The premier stronghold is in the north where the Okavango River comes in from the rainy uplands of Angola. This inland delta has been called the world's largest oasis, and together with the Chobe river it has been a magnet for wildlife since time immemorial.
The 4,200-square-mile Chobe National Park has one of the highest concentrations of big game in Africa. Apart from boasting the largest population of elephants in the world, this is the realm of lion and leopard, zebra and giraffe, as well as buffalo, waterbuck, eland, sable, roan antelope and rare puku. Forming the border with Namibia, the riverfront of the National Park is the essence of the Chobe - emerald floodplains that are home to great pods of galumphing hippopotamus, with Cambrian crocodiles never far away.
The intoxicating early morning cacophony of untamed Africa ensures guests wake with the sun. After breakfast there's the chance to explore the unravelling spectacle of the riverbank. From the tender boats the naturalists identify several deceptively languid, glass-eyed crocodiles camouflaged in the muddy undergrowth.
This African river cruise should be combined to make the most of it as part of a longer Africa trip. For example we recommend flying into Cape Town, maybe incorporating a journey on Rovos Rail, a South Africa safari experience in Kruger National Park, and the Victoria Falls.