Chobe National Park Botswana
Witnessing staggering concentration of up to 50,000 elephants, the flood plain of the Chobe River provides a stunning backdrop for these vast herds and in the hills overlooking the plains, there are other threats such as roan, sable, and one of the highest concentrations of Greater kudu in Africa.
Either arriving by air or road, the first glimpse of the river – deep and dazzling in the sandy terrain – is always breath-taking. It appears as a swathe of brilliant, peacock blue ribbon, winding its way through the tiny town of Kasane, and ensuing wilderness – the Chobe National Park.
Undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe supports diversity and concentration of wildlife unpatrolled anywhere else in the country.
Established in 1968, the park covers approximately 11 7 00 sq km, encompassing floodplains, swamps, and woodland. The Chobe River forms its northern boundary. There are four distinct geographical areas in the park: the Chobe Riverfront, the Ngwezumba pans, Savuté, and Linyanti.
The most accessible and frequently visited of Botswana’s big game country, the Chobe Riverfront is most famous for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which during the dry winter months converge upon the river to drink.
During this season, on an afternoon game drive, you may see hundreds of elephants at one time. You may be surrounded by elephants, as the main Serondella road becomes impassable and scores of family herds cross the main road to make their way to the river to drink bathe and play.
Driving the loops that hug the river’s edge, you may see up to 15 different species of animals on any one game drive, including waterbuck, lechwe, puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen), giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys, and baboons, along with the accompanying predator’s lion, leopard, hyena, and jackal.
Take a river cruise – and you’ll experience the park, and the animals, from another vantage point. Here you’ll get up close and personal with hippo, crocodile, and a mind-boggling array of water birds.
Over 460 bird species have been recorded in the park, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for bird Safaris. Common species to be seen include the Sacred ibis, Egyptian Geese, the ubiquitous cormorants and darters, Spur-winged Geese, Pel’s Fishing Owl, carmine Bee-eaters, most members of the kingfisher family, all the rollers, the unmistakable Fish Eagle, the Martial Eagle, and many members of the stork family.
The Chobe River rises in the northern Angolan highlands, travels enormous distances before it reaches Botswana at Ngoma. Like the Okavango and Zambezi rivers, the Chobe’s course is affected by fault lines that are extensions of the Great Rift Valley. These three mighty rivers carry more water than all other rivers in Southern Africa.
Size of Chobe National Park Botswana
The Chobe National Park, which is the second-largest national park in Botswana and covers 10,566 square kilometers, has one of the greatest concentrations of game found on the African continent.
Location of Chobe National Park Botswana
Chobe National Park is in northern Botswana near the vast, inland Okavango Delta. It’s known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which converge along the Chobe Riverfront in the dry months. Lions, antelopes, and hippos inhabit the woods and lagoons around Linyanti Marsh. The floodable grasslands of the Savuti Marsh attract numerous bird species, plus migrating zebras.
How to get to Chobe National Park Botswana
A few flight possibilities are available for those who want to fly to Chobe National Park. South African Airways offers flights to some airports in the vicinity of the reserve. From OR Tambo Johannesburg International Airport in South Africa, it is possible to travel to Kasane Airport, Livingstone Airport (LVI) in Zambia, and Victoria Falls Airport (VFA) in Zimbabwe. Another possibility is to travel from Botswana’s capital city Gaborone to Kaanse. From all airports, it is possible to continue the journey to your Chobe safari lodge by road transfer. We recommend flying directly from Johannesburg to Kasane, as this is the nearest airport and is serviced daily. The road transfer from Kasane Airport to your destination lodge depends on the accommodation location.
Things to do in Chobe National Park Botswana
One of the things that make Chobe so special is the opportunity to experience and enjoy this magnificent part of Africa from a number of different perspectives through the range of activities that are available. Whether in a vehicle, on foot, or on the water, Chobe has a number of offerings to give you a thorough and unforgettable taste of the African bush.
It probably goes without saying that heading out on at least one game drive whilst in Chobe national park is an absolute must. This is generally the best way to see Chobe’s predators, as well as the undulating and striking landscapes and ecosystems that stretch away from the river. You can self-drive, or most lodges include morning game drives in their rates.
Chobe is particularly famous for its sunset boat cruises, a special favorite for birders and photographers which also gives you the perfect setting for a nice, cold sundowner or two. It’s the best way to see large herds of elephants crossing the river too, as well as the river’s sizeable hippo and crocodile population.
For both the budding amateur and the seasoned pro, Africa travel specialist gears your Chobe experience around spectacular wildlife photo opportunities and provides the means by which to maximize those opportunities. Every client is provided with state of the art cameras and lenses and guided by seasoned photographers in custom-designed boats and vehicles.
The Chobe is blessed with an abundance of fish and is a very popular fishing destination. A number of operators and lodges can organize leisurely fishing trips and provide equipment and an experienced guide. This is a great place to catch the legendary Tigerfish as well as several species of bream, all of which are great on the braai.
Guided Bush Walks
There is no better way to get up close and personal with the African bush than on a guided bushwalk. A small handful of lodges offer this unique and intimate activity in the picturesque Chobe Forest Reserve enclave of the national park. This is wild Africa at its most unadulterated.
For those seeking a rare insight into the interesting cultural heritage of the region, this activity takes you across the Chobe River by wooden makoro canoe and then on foot into a handful of traditional tribal villages located on the Namibian side of the bank.
When to Visit Chobe National Park Botswana
The Chobe riverfront in Northern Botswana can be considered an all year round safari destination but is at its peak in the dry months from June through to October. This peak coincides with large numbers of game concentrating on the riverfront due to water drying up in the hinterland. As the season wears on the vegetation close to the River takes a hammering, making it easier to spot game. The Chobe River during the dry season is known for attracting thousands of Elephants, a spectacle generally believed to be the largest Elephant concentration in Africa.
The rainy season, mostly beginning in November, brings a lush green look to the area. The game disperses across the Northern Botswana wilderness during this time but good sightings can still be had along the riverfront. The rainy season is the best time for birding.
Where to stay in Chobe National park
Chobe has a huge variety of safari accommodation and our picks area
- Chobe Savannah lodge
- Muchenje safari lodge
- Chobe chilwero
- Chobe game lodge
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