camps (Kwetsani) they were totally inflexible when we asked for arrangements that could improve game viewing for everyone. Full-day drive with picnic? No. Go out earlier in the afternoon to avoid the totally wasted "night drive"? No. The reason they gave: the guides had to pick people up at airstrip! Somehow, they found it impossible to find an extra driver or vehicle to do the totally perfunctory airstrip pickups. Compared to the flexibility & service levels I experienced at the other WS camps, I found DT a big letdown.
tashak is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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Fil's suggestion of a Chobe River cruise from Impalila sounds good. I'd see what an agent has to say about that.

If you post your plans to date we can make comments on your whole trip.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 03:29 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 31
Plans to date for June 2006:
J'burg for a few nights (with friends)
Sandibe x 2 or 3 nights (not sure)
Nxabega x 2
Duma Tau x 2
Impalilia x 2
Zambezi Sun at Vic Falls x 2
Gaborone x 2 -We want to do the #1 Ladies Detective Agency Tour. (Not sure if we will do that before or after the safari)
Back to J'burg for 2 nights and then most likely to the Eastern Cape (to see friends) for a few days before returning to North America.
I checked on Impalila's website and it looks like they do have evening cruises on the Chobe River.
poppys is offline  
Jun 26th, 2005, 09:59 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We just spent 4 nights at Impalila and they do morning and evening game cruises on the Chobe river.

We went out 3 times and saw more elephants than I've ever seen before. Breeding herds, bachelor herds, lone bulls, herds eating grass on the small islands in the river, one herd running along the river bank, herds drinking and playing in the water at sunset, and one herd swimming across the river using their trunks as snorkels!

At Impalila they seemed very good at accommodating particular interests or requirements - so if you told them you were particularly interested in elephant herds I'm sure they would do their best to ensure you saw as many as possible!
hanl is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 12:52 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 68
If you do go to Chobe, try hiring a private boat for the river cruise. I think all the lodges do this. We took one cruise on a kind of pontoon barge with a ton of other people, and it was a dissapointment, a lot of the people had no interest in animals and just yakked. Then we hired a boat and guide for the afternoon and had a tremendous time, poking along and looking at all the elephants, and hippos, and crocs, and lizards, and birds, and . . .

Private boat was a wonderful experience and didn't cost much.
Scout52 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2005, 04:05 AM
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Posts: 31
Thanks for the information. It sounds like sticking with Impalila is the right decision.
poppys is offline  

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