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best camping place in Chobe?


Roxanne
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We're off to Chobe later this year and I wonder if anyone can help with suggestions for a good place to camp. We have booked 3 nights at Toro Lodge campsite (we wanted Chobe Safari Lodge campsite but they won't allow our 4x4 caravan)and we want another 3-4 nights somewhere else in Chobe as well. The best place seems to be Ihaha, which is the only camping site that's actually inside the Chobe National Park. Reviews generally praise it as a fab spot on the river, surrounded by lots of game. It sounds perfect, but I have two questions/reservations:


  1.  
  2. I've read one or two reports about theft at the camping site, due to people crossing the river from Namibia in the dry season. Is this still a problem?
  3. I've read that the access road is very sandy; one person said she saw people with trailers/caravans getting stuck. Since we have a fairly heavy 4x4 caravan, I wondered if anyone who has done this access road with a van or trailer can shed light on how problematic this really is.

 

Any recent insights will be gratefully received.

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Guest nappa

I think your biggest problem for Chobe will be booking a pitch at this late date.

 

As for the sand a lot will depend on your skills but I know of no real problem with Ihaha.

The same for thieves I have never heard about it but I expect it is a possibility.

 

 

Edit: It was 2010 when I last visited.

Edited by nappa
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Thanks, nappa, that does help.

We have a provisional booking, but I wanted some feedback before confirming.

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Guest nappa

I notice your in SA, what is your intended route up to Chobe?

Where are you heading out from?

 

Luangwablondes has far more knowledge than I & will be able to give you far better information.

Let's hope he picks this thread up.

 

I believe the sand ridge between Savuti & Linyanti is still causing a number of problems.

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luangwablondes

Take Ihaha. Otherwise you will regret it. Ihaha is at the other end of the Chobe river bank route that is now regulated. As a self drive, you can only drive it midday (with reservations), which is really a lousy time to drive the river bank route. Fortunately, the next best routes are easily accessed from the Ihaha area. Game viewing is generally best in the early AM and late PM.

 

Have a look at Senyati Safari Camp. Besides being a very good place to camp, the ellies like to come to the waterhole and check out the tourists everyday. Something you don't get at the other campsites in Kasane.

 

I really don't like the idea of people hauling a caravan through Chobe, Savute and Moremi. But if you must, I hope you have a high clearance, diesel powered 4x4. Start out in the earlier, cooler hours of the AM, just in case you get stuck. That way, when others change camps, someone will come along to give you assistance. IF you don't have much experience offroad with the caravan, maybe this is not the best place to acquire it.

Edited by luangwablondes
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Nappa, altho we're from SA, we'll be coming to Chobe from Zambia.

Luangwablondes, we tried to get into Senyati about two months ago and it was already full. We're not going to Savuti and Moremi this time. Yes, we have a diesel Discovery 4, so no problems with power. Although we're pretty experienced with the 4x4 caravan, our experience in deep sand is not extensive, so that's why we were concerned about it. Hate the idea of getting stuck, but Ihaha does sound fabulous... Thanks to both of you for your advice.

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I heard scary things about the sandy road, but didn't have any trouble at all. But I have an advantage in that 4X4 ing in the sand dunes is my hobby. Although we use heavily modded Jeeps for dunes, my Jeep was standard at the time I dragged the trailer through the sandy roads you are talking about.

 

When we go duning for fun we drop tyre pressures to .4 or .5 - I wouldn't do this for the sandy roads and on standard tyres, and probably drop to around 1 bar or .8 but more on the trailer, but we managed it pretty easily with pressure around 1.5 bar. The only thing to be careful of with low tyre pressure is de-beading (when the tyre comes of the rim) If you don't do any high speed turning or hit the rim on a sharp rock, you should be fine. Just keep a steady speed, and engage 4x4 before you get into the tricky sections.

 

There is a story about a couple who were stuck in the sand in a remote spot in Australia, and they tried to do a self rescue. one of them died. When people arrived to rescue them, they managed to drive the vehicle out. Although they had reduced the tyre pressure, they had not reduced it enough.

 

Enjoy

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Yes, we have a diesel Discovery 4, so no problems with power.

Oh Dear! :rolleyes: you may need to take a recovery vehicle with as well.

Rather rent an avis polo or something. :)

 

Just kidding, Disco 4 will pretty much love the sand. Heavy, but very capable indeed. Take lots of fuel and enjoy.

