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Chobe National Park Botswana Safari & Travel Guide

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Chobe National Park is the first National park in Botswana, and in addition essentially the most biologically various. Situated within the north of the nation, it’s Botswana’s third-largest park, after Central Kalahari Recreation Reserve and Gemsbok National Park, and has one of many best concentrations of sport in all of Africa.

In this article, I am going to talk about Chobe National Park Botswana game reserve, safari, weather, map, animals, reviews, contact details, facts, etc.

This park is famous for having inhabitants of lions which prey on elephants, principally calves or juveniles, however even subadults

Chobe National Park is a real wildlife paradise and among the finest national parks in Southern Africa.

Only one peek at the number of wildlife and luxurious vegetation and you’ll be mesmerized ceaselessly!

Chobe National Park Botswana Safari & Travel Guide

The unique inhabitants of this space have been the San bushmen (also called the Basarwa individuals in Botswana).

They have been nomadic hunter-gatherers who have been consistently shifting from place to put to seek out meal sources, particularly fruits, water, and wild animals.

These days one can discover San work inside the rocky hills of the park.

At the start of the 20th century, the area that might develop into Botswana was divided into totally different land tenure methods.

At the moment, a serious part of the park’s space was labeled as crown land. The thought of a National park to guard the various wildlife discovered right here in addition to promoting tourism first appeared in 1931.

The next year, 24,000 km2 (9,300 sq mi) around the Chobe district has been formally declared non-hunting space; this space was expanded to 31,600 km2 (12,200 sq mi) two years later.

In 1943, heavy tsetse infestations occurred all through the area, delaying the creation of the National park.

By 1953, the challenge acquired governmental consideration once more: 21,000 km2 (8,100 sq mi) have been advised to develop into a game reserve.

Chobe Recreation Reserve was formally created in 1960, although smaller than initially desired. In 1967, the reserve was declared a National park.

At the moment there have been a number of industrial settlements within the area, particularly at Serondela, the place the timber trade proliferated.

These settlements have been regularly moved out of the park, and it was not till 1975 that the entire protected space was exempt from human exercise.

These days traces of the prior timber trade are nonetheless seen at Serondela. Minor expansions of the park passed off in 1980 and 1987.

Chobe National Park Botswana Geography and ecosystems

The Chobe National Park Botswana will be divided as much as Four areas, every corresponding to at least one distinct ecosystem:

The Serondela space (or Chobe riverfront), located within the excessive Northeast of the park, has as its foremost geographical options lush floodplains and dense woodland of mahogany, teak, and different hardwoods now largely lowered by heavy elephant stress.

The Chobe River, which flows alongside the Northeast border of the park, is a serious watering spot, particularly within the dry season (Could be by way of October) for giant breeding herds of elephants, in addition to households of giraffe, sable and cape Cape buffalo.

The flood plains are the one place in Botswana the place the puku antelope will be seen. Birding can be obtainable.

Giant numbers of carmine bee-eaters are noticed in season. When in flood spoonbills, ibis, numerous species of storks, geese and different waterfowl flock to the realm.

That is probably Chobe’s most visited part, largely due to its proximity to the Victoria Falls.

The city of Kasane, located simply downstream, is a crucial city in the area and serves because of the northern entrance to the park.

The Savuti Marsh space, a 10,878 km2 (4,200 sq mi) giant, constitutes the western stretch of the park (50 km (31 mi) north of Mababe Gate).

The Savuti Marsh is the relic of a giant inland lake whose water supply was reduced a very long time in the past by tectonic actions.

These days the marsh is fed by the erratic Savuti Channel, which dries up for lengthy intervals and then curiously flows once more, a consequence of tectonic exercise within the space.

It’s at the moment flowing once more and in January 2010 reached Savuti Marsh for the primary time since 1982.

On account of this variable move, there are hundreds of lifeless bushes alongside the channel’s financial institution.

The area can be coated with intensive savannahs and rolling grasslands, which makes wildlife significantly dynamic in this part of the park.

Throughout dry seasons, vacationers happening a safari usually sight rhinoceros (each black and white), warthog, kudu, impala, zebra, wildebeest, and a herd of elephants.

Throughout rain seasons, the wealthy birdlife of the park, 450 species in the entire park, is properly represented.

