Safaris on the Chobe River | Zovu Elephant Lodge

Totally unexpected I ended up in the Zovu Elephant Lodge in the most northeastern point of the country. I just spent 3 weeks traveling in Namibia and was about to cross the border into Botswana. Well, that didn’t go as planned and before I realized I was on a boat safari in Chobe National Park, taking close up photos from elephants and giraffes while a big crocodile was sunbathing just a meter away.

My stay in the Zovu Elephant Lodge was very brief, but I had a total blast. Unfortunately I only had 1 free day in my busy schedule traveling overland in Africa, but the memories from Zovu Elephant Lodge and the safaris on the Chobe River will be vivid for a long time.

Going off the beaten path in Namibia can’t get more real than here. The Zovu Elephant Lodge is located next to Impalila Island where 4 countries meet: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.

Vlog about my stay at Zovu Elephant Lodge Namibia

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How come?

Through social media I got in touch with the lodge and it was the daughter of the lodge owner who initiated a meet up. Peter, a passionate wildlife photographer, born and raised Namibian was waiting for me near the border of Namibia and Botswana.

He and his family already bought the land on the Chobe River in the early 90’s and over the years he built a couple lodges in the Caprivi/Zambezi region. Most of them he sold now, but he kept his baby: the Zovu Elephant Lodge.

I was able to meet Peter and learn a lot from his passion for photography, wildlife, the Chobe River and of course experience the Zovu Elephant Lodge briefly.

Getting to the lodge

From the Namibia – Botswana border at Ngoma there was a 2,5 hour boat ride left before I could check in to the Zovu Elephant Lodge.

Normally people visiting the Zovu Elephant Lodge don’t take this route as the lodge is located just a short 10 minute boat ride from Kasane, Botswana. However, in these pandemic days, the border controls at Kasane, Botswana are not operating and that is why it was a little more complicated for me to visit the Zovu Elephant Lodge.

Sounds like a lot of hassle, but in my case it was a blessing. A 2,5 hour boat ride on the Chobe River is not a punishment. The opposite actually, it is heaven. On our way we basically did a boat safari in Chobe National Park.

Check-in Zovu Elephant Lodge

Peter told me, when booking a holiday at the lodge, the main reason for coming out here should be to be out in nature and he was so right about that. The lodge is located on the banks of the Chobe River with views directly into the Chobe National Park.

When we arrived he showed me quickly one of the spacious chalets where I would stay for the night. I quickly dropped my stuff, because he wanted to cheers with a beer on the terrace of the restaurant. Plunging in a comfortable chair with a cold beer I stared in awe across the river all the way into Botswana and admired the ultimate peaceful setting.

The only thing you could hear was the wind. Breathing the fresh air felt so relaxing. In the distance you could hear hippos roaming the shallow waters.

‘Come join me for a sunset boat ride’, Peter offered and a couple minutes later we saw the sun going down from the boat. A great end of an unexpected adventure.

Visit a local village

Just behind the lodge there is a local village that you can visit. The people welcome you with a big smile and are happy to show you around. They tell you about their life in the village, about their traditions and what they do to get by.

One of the local people showed me his house and told me stories about how their lives are indirectly affected by the global pandemic. But they remain positive and it is incredible to see they are still very happy people despite all the ongoing problems.

What I liked a lot is that they didn’t ask for anything, didn’t try to sell me something, but genuinely guided me around. After the little tour I of course gave him a nice tip.

Boat safari Chobe National Park

However the best thing to do when visiting the Zovu Elephant Lodge is to go on a boat safari and Peter basically took me out on 2 safaris: one picking me up and one dropping me off!

Although the Zovu Elephant Lodge is located in Namibia, the boat safaris take you to the other side of the river to Botswana. You are looking at the wildlife roaming Chobe National Park, so technically you are on safari in Botswana. But then without paying the National Park fee, however you are also not allowed to set foot on land in Botswana.

Peter’s passion for wildlife is captivating and he got me even more excited than I already was. Over the last weeks traveling in Namibia I tried out a new 70-200 lens and I got hooked straight away.

On my Traveltomtom Namibia group trip I already found out quickly that this was such a winner. Going on safaris with a zoom lens is basically a ticket to happiness. Curious what I take with me on the road, then check out my gear list with all my electronics.

Just before arriving at the Zovu Elephant Lodge I stayed 3 days in the Namushasha River Lodge, also in Namibia on the Botswana border. My new zoom lens got me crazy for creating creating content with a different perspective and I was proud telling Peter about it on arrival.

He smiled at me and pulled out his lens 100-600 lens and offered it to me. My lens suddenly looked so tiny and useless. He was more than happy to switch lenses and trying out such a beast was incredible.

It wasn’t easy at first, but I listened carefully to the advices of Peter. The Zovu Elephant Lodge also offers wildlife photography tours and all tours are run by Peter himself. Why is his still doing all this? His passion for wildlife and photography keep him going!

For me visiting the Zovu Elephant Lodge was more than staying in one of the most unique places to visit in Namibia. The personal touch from Peter, his captivating passion for wildlife, photography and the Chobe River plus his stories and lessons about life made me fall in love with this place big time.

Thanks again to Peter and the Zovu Elephant Lodge for hosting me and taking me on an incredible safari adventure on the Chobe River and into the Chobe National Park. Here is some more inspiration for going on a wildlife adventure in Africa, check out these Safari Quotes!

Enjoy your trip to Namibia!

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