Sitting in close proximity to the borders of Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the Chobe National Park is one of the most easily accessible tourism destinations for those on tours throughout the southern Africa. Any experienced tour agent in the area should be able to provide a combination of great safaris which also include the Okavango Delta. In case you are craving for scenic views of wildlife and the experience of all-natural environment, those two should be on top of your list.
It is Botswana’s first national park(established in 1968), and today it still offers more or less the same exact undisturbed atmosphere of natural wonders. Some of the largest herds of elephants thrive in the park (estimated total of 120,000), along with buffalos, antelopes (oribi and roan), and more than 440 species of birds. Many different species of predators are involved as well for examples crocodiles, leopards, and lions. Chobe National Park is comprised of 4 major areas, and each of them corresponds to one ecosystem:
Located in the northeast part of Chobe National Park, the riverfront is characterized by thick woodlands of teak and mahogany. Dense woodlands in combination with flush floodplains create comfortable habitat for the elephants. Of course, the most interesting area is the Chobe River itself; it flows along the northeast border of the park and has become an important watering spot for wildlife, especially during the dry season (May through October). Elephants, giraffes, cape buffalos, and sables are common sights in the riverfront. In the floodplains, you can see the elusive puku antelopes. In fact, it is the only place in Botswana where you can see them.
As mentioned earlier, hundreds of bird species find home in the park. Among all the popular species are carmine bee-eaters, ibis, and storks. In case you have the right binoculars and find the right spot, you can probably see hundreds of different other birds, too. Many consider Chobe Riverfront the best place to be if you are in the park, and for good reasons. This is the place to see how the elephants behave when they are in water, but another good thing is that the river is in close proximity to Victoria Falls. You can also make time to visit Kasane, the most important town of the region located just downstream.
The distinguishable attraction of Chobe River is its boat trip. It gives new different perspectives for you to witness the wildlife and how they interact with each other and environment. Bird spotting is a must-do activity here; although you may find it quite difficult to keep your hands steady in the boat, you will want to try to take photographs of the elephants flocking into green banks or even crossing the river.
On the western side of the park, there is the Savuti Marsh which covers more than 4,000 square miles area. A long time ago, this place was actually a lake, but the water supply had been cut by natural tectonic movements. Savuti Marsh had not seen any water flowing into it for a long time, until the Savuti Channel changed that, thanks to the same tectonic activity. In January 2010, water from the channel finally reached Savuti March again for the first time since 1982. Due to this erratic supply of water, the channel’s bank is now home to many dead trees. Grasslands and extensive savannahs, however, still exist in the region. Wildlife has to adapt to the relatively new environment and now there are dynamic wildlife shifts and activities in the region.
During dry season, large mammals are easily seen roaming the park including but not limited to rhinoceros, impala, zebra, warthog, kudu, wildebeest, and herds of elephants. During wet season, the birds are coming out from their hiding places. Predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas are not uncommon as well. Cheetahs are probably the rarest among them, but they are here in the park.
If you have Chobe Riverfront in the northeast, you get Linyanti Marsh in the northwest. Linyanti Marsh is adjacent to Linyanti River; if you continue travelling to the west, you’ll arrive at Kwando River (which is part of Nkasa Rupara National Park in Namibia). Lagoons and woodlands are around those two rivers, while the rest of the area is filled with flood plains. Large concentrations of wildlife also exist here: leopards, lions, hippos, antelopes, African wild dogs, and once again elephants. Birds are abundant.
Mainly consisting of grass woodlands, this area located between Linyanti and Savuti Marshes is less popular than the other three. However, there is always a different alluring invitation about it. This is one of the best places for bird spotting.
When it comes to tourism accommodations, Chobe National park does not lack any. Campsites along with all the amenities are available in the town of Kasane. Even inside the region’s reserves and parks, you can find luxury lodges, too. They are in remote locations to give you the exotic experience you’ve been craving for. All along the banks of the river, an abundance of accommodations is available so it should not be difficult to introduce some comfort to your wildlife adventures.
Chobe National Park is often referred to as “the Home of the Giants”, mostly because of its elephants, and partly because of everything else it has to offer. It has gigantic animals to mesmerize your eyes and mind, gigantic level of accommodations up to the level of exotic lodges, gigantic number of bird species, and of course gigantic extent of adventures.