Pride of lions, hyenas, zebras, or extra hardly ever cheetahs are sighted as properly. This area is reputed for its annual migration of zebras and predators.

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The Linyanti Marsh, positioned on the northwest nook of the park and to the north of Savuti, is adjoining the Linyanti River.

To the west of this space lies Selinda Reserve and on the northern financial institution of Kwando River is Namibia’s Nkasa Rupara National Park.

Round these two rivers are riverine woodlands, open woodlands in addition to lagoons, and the remainder of the area primarily consists of flood plains.

There are giant concentrations of the lion pride, leopard, African wild canine, roan antelope, sable antelope, a hippopotamus pod, and herds of African bush elephants.

The rarer pink lechwe, sitatunga and a bask of Nile crocodiles additionally happen within the space. The Fowl range is wealthy.

Between Linyanti and Savuti Marshes lies a sizzling and dry hinterland, primarily occupied by the Nogatsaa grass woodland.

This part is a little recognized and is a superb place for recognizing elands.

Chobe National Park Botswana Ecosystem

Chobe National Park Botswana boasts an unimaginable 450 species of birds, most of that is greatest seen on a ship cruise down the river.

To call however a number of of the very best choices, you might be more likely to discover large kingfishers, green-backed herons, pied kingfishers, white-fronted bee-eaters, carmine bee-eaters African fish eagles, grey-headed gulls, nice white egrets in addition to a lot wanted rarities such because the malachite kingfisher and the African skimmer.

Chobe can be dwelling in numerous several types of vultures in addition to the famously strange-looking Marabou stork.

Chobe is a birder’s paradise. For photographers, carry an enormous lens with you and also you’ll make sure to take the very best chicken photos of your life.

Chobe National Park Botswana Panorama, Vegetation, and Ecosystems

Chobe National Park will be divided up based on 4 distinct and complex ecosystems

The Serondala space or Chobe riverfront is characterized by lush floodplains and dense woodland of mahogany, teak, and different hardwoods.

This riverine part and the floodplains maintain a wealthy number of habitats important to the multitude of animals that inhabit Chobe.

The Savuti Marsh has constituted the west of the park and is characterized by open grasslands and savannah woodland. This was as soon as a big inland lake.

In the present day, it’s fed by the erratic Savuti Channel which is dry for lengthy intervals and then all of a sudden decides to move once more on account of tectonic exercise within the space.

This unreliable water provide has resulted in quite a lot of ghostly lifeless bushes that dramatically intersperse the in any other case open landscapes.

Wildlife may be very varied right here and it’s usually the very best area to seek out the park’s predators, in addition to the annual migration of zebras.

The Linyanti Swamp and Wetlands are discovered within the north-west nook of the park and the area’s lagoons and floodplains are complemented by the distinctive surrounding riparian woodlands, consisting primarily of sausage bushes and jackal berry, in addition to giant palms and papyrus.

Between the Savuti Marsh and Linyanti, you’ll discover the new, dry hinterland part consisting primarily of the Nogatsaa grass woodland.

This space is the wildest and least-explored within the park and is dwelling to giant herds of eland.

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Chobe National Park Botswana Elephant focus

The park is broadly recognized for its giant elephant inhabitants, estimated to be around 50,000.

Elephants dwelling listed here is Kalahari elephants, the biggest in the measurement of all recognized elephant populations.

They’re characterized by quite brittle ivory and brief tusks, maybe attributable to calcium deficiency within the soils. Injury brought on by the excessive numbers of elephants is rife in some areas.

The truth is, the focus is so excessive all through Chobe that culls have been thought of, however, are too controversial and have so far been rejected.

In the dry season, these elephants sojourn in the Chobe River and the Linyanti River areas.

Within the wet season, they make a 200-kilometer migration to the southeastern stretch of the park.

Their distribution zone nonetheless outreaches the park and spreads to north-western Zimbabwe.

Chobe National Park Botswana Tourism

After driving a number of meters alongside the spectacular Chobe Riverfront, your information all of a sudden stops. An elephant household slowly wanders throughout the street, planning to take a shower.

As you stare upon this superb scene, you’ll be able to hear the uninteresting sound of heavy toes within the sand, the respiration and whiffing, and the occasional trumpeting from these lovely, mighty creatures.

