On one hand, Kasane is a regular border town. On the other, it’s the wildest town in Botswana.
Kasane is not only the gateway to the Chobe National Park, but it’s also magnificently perched on the banks of the abundant Chobe River and shares its streets with elephants, warthogs and African wild dogs. Yup, just on a ride in from the airport, you might see a pack of them on the way to your lodge.
Located in the north-western corner of Botswana, this village is also an ideal base for exploring other African countries. Kasane overlooks Namibia’s Zambezi Region (previously named the Caprivi Strip), offers ferries across the river to Zambia and it’s an easy day trip to explore the nearby Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
There’s plenty to do and see using Kasane as your base, here are ten of the best.
10 incredible ways to explore Kasane
1. Go on a boat-based safari
The biggest reason to visit Kasane and the Chobe Region is the river. The Chobe River forms the border with Namibia and merges with the mighty Zambezi before it plunges over Victoria Falls further downstream.
On the Botswana side, the river also forms part of the Chobe National Park. It’s an abundant source of wildlife with incredible game viewing. See the continent’s greatest concentration of elephants from the water on a sundowner cruise or private boat ride in the early morning.
Many lodges in Kasane offer the activity, but Chobe Safari Lodge is closest to the park for the easy access.
2. Hop on a game drive into the Chobe National Park
Once you’ve had your fix of wildlife from the water, it’s time to head for land.
As mentioned, this area is home to Africa’s largest elephant population and Chobe is the third-largest conservation area in Botswana. Individual herds here sometimes number in the hundreds and there are an estimated 120,000 elephants in total! You’re likely to find them with ease, but cruising into the park on land should also up your chances of finding predators, such as leopard and lion.
Most lodges and campsites organise three-hour game drives into Chobe National Park.
3. Explore neighbouring Namibia with a local
Just a short boat cruise across the Chobe River lies Impalila Island. Forming part of Namibia, the island is 26 km long and home to 2,100 people. Join a guided tour with a local to explore a village and see what life is like on the other side of the river. There is no electricity on the island and traditionally, the buildings are constructed using what is available, which is mostly sand and reeds.
4. Enjoy a romantic dinner cruise
Tired of the buffet? Experience the Chobe River at night and listen to the nocturnal life along the river while sipping a glass of red at a romantic candle-lit dinner. The waters are smooth and the food is delicious, but the real appeal is the stars. The dinner boats have an upper deck to escape to between courses so you can appreciate Botswana’s incredible sky.
5. Pangolin photo safaris
If you’d like to leave the Chobe region with epic wildlife shots, then a three-hour Pangolin photo boat safari into the Chobe National Park is the only way to do it.
The photographic boats are specially stabilised for minimal movement on the Chobe River, ensuring sharp shots and each guest gets a DSLR camera equipped with a 600mm zoom lens, so you don’t miss any of the action.
Having spent several hours and days on the river, the exceptionally knowledgeable Pangolin photographic guides sure know its inhabitants. They will tell where to focus your camera and when to shoot (predicting the animal or bird behaviour), how to compose some more unusual shots and what settings to use as the light changes.
6. Shop at the Kasane market
From colourful cloth to dried Chobe bream, fresh vegetables and even mopane worms, there’s plenty to see in the Kasane street-side markets. Have a wander and find the perfect keepsake or gift for somebody back home.
Just don’t walk too far. Kasane is open to the Chobe National Park and no fence prevents the animals from moving from the park into the village and down to the river banks. Taxis are available and affordable so make use of them. Ask at your hotel or lodge what you should expect to pay for a ride.
7. Visit the baobab prison
Kasane’s modern police station sits beside a broad-bellied baobab, which used to serve as a colonial-era jail cell. Hollow in the middle, the baobab was big enough to hold a few people as the prisoners.
Visit the historic tree to read about its uses and how it was also used as a post office. Find it opposite the small mall with the Choppies grocery store.
8. Sip sundowners at Sedudu Bar on the Chobe River
This is the next best thing to a sunset cruise. Order a cold St Louis (the local Botswana beer) and watch the sun set over the Chobe River from the closest point to the Chobe National Park. Situated inside the Chobe Safari Lodge campsite, the rustic bar offers sensational views over the river as the day comes to an end.
9. Become a birder
Chobe might be the easiest place to become a birder. Over 450 species of birds are found here and summer is a wonderful time to experience the brightly-coloured migrants that flock to the waters. Spot colourful kingfishers darting into the water for food, hear the fish eagles crying from trees on the river bank and see African spoonbills wading the shallows. Being out on a boat cruise will take you closer to the curious wetland birds that call this river home. The long-toed African Jacana (dubbed the Jesus bird because it can ‘walk on water’), the long-billed African skimmers that flit above the waters, not to mention the abundance of cormorants, pelicans, herons, egrets, bustards, cranes, plovers, storks, bee-eaters and more. Grab a checklist, strap on a pair of binoculars and you’ll find there’s always something to see.
10. Do a day trip to see Victoria Falls
Also read: 10 adventurous things to do at Vic Falls
Things to know when travelling in Botswana
- Pula is the official currency. At the time of writing, P1 was equivalent to R1,34. If you want to visit Zambia or Zimbabwe, you’ll need US Dollars.
- The best time to visit the Chobe River is during Botswana’s dry season from April to October. This is when game concentrations are at their highest and you can access the thriving riverfront area by 4×4
Get ready to book your next dream holiday to Botswana!
There are direct flights from Johannesburg to Kasane Airport at reasonable prices. The top airlines that use the local airport are Air Botswana and South African Airways, as well as British Airways. Transport away from the airport is chiefly via private shuttle services offered by local accommodation establishments and tour groups.
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All information on this blog page was correct at the time of publishing and may change at any time without prior notice. Travelstart will not be held liable for loss or inconvenience resulting from the use of out-dated or incorrectly noted information.