Night 10 – Chobe Safari Lodge campsite

In contrast to the magical evening on the river, the Chobe Safari Lodge campsite was a complete dump and the place itself was a building site, which I think must have been the main reason why Safari Drive changed my itinerary to avoid staying here. I don’t recommend this campsite at all, it was overcrowded, the pitches are designed for small tents and not camping vehicles like ours, you are cramped in next to your neighbours and camping there was a filthy business because the sand was black.

After the sunset cruise when I arrived back at the campsite there were three camp guards trying to tell me that I needed to move because the pitches were only big enough to take tents and I couldn’t park on the pitch. However I had agreed where we would set up camp with a different guard that afternoon – who wasn’t there that evening – and had not passed the message on to the evening shift colleagues. The guards were perfectly pleasant but unhelpful. I was tired, hungry, I didn’t want to be in that overcrowded dustbowl of a campsite and wasn’t amused to find myself in the dark trying to argue about where we could set up camp. It took about 30 minutes of negotiation and then I had to resort to beligerance and in the end I just refused to move and the guards gave up trying to argue. Squatters rights ruled!

The lodge itself has got facilities that campers can use, but the whole place was undergoing major refurbishment, so it didn’t have a swimming pool to use and was a building site.  Safari Drive had been absolutely right to dissuade us from staying there at that time. However, as the food had gone off again and I had stumbled into Kasane just needing somewhere to stay that enabled us to be near fresh food and not knowing what was available in Kasane we just checked into the very poor Chobe Safari Lodge campsite that morning because it was the only place we had heard of where there was something available. I paid for the night’s pitch earlier in the day before finding the Cresta Mowana Lodge later where I could have stayed at a very reasonable cost and enjoyed the sunset cruise and enjoyed a lovely pool and a comfortable bed. It was a shame. I’d recommend the Cresta Lodge anytime especially to weiry self-drive campers who fresh out of the Bush could really do with somewhere like that for a bit of comfort.

Redeeming features of the Chobe Safari Lodge campsite were that it was close to the jetty for a morning boat trip which I had booked through the lodge, it had a lovely thatched bar where I enjoyed a fantastic G&T and it had the best ablution block of any of the campsites I had stayed on, the showers were hot water and powerful, which felt great.

Safari Drive had suggested Ihaha or a lovely looking lodge over the border in Zimbabwe but the latter was not an option for us because while we were in Botswana, Zimbabwe was suffering from 800% inflation all thanks to Bob Mugabe and his supporters. In Zimbabwe bananas were recently selling for more than people’s houses were worth, and in the weeks we were in Botswana inflation was going up in Zimbabwe by 10% every 3 days. The situation has been made even worse by the fact that Bob’s government have stepped in and in their wisdom forced prices down, which means businesses across the country are being made to sell at far less than their production prices, crippling the economy even further than it already is. The people are starving, the economy is wrecked, all because of one man who seized power and wouldn’t let go, he has crippled a country which had everything going for it. People now in Zimbabwe have to hunt for loaves of bread, they are starving. They once all had so much to be proud of. Bob should be ashamed, but so should everyone else for ignoring the plight of this country. Intervention, political or otherwise is going to be essential very soon, to prevent their current catastrophe declining into a global-level tragedy. The people are starving and desperate, not a good combination. Discussions are happening about linking the Zim dollar to the South African Rand to try and create some stability, as they have with Namibia and other countries, which is sad for Zim in so much as it means a once very proud and strong country having to relinquish some of its sovereignty. Bob should be deeply ashamed, and yet he still chooses to ignore his people’s suffering and not take any responsibility for their plight. And yet the Americans we met on our trip seemed far more interested in the big waterfall and seeing the falls from the air and ‘who was this Bob Guy anyways?’ and no one seemed to give a damn that their tourist dollars are known to go straight into the pockets of Bob Mugabe no doubt to pay for another gold toilet in his palace while his people starve to death. We couldn’t, no matter how lovely the lodge or waterfall, go to Zimbabwe because it would be telling Bob ‘I think this is all OK’ when it is not.


One Response to “Night 10 – Chobe Safari Lodge campsite”

  1. Robert O'Toole Says:

    I have also had bad experiences at Chobe Safari Lodge. It is just chaotic! Kubu Lodge, between CSL and Mowana, is an excellent alternative for accomodation in Kasane. I believe that it has camping, as well as the nice well equipped huts that we have stayed in. And a working swimming pool.

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