Tumbling from the highlands of southeastern Angola, the Chobe River marks the boundary between Namibia and Botswana before it flows into the Zambezi near Victoria Falls. About as wild as a river can be in the 21st century, the Chobe is flanked by national parks and reserves rich in African flora and fauna. Most of the overnight cruises originate in Kasane (Botswana) and head upriver into a land where elephants are still more numerous than people.
What We Love
Elephants: The floodplain on the Botswana side of the Chobe River harbors the world's largest concentration of pachyderms, with herds that can range up to 100 animals or more.
The Wetlands: The swamps and marshes along the middle stretch of the Chobe are a habitat for unique water-loving mammals, such as sitatunga and lechwe antelope, spotted-necked otters, and hippos, as well as water monitor lizards, crocodiles, and hundreds of bird species.
Best Known For
Chobe National Park: One of Africa's premier wildlife sanctuaries, this giant park and its satellite reserves protect most of the Botswana side of the Chobe River. The region's biodiversity is off the charts.
Caprivi Strip: This elongated panhandle of Namibia — created by the Germans and British in 1890 when they divvied up this part of Africa — is home to several national parks and has a much different cultural heritage from across the river in Botswana.
Shop for Cruises
Kasane: Starting point for many river cruises, Kasane is really the only port along the entire length of the Chobe. Located near the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, the Botswana town is also renowned as the secluded spot where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got married (for the second time) in 1975.
Victoria Falls and Livingstone: Although not on the Chobe River, the twin towns on either side of Victoria Falls are the closest thing resembling cities in this part of Africa. They're also hubs for outdoor activities such as bungee jumping, whitewater rafting, helicopter tours, horseback riding, and even crocodile cage diving.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
It's the Middle of Nowhere: Don't expect museums, nightclubs, or shopping boutiques. Wildlife and wide-open spaces are the reasons you cruise the Chobe.
Joe Yogerst is a California-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Travel + Leisure.