Probably the most awe-inspiring safari experience is the up-close and private conferences with wildlife at Chobe National Park, and we are able to guarantee you’ll have them steadily throughout your go-to. Welcome to the park with the highest sport density in all of Africa.

Famed for its huge elephant populations, large herds of buffalo (matched solely by some large lion pride), and unimaginable birdlife, Chobe National Park will depart an eternal reminiscence.

The place else can you discover such a tremendous riverfront, with bustling wildlife, undisturbed predators, heavenly landscapes and tranquil lodges?

Essentially the most accessible space of the park is the Chobe Riverfront, which is additionally the place you’ll find the biggest focus of wildlife.

For an extra predator-rich space: head off to Linyanti Marshes. Or nourish your soul within the distant Savuti space.

Wherever you go to this park, wildlife encounters are plentiful and all of Chobe appears like true wilderness.

It’s a place that may be loved by everybody: {couples}, households, and seasoned Africa vacationers.

We’ll clarify extra in regards to the totally different areas beneath. However first, somewhat bit in regards to the historical past of this particular place.

What to Do at Chobe National Park Botswana

Recreation-viewing is clearly the primary exercise for guests to Chobe National Park, and there are numerous other ways to do it.

Many individuals go for a traditional jeep safari organized by way of a safari lodge or tour operator.

Accompanied by educated information, safaris like these are a good way to profit from insider details about the very best locations to see particular animals.

Essentially the most rewarding game drives happen in the early morning and late afternoon, whereas an evening drive is the one option to see Chobe’s fascinating nocturnal wildlife.

As well as, many lodges provide strolling safaris and river cruises.

The previous affords the chance to expertise the bush up shut and private, whereas the latter is a Chobe specialty designed to allow you to observe the wildlife that congregates on the water’s edge to drink.

Self-drive safaris are one other risk and a terrific possibility for those on a fund or anybody that relishes the liberty of deciding their very own itinerary.

Chobe has three wonderful public campsites, making it potential to spend longer intervals exploring the park without having to remain in one of many extra upmarket lodges.

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Image: Mog and Dog Travels

Chobe National Park Botswana Wildlife

Every time you might be near the Chobe river, you’ll discover a broad number of lush inexperienced bushes and bushes.

Away from water sources, the bushes get thicker and thorny, with a number of open areas.

Though Chobe National Park is a wildlife paradise, making an attempt to explain it as an entire could be a mistake.

Chobe consists of many various smaller ecosystems, every with its personal vibe, totally different vegetation, and animal inhabitants.

We’ll clarify extra in regards to the three areas right here, however will attempt to provide you with an outline of what the park is about first.
Wildlife in Chobe across the clock

You may encounter Chobe’s wildlife throughout the park.

When the dry season begins, giant herds of elephants and buffalo search the everlasting waters of the Chobe and Linyanti Rivers.

Think about hundreds of them, coming generally all the best way from Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park.

All yr spherical, Chobe’s large sport consists of zebra, impala, baboon, blue wildebeest, kudu, giraffe, warthog, and vervet monkey.

Lions and the noticed hyena are quite common; collectively they’re the dominant predators, bringing you spectacular encounters with large buffalo herds.

The riverfront is the hotspot to see hippo, crocodile, and the marginally odd, leguvaan (the second-longest lizard in Africa).

And, though seen much less, the unimaginable cheetah, leopard, and Africa’s uncommon wild canine roam the Chobe space steadily.

Your information will maintain a watch out for these distinctive animals: seeing them in their pure surroundings is an unforgettable expertise.

If you’re very fortunate, you would possibly even spot the hardly-ever-seen, white rhino.

Reintroduced in Botswana in 2001, they’re spreading regularly. So a wandering rhino would possibly turn!

Some Chobe safari lodges provide night drives on their very own property; a really thrilling and particular journey. At night time, the nocturnal animals emerge, similar to bushbabies (lovable fluffy animals with large eyes), African wildcats, and honey badgers.

Chobe National Park Botswana Birds

If there’s yet another factor that wants our particular consideration, it’s the overwhelming birdlife in Chobe National Park.

With over 450 bird species, there isn’t a means we are able to record all of them. So, listed here are a number of highlights.

Hop on a ship for a river cruise and spot kingfishers, an excessive density of fish eagles, and African skimmers.

