Chobe Chilwero: The Lowdown

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Chobe Chilwero rather surprised us. To be fair, this probably isn’t a lodge for those who want total immersion in the wilds, but it’s rather lovely all the same. Chobe Chilwero is a haven of gently whizzing fans, manicured lawns, and G&Ts with plenty of ice. If you’ve just arrived on an international flight and want somewhere civilised and comfortable to relax before your Botswanan safari, or equally, want a few days to take it easy after wilder adventures, Chilwero would do extremely well.

What’s Chobe Chilwero really like?

Chobe Chilwero has 15 individual suites set in the gardens- certainly large enough to relax in during the day, and with a small private garden behind where you could spend a pleasant afternoon snoozing in a well shaded hammock. Floors are polished, beds are comfortable and the tub is whopping, though we must confess we didn’t use it at all during our stay as the lure of the outdoor shower was just too strong. There’s also a honeymoon suite which has a private plunge pool. The main lodge has a distinct air of the colonial about it: there’s a large sweeping verandah with ravishing views down over the Chobe River, and afternoon tea is a firm fixture. (As an aside, we generally ate very well during our stay.)

What about families at Chobe Chilwero?

Chobe Chilwero has an elephant fence around it, which provides a little more peace of mind for parents. There’s also a pool to splash around in between drive and a good kids programme, so we can see this working well for family safaris.

What can I do at Chobe Chilwero?

When out on morning and afternoon game drives in Chobe National Park, we were impressed with our guide, probably one of the best we’ve had in Botswana. Drives stick to the tracks out and along the Chobe River, and elephant sightings in particular were spectacular. We especially loved the afternoon boat safari: a gentle potter along the Chobe River, watching hippos splutter indignantly, ellies coming down to drink in the water and a dazzling selection of birdlife to train our binos on. And Chobe Chilwero isn’t just a safari lodge. There’s a rather excellent spa here which tempted several guests away from their game drives.

As an extra, it’s also possible to booking fishing or a day trip to Victoria Falls, and we’d also recommend taking half an hour to explore Kasane before you leave- it’s a small but pretty little town and it’s fascinating seeing the baobab tree that was once a prison.

Giving back at Chobe Chilwero: Chobe Chilwero works with the CARACAL biodiversity centre, which focuses on the environment and conservation alongside supporting the local community. This includes environmental education, running a small animal orphanage and rescue centre, and a women’s craft centre where you can buy beautiful Botswanan baskets made by local ladies. If you are interested in visiting, please ask the lodge to take you down- a small donation of around $10pp is about right for this.

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