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Oh Dear! :rolleyes: you may need to take a recovery vehicle with as well.

Rather rent an avis polo or something. :)

 

What is it with you Jeep and Toyota guys? Jealous?! (just kidding)

 

Thanks again for all the comments. I'll have to leave the final decision in hubby's hands. After all, he's the one who will take most strain if we get stuck!

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Ihaha is a good option as you can drive towards the west of the park where the new "game drive regulations" do not apply.

The road from the gate is no problem at all.

 

Concerning Toro lodge: Having spend many nights on the camp ground I can assure you thats it is absolutely not worth going there. Concrete ablution blocks every 30m, no view on the river and party noise on the weekend from the houses next door. I'd rather check other options and stick with Toro if you can't find anything else.

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Thanks Orenx. Not good news about Toro, but at this stage I don't think we're going to be able to find anything else! I'd be interested to know if everyone else has a similar view of Toro!

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Canadian Robin

We camped at Ihaha this past 10-12 October (2011) and here is what I said in my trip report (which I will be posting here shortly) regarding the bandits at this campsite:

 

Ihaha campsite in Chobe National Park has a problem with bandits, who cross the river from Namibia at night. The rangers confirmed that there had been five incidents in the three months prior to our arrival in October. The campsites are strung out along the southern bank of the Chobe River, and bandits target the campsites on either end - numbers one and ten. The bandits come onto a campsite after the campers have gone to bed, shout at the campers to stay in their tents, and threaten to shoot them if they don’t. The bandits then break into the vehicle on the campsite and take all of the valuables, as well as food and clothing. As luck would have it, we were assigned to site #1, which was at the eastern end and rather isolated from the rest of the campsites - ideal normally, but not under present circumstances. The rangers assured us that we would be safe. Police are now regularly patrolling the campsite, and we did hear their vehicle on two of the three nights that we were camped at Ihaha. Despite the police presence, we slept rather fitfully, and took the precaution of carrying all of our valuables up into the roof-top tent at night.

So, be aware of the situation and ask for a campsite in the middle. A German couple who arrived the same day we did refused to camp on site 10, which they had been assigned to. They couldn't move to another site because the campsite was full, so the rangers allowed them to camp in a clearing near the toilets.

 

Ihaha is one of the most beautiful campsites in the world - the views of the river and Namibia beyond are stunning. We could sit on our site and watch elephants and huge herds of buffalo crossing the river. Still one of our favourite campsites! CR

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This is useful info, Canadian Robin. And worth keeping in mind. On a different note, I've also heard that there are baboon bandits as well, who steal food!

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Canadian Robin

Ah yes - the baboons! Tiresome creatures! Here is what I say in my trip report about the baboons at Ihaha:

 

We are relieved to find that the site (#1) has several beautiful trees, which offer plenty of shade at midday. We wonder how many of the trees are baboon trees. We will know at sunset, when the baboons will arrive and seek refuge from predators for the night by climbing high into the canopy of the trees. We have unhappy memories from our previous stay at this campsite (in 2009) of having to get up in the middle of the night and move our vehicle because a troop of baboons was peeing on the roof-top tent. ...At dusk, to our dismay, a large troop of baboons arrives and occupies all four trees on our campsite. We set up our roof-top tent well out of harm’s reach, and fall asleep to the sounds of zebra alarm calls, hyenas howling and lions roaring.

 

So, all of the trees on site 1 at Ihaha were favoured by baboons, so we were forced to put our roof-top tent/vehicle well off to one side of the campsite. We didn't have a problem with the baboons stealing food, but we did hear the folks on site #2 chasing the baboons after the latter had raided their campsite/dinner. Most of the sites at Ihaha have "baboon trees" and the baboons are a nuisance. Ihaha was the only campsite in Botswana where the baboons were a problem - there were none at Third Bridge, Khwai or Savuti.

