Banks and money
Remember that you'll need to pay all your park fees in cash (Pula) if you are entering Chobe National Park in your own vehicle. Kasane is an obvious spot for changing money and has only one main bank – so the bank's 'foreign exchange' teller is usually quite busy.Barclays Bank
(PO Box 27, Kasane; tel: 6250221; fax: 6250269), occupies a central spot in town on the north side of the road. It's now in a modern, architect-designed building – though I still have memories of changing money here in 1988 when it occupied a small, picturesque thatched rondavel. Both the Barclays branch and Kasane have grown a lot since then, and the service has become a lot swifter!
Failing that, there's a small bureau de change outside the Audi Centre which may be quicker and usually offers a similar rate.
Kasane isn't one of the world's shopping capitals, but you'll be able to get most of what you need here.
Just east of the turn-off to Thebe River Safaris is the Metro Cash & Carry
for large-scale shopping expeditions, whilst Savas Stores
(P Bag K4, Kasane; tel: 6250341; fax: 6250647) is run by Geoff and Patricia Williams – a friendly couple who have lived here for years. They're a good source of general information, as well as having an eclectic and interesting stock, from groceries and fresh produce to maps, guides and travel books. It is just opposite the Engen
garage and Chobe Safari Lodge
, and they can get hold of just about anything for you if you order it and can wait a few days.
In the heart of town, almost opposite Barclays
, is the small Audi Shopping Centre
and here you'll find the excellent bookshop: Africa Easel
(tel/fax: 6250828). If you're looking for wildlife books, local guidebooks, or the more common maps, then this is the place to get them. In the same complex, the Stationery Box
(tel: 6251415) has gifts and curios as well as stationery, and there's an office for Impalila Island Lodge.
Adjacent to this, heading westwards, is the grandly titled Chobe Commercial Centre
which encompasses Pharma Africa
(tel: 6251492), a convenient pharmacy, and also Simple Simon Pieman
selling what they claim are the best pies in town.
Almost opposite this complex is the customs and immigration office, then Barclays and then the post office, outside which you'll find a small row of public telephones.
Local safari companies
Because overland truck companies that are not officially registered in Botswana can't use their own vehicles in the park, there's a strong market in Kasane for day-trips into Chobe.African Odyssey
PO Box 350, Kasane; tel/fax: 6250601; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. A small safari company offering local game drives, boat trips and transfers.Chobe Travel Shop
PO Box 55, Kasane; tel/fax: 6250828; email: email@example.com Go Wild Safaris
PO Box 56, Kasane; tel/fax: 6250468; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the in-house travel and tours agency based at Chobe Safari Lodge, offering various safaris from short game drives (P75 plus park fees for 3 hours) to full mobile trips across the country (typically P230-320 per person per night). They have had a temporary bushcamp, called Peteke, at Buffalo Ridge (Ngoma).Into Africa Mowana Safaris
PO Box 266, Kasane; tel: 6250478; fax: 6250469; email: email@example.com. This is the in-house travel and tours agency based at the Mowana.Linyanti Explorations
PO Box 22, Kasane; tel: 6250505; 6250352; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.linyanti.com. Based at Kazungula, near Kasane, this long-established Botswana company runs the good-value, upmarket camps in the Selinda Reserve (NG16), northwest of Chobe. Mantis Safaris/Nkwazi Fishing
P Bag K48, Kasane; tel/fax: 6250051; cell: 7130 4159. Small operator specialising in boat trips on the Chobe and Zambezi rivers.Safari Excellence
P Bag K33, Kasane; tel/fax: 625099. Run by Stefan du Plessis and Stephanie Molloy, this small operator offers local drives and transfers, as well as longer overland safaris.Thebe River Safaris
PO Box 5, Kasane; tel/fax: 6250314; email: email@example.com. As well as a campsite this is the base for a mobile safari operation which sends trips around northern Botswana and up to Zambia. It's run by Jan, Annatjie, Jannie and Louis van Wyk, who pitch trips as 'budget, middle or luxury' – depending on how much effort/cash you are willing to expend. Prices vary from about US$110 per person per day for budget trips, where you do the chores and supply some of the kit; to US$185 for the luxury trips where they do more work and supply the kit. (Both assume a minimum 4 people for a 7-night trip.) Thebe also arranges boats, vehicles and guides for game drives/boat trips in the park, costing around P75 per person per drive/cruise. These require a minimum of 4/6 people, and don't include park fees (about P70 each).
For self-drive car hire just about the only choice is Avis, which operates out of the Mowana Lodge; tel: 6250144; fax: 6250145; emergency tel: 6251136. Note that it'll usually be cheaper to make a reservation and pay outside Botswana (indeed, outside of Africa), rather than turn up here and take the rate at the counter.
If you must break down, then Kasane's not a bad place to do so, as it's used as a supply base by several of the safari operators and has several garages. Certainly if you're heading across Chobe and Moremi you should make sure your vehicle's in tip-top shape before you head off. The best is probably:Chobe Nissan
PO Box 287, Kasana; tel: 6250673; fax: 6250674. Situated near Kazungula, just past the disease control post on the way to Nata, about 14km from the centre of town. They're agents for Dunlop tyres and Nissan, although will service and repair most makes. They will also sell spare parts, and undertake wheel-balancing.
If you need any tent repairs, then contact The Wearhouse (tel: 6251140 or 6250289), at Kazungula – just next to the Chobe Nissan garage.