Houseboats Safaris on the Chobe River are fast becoming a very popular experience. This is an ideal add on to any Botswana Safari and we highly recommend them. Bear in mind that the Chobe River has in the past few years become very over-crowded with the numerous hotels between Kasane and Elephant Bay. After your Safari in the Okavango Delta, Savuti, Selinda or Linyanti this is an ideal way to experience the wildlife from the River. Many of our guests have thanked us for doing houseboat safaris at the end of their Botswana Safari, so hope to see you on a houseboat safari soon.
Game viewing by boat into the Chobe National Park is a remarkable experience – where huge herds of elephants come down to drink together with an extensive array of other game such as buffalo, giraffe, leopard, lion, kudu, waterbuck, puku, lechwe, impala and baboons. The evening boat trip provides the guest with the unforgettable experience of witnessing a true African sunset, while being surrounded by herds of elephant and sipping on a cold sundowner.
The excellent guides are internationally known for their success in landing Tigerfish, especially when fly-fishing. For the novice fisherman, landing a Tiger is an accomplishment to aspire to and will undoubtedly provide memorable stories for years to come. Other species of fish which may be landed include Tilapia, Largemouth bream, Catfish and Squeakers. The Houseboats have fishing access to over 30 km of Chobe River, over 120 km of Zambezi River and many kilometres of waterways in the Kasai and Indibe wetlands. Each of these areas offers a different fishing experience. Guests have access to a series of good quality boats all with large motors, including a jet boat for the rapids and rocky areas. The major fishing attraction is Tigerfish.
These legendary fighters are equipped with an extraordinarily large tail and a specialized bone structure, allowing them to accelerate like a rocket and hit your bait like no other fish of equal size. Their teeth are formidable and they prey on other fish up to 40% of their own weight. They grow up to 16 lbs but even 4 lbs specimens fight like champions. Tiger are essentially a summer fish being more active in the warmer water, so the traditional season is September through to February when the rivers are low and clear. We do however have a short window period in June when the water is coming off the flood plains and the Tiger are feeding well. We do catch a range of bream (Yellow bellied, Thin face, Hump back) both with conventional tackle and on fly – they measure up to 3 kgs and, being predatory fish, give a good account of themselves. We also target Barbel (catfish) which measure up to 15 kgs. We do fish from the banks and rocks in the rapids but are always careful about the potential hazard of crocodiles. When guests arrive they are allocated a guide and boat and then free to do whatever fishing they would like for the duration of their stay aboard The Houseboat.
Bird watching is a year round pleasure with over 400 recorded species and a combination of water birds and woodland birds on the island. It is an excellent place to see all the summer migrants from September through to March. There is a wide variety of habitats covered by the vessels and all guides are competent birders.
Excursions by Mekoro
Mekoros (dugout canoes) can drift into the small islands which exist in the Chobe River and form part of the rapid system. The experienced polers are also knowledgeable in all the various bird species to be found during the trip. This activity is influenced by river conditions.
Walks can be arranged on Impalila Island and on the Namibian mainland. These are very interesting as there is a varied ecology and the villages offer an insight into traditional African life. From the top of an ancient Baobab tree on Impalila Island one can view the meeting place of the four countries – Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana.
Ask the crew to pack a cooler for you before departing by tenderboat to experience the splendour of an African sunset.