 

If you wish to keep the baboons away from your campsite at mealtime, take a slingshot with you. The mere sight of the slingshot will cause the baboons to scatter in panic - a tip I received from luangwablondes before our first visit to Botswana. The slingshot will not keep the baboons out of the trees at night (although we did succeed in keeping them off our site on one of the three nights we were at Ihaha), but it will at least allow you to enjoy your meals in peace. CR

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James MacKay

We're off to Chobe later this year and I wonder if anyone can help with suggestions for a good place to camp. We have booked 3 nights at Toro Lodge campsite (we wanted Chobe Safari Lodge campsite but they won't allow our 4x4 caravan)and we want another 3-4 nights somewhere else in Chobe as well. The best place seems to be Ihaha, which is the only camping site that's actually inside the Chobe National Park. Reviews generally praise it as a fab spot on the river, surrounded by lots of game. It sounds perfect, but I have two questions/reservations:


  1.  
  2. I've read one or two reports about theft at the camping site, due to people crossing the river from Namibia in the dry season. Is this still a problem?
  3. I've read that the access road is very sandy; one person said she saw people with trailers/caravans getting stuck. Since we have a fairly heavy 4x4 caravan, I wondered if anyone who has done this access road with a van or trailer can shed light on how problematic this really is.

I think that you have been given the wrong info , we go up at least 2 a year for the last 5 years with a 4x4 caravan and we have never had a problem. What they don't do is take bookings but 4x4 caravans no problem , my honest advice is stay far away from Toro lodge , the locals in the area make a hell of a lot of noise over weekends especially. NGINA Safari's area much better option than Toro lodge, although its not better than CSL .If you can get into Kasane before 3pm rather just drive around looking for a camp site than making a booking

then you get the chance to choose what you want. in 5 years I have never booked going to Kasane and only once was CSL fully booked.

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Thanks James. Seems like CSL will be our best bet if we get there early! Good advice, so thanks for that.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Roxanne the chobe safari lodge does have a few fairly big sites, usually for groups or overlanders, which would accommodate your caravan. We've seen people with overland motorhomes in these sites.

 

Have you checked out he Khwai Community Trust campsites in the Khwai conservancy, just outside the northern border of Moremi? Absolutely fantastic area with great game viewing and much cheaper than camping in either Moremia or Savuti.

 

Pay no attention to the Toyota/Jeep brigade. We Land Rover owners are above such petty muck raking.

 

cheers

 

Tony

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Thanks for this, Tony. Given your info and James's, we've decided to try to get in at Chobe Safari Lodge once we're there. Wonder why reception would say (three times!) "we don't take caravans" when they mean "we don't take boookings"? Oh well. We're in the area for 6 nights, so hopefully we'll get lucky on at least 2 or 3. Thanks, too, for the Khwai hint - perhaps next time.

 

And no, I never pay attention to the Toyota/Jeep brigade. We Landie owners know how special we are! ;)

Edited by Roxanne
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Game Warden

Roxanne, see Tony's topic "Pimping my Safari ride..." here.

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Ah, that "pimping my ride" thing is something we all have in common, Toyota/Jeep/Landie drivers!

Edited by Roxanne
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Just a tip, Roxanne.... when you go to reception at CSL say you want a big site, but maybe don't mention the caravan. Sometimes I think the girls in reception have never been to the camp ground, because when we tell them we have a roof tent and need to be able to open it they generally give us a site with low-hanging trees covering it! Don't fight it with them.

 

Pay, then when you get to the boom gate to the camping ground have a chat to the security guard who is usually far more sensible and can point you to a better site. You may then have to go back to reception and tell them it's changed.

 

There is no booking and it is supposedly first come best dressed, but I reckon there is also a bit of backhanding going on with some sites seeming to be blocked off. Best to arrive in the morning, if you can... we find around 9 or 10 is good, when the people from the previous night are leaving, but the latecomers haven't arrived. Show up at 5 or 6 in the evening and you could be in trouble!

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Thanks Tony, that's exactly what we'll do!

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  • 1 month later...
Botswana Footprints

Roxanne, there was theft a while ago at Ihaha, but it is now policed and I havent heard of any problems for ages. You should be fine, just lock your car at night and keep your valuables in your caravan with you. Ihaha is stunning, you must try and get there!

Safe travels!

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  • 2 months later...

Again, thanks to all who helped with their comments. We've now been there and my opinion is that Ihaha is probably the best if you can make it through the deep sand. We looked at Chobe Safari Lodge and didn't like it at all - too crowded and sites really too pokey for an Xplorer unless you camp right opposite the ablutions, which is not my idea of a good campsite. We stuck with our prebooked choice of Toro Safari Lodge and were actually quite pleased to be where we werem about 12km outside Kasane, so relatively peaceful.

 

At some point I'll think through all the available options we investigated and post an update for the benefit of those going there for the first time...

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  • 1 month later...

Yes do write a trip report, it will help those of us going in the future. Pen

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