Monday, 22 October 2012

Chobe National Park Decongestion Strategy

Chobe National Park Decongestion Strategy

Effective February 1, 2012

Over 75 vehicles enter the Chobe NP at Sedudu Gate everyday. This includes day trippers, camp and lodge vehicles, mobile safari operators and self drive vehicles. Often in peak hours and high season, scenarios like what has happened in the Masai Mara and Ngoro Crater - too many vehicles on wildlife sightings and related issues, has contributed to the DWNP designing a new convuluted system to make our safari experience more difficult.

We must now deal with a reservation system of route(s) usage. Lodges, camps, safari operators will have the early morning and late afternoon hour time slots available for their exclusive use. Day-trippers and self drive, midday.

We believe the objective is to implement the plan on 'The River Bank Route' which runs along the Chobe River from Sedudu gate to Serondela.

Seasonal period                                           Tour operators                  Self drives and day trippers
1st April – 30th September                           Morning: 0600-0900 hrs                    0900-1430hrs
                                                                Afternoon: 1430-1830hrs
1st October - 31st March                              Morning:0530-0900hrs                      0900-1430hrs
                                                                 Afternoon: 1430-1900hrs

If you are booked at Ihaha campsite, you must enter at the Nantanga entrance, (also called route 15) which takes one straight to Ihaha. If you want to game drive on the regulated river front route, you must book the day and time slot, up to 7 days in advance, based on availability of space (limited to 25 vehicles in that midday time slot each day).

It is not clear yet on how one goes about booking this reservation except at Sedudu Gate. Extra fees have been proposed for each route, 3 routes in total. The safari operators, lodges and camps will have their own telephone reservation hotline and eventually via internet. 

The aim of this code of conduct is to enhance the quality of experience and safety offered to visitors to Chobe National Park and to ensure the sustainability of its ecotourism.
1. Entry into the park should always be at designated entry points where payments are made.
2. A reasonable following distance of 300 to 500m should be kept between vehicles.
3. Maximum driving speed should be 40km/hr.
4. Only four vehicles are allowed per sighting and a maximum of 5 minutes should be spent by each vehicle.
5. Parking should be done with two-side wheels on the road and the other two-side wheels off the road to avoid off-road driving.
7. Minimise disturbance to animals to avoid wilful obstruction to other park users.
8. Do not inform another of a sighting through a mobile device, radios and/or cell phones are for emergency purposes only.
9. Respect the animal’s living space; do not go too close to animals.
10. The first person at the sighting should be given priority, never block another vehicle.
11. Always stick/park to the side where the sighting is, to give way to other vehicles.
12. Slow down to avoid accidents and unnecessary dust when you approach another vehicle head on.