As with game drives in the Chobe National Park, you will wake before dawn and enjoy a rousing cup of coffee, take a picnic breakfast with you or opt to indulge in a warm and light breakfast in the lodge. You will find yourself cruising on the water by 7:00 am, just as the sun is breaking over the forested hills which surround Kasane, the lively town close to Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero and Chobe National Park.
Start your morning by travelling west along the river with the rising sun on your back as you scour the riverbanks, spotting a cacophony of birds which includes five different species of kingfisher, African darters and cormorants, brilliantly coloured bee-eaters swooping over the river and of course, the resplendent fish eagle with its oh so familiar cry.
Should you be travelling to Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero in March, which traditionally marks the beginning of the flood season, you will experience the Chobe River swell, fueled by rains in Angola to the west, and Zambia and Zimbabwe to the east. As the water rises, it begins flowing over some of the National Park roads which skim the riverbanks. This is great news as you will experience the unique opportunity to get closer to the wildlife which frequents the banks to drink. Herds of impala, kudu, puku antelope, troops of baboons, and of course, the elephant herds that crowd Chobe National Park.
With adept skill, your guide will negotiate the reed beds, following water pathways invisible to the untrained eye and gauging water depth by the types of grass tips poking out of the surface, skimming the riverbank with amazing agility. If you are lucky, you might spot a pride of lions lazing on the sand and in thickets, waiting for something to come to the water’s edge to quench its thirst. Not only does accessing Chobe National Park by river enable you to beat the crowd exploring by 4x4, but as your guide cuts the engine, you will drift silently into the bank sitting less than 20m away from the magnificent big cats as they lounge around in the morning light.
Continue your journey westward rounding a bend and passing the point at which most of the safari boats from other lodges turn around and head back. making you feel like an explorer uncovering uncharted waters with no one else in sight.
As you cruise along reed beds, stopping to photograph the brilliantly scarlet-colored red bishops and checking inlets for egrets and herons. Try your luck at spotting the majestic Fish Eagle gliding over its feeding ground.