What to see and do
Kasane's only real attraction is probably its Reptile Park, which is virtually next to Kubu Lodge. This holds guided tours around its collection of fauna at 09.00, 11.00, 14.00, and 16.00. Admission is good value at P10 for adults and P5 children, giving visitors a chance to see animals that they would rarely spot in the wild.
On a quirky note, historians observe that in the early 1900s the police in the area used a large hollow Baobab tree, with a locking door, as a prison. This still stands today, behind the present police station.
Kasane is mainly used as a stopping-off point in the middle of a trip, and as a base for excursions into Chobe National Park – which can be organised either through your lodge, directly with one of a handful of small local safari operators, or you can drive yourself.
These generally head west straight into the national park, and then cover the game drive roads and loops around the riverfront area. See Chapter 10 for more details of these areas. If you're organising a trip with a local company, when comparing the various options available, remember to ask how long the drive is, and how much of that time it takes to get to the park gates and back. Typically they'll last about three hours, though generally the lodges further east will spend more of this getting to and from the park than those further west.
Either way you're going to find yourself mostly around the eastern side of the riverfront area, where traffic densities are relatively high.
The national park only allows driving in daylight hours, but several of the lodges now advertise 'night drives.' Note that these are conducted outside the park, in areas where quantities of big game are much more limited.
These can vary from ten-seater motorboats to double-storey boats taking 40 people on a champagne breakfast. The game viewing from the river can be surprisingly good, especially in the later afternoon during the latter half of the dry season. Large numbers of elephants are virtually guaranteed, and often whole herds will cross the river from one side to the other.
Motor boat trips
Many of the lodges/operators will send you out on a private little boat with a driver and a coolbox. It's certainly my favourite way to see the Chobe Riverfront area, and probably remains one of my favourite safari experiences in Africa. It can be magical.
The small boat gives you a lot more flexibility in what you concentrate on, and how long you stop somewhere, as it's just a question of requesting what you want to do from your driver/guide.
Because of the number of lodges in the area, the river can become quite full of boats at times. So if you want a quieter experience, try and arrange for a boat at the crack of dawn. Most of the cruises don't leave until 9am, so you'll have the river almost to yourself for a few hours – apart from the occasional Namibian fisherman in a mokoro (there's no fishing allowed in the national park from Botswana.)