As with most of Botswana's wilder areas, there are basically three ways to visit Chobe: on a fly-in trip staying at the lodges and camps; on a mobile safari trip, organised by a local safari operator; and on a self-drive trip with all your own equipment and food.
Only the self-drive visitors really need to do much of their own planning, and they should take everything they'll need to live on (including supplies of water) between Maun and Kasane. Chobe is often combined with Moremi on such a trip – which, taken at a relaxed pace, typically takes about ten days. You should stock up on food, fuel and supplies before you leave. There are a few small local shops in the villages of the Chobe Forest Reserve, but otherwise there's nothing available on the whole route.
Though the maps make Chobe look complex, it's really very simple. In the northeast corner is Kasane, and in the southwest corner the road leaves for Maun and Moremi. Most visitors drive in on one side, and exit the other – and in the middle all roads lead to Savuti. There are concessions and camps planning to open up around Chobe, which may change this, but for now work on this basis!
North of Savuti there's a 'direct' road that links it to Kasane via the Chobe Forest Reserve and the Chobe Riverfront area. Then there's an indirect route that travels to Kasane via the Nogatsaa Pans area in the forested heart of the park. Most visitors choose one of these routes; see Driving from Kasane to Savuti on page 210 for a discussion of their relative merits in various seasons. In all the above I use the word 'road' loosely – to mean two adjacent tyre tracks in the sand. You need a high-clearance 4WD for a trip to Chobe, and lots of time.Maps
There is really only one map of Chobe that is worthwhile for normal navigation and that's the Shell Map of Chobe National Park, by Veronica Roodt. The main map itself is fairly small, but it has a good inset of the game-viewing tracks of the Chobe Riverfront area, and also aerial photograph backdrops for first-rate insets of the area around Savuti and Nogatsaa. Veronica's map of Savuti is especially good for navigation! See Further Reading for more details of where to find the Shell series.Booking and parks fees
If you're flying into organised camps, then your park fees will probably already be included in the price of your safari. If you're driving into Chobe then you'll need to have booked all your campsites in advance.
You'll need to have a copy (or preferably an original) of this confirmation with you, then you'll need to pay your parks fees on the gate when you arrive. Note that this is best done in Pula, and that credit cards are never accepted (though for the first time US$ or UK£ cash became acceptable in 2001 – albeit at fixed and fairly unattractive exchange rates).