Keep looking out for bee-eaters, hamerkops, and wire-tailed swallows. Additionally, the borders of the islands and Chobe floodplains are the places you need to be:

storks, geese, herons, and lots of, many plovers. Uncommon, however positively valuable searching for are the rufous-bellied and white-backed night herons, with their long beaks and chic crest.

In total, even if you’re not a birdwatcher, these frolicking feather bundles will steal your coronary heart, proper from the second they seem at the entrance of your binoculars.

Lesoma Memorial Monument

In 1977, the brutal civil struggle within Rhodesia spilled over into Botswana. Within the course of, 15 Botswana Defence Power troopers died; nonetheless, the incident solely strengthened Botswana’s National resolve to stay a peace-loving nation.

Ngwenzumba Pans

The Ngwezumba pans lie roughly 70 km south of the Chobe River and comprise a big advance of clay pans, surrounded by morphine woodlands and grassland plains.

In the course of the wet season, the pans fill with water, then attract wildlife that transfer away from the everlasting water sources of the Linyanti and Chobe Rivers.


Actually, on the inside of the park, Savuté boasts a lot of the Chobe species, apart from water-loving antelope. It’s best recognized for its predators, significantly lion, cheetah, and hyena, of which there are giant resident populations.

The Savuté channel flows from the Linyanti River for about 100 kilometers, carrying water away from the river and releasing it into an enormous swampland known as the Savuté Marsh, and additional south onto the Mababe Melancholy, which can be fed by the Ngwezumba River from the northeast.

The Mababe – immense and flat and fringed by thickets of bushes – was as soon as a part of the Makgadikgadi super-lake.

When stuffed with water, it turns into the venue for hundreds of migratory birds and animals, significantly giant herds of zebras.

Geographically, Savuté is a space of many curiosities. Certainly one of its best mysteries is the Savuté channel itself, which has over the previous 100 yr inexplicably dried up and recommenced its move in a number of instances.

This irregular water move explains the quite a few lifeless bushes that line the channel, for they’ve germinated and grown when the channel was dry and drowned when the channel flowed once more.

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A Chobe family safari: greatest playground ever

Sure, planning a Chobe safari with all the family will be difficult. However, if done properly, you and the little ones could have the expertise of a lifetime.

Just a few issues to remember: anticipation is an important part of the general journey.

Particularly if it’s the first time your child(s) will venture out of their comfort zone: speaking about it and viewing footage of the animals helps them put together.

What is going on? Possibly they need to make guidelines for cool animals they need to spot.

Contain them in packing their suitcases too; in the event that they really feel a way of duty, the journey can be extra thrilling.

As a result, the lodges in Chobe are all within the ‘true’ wilderness (unfenced), and homeowners are fairly strict with security restrictions.

At all times examine the minimal age permitted within the camp.

Most camps even have a minimum age for game drives and guided bush walks.

Apart from that, a safari is a perfect option to improve household bonding (think about reminiscing in regards to the day below a star-studded sky, or waking up along with wildlife roaming in the entrance of your suite), so begin planning and let the anticipation start!

Health and Medical

Maybe the start of the many dangers to think about when visiting Chobe is malaria.

Chobe lies in a malaria belt and it is strongly recommended to take prophylactics whereas staying within the space, significantly within the late wet season – roughly from January to April.

Even when taking prophylactics, it’s nonetheless advisable (for the sake of a great night time’s sleep if nothing else) to put on lengthy sleeves and trousers after darkish.

On the first signal of malaria, signs make sure to take malaria to take a look (obtainable from most pharmacies).

Signs embrace aches, chills, complications and fever, muscle pains, nausea, and diarrhea.

Seek the advice of your nearest physician or journey clinic not less than a month earlier than heading to Chobe for a recommendation concerning prophylactics and malaria precautions in addition to any vaccinations you would possibly require for Botswana or different components of the area that you just are likely to be visiting.

Although Botswana is a yellow fever-free zone (as are most of its neighbors), if arriving in or returning to Botswana from a yellow fever zone, you’ll be requested to indicate a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Should you require this vaccination, it is best to have it achieved not less than two weeks earlier than your journey.

It’s typically secure to drink the water in Botswana, and make sure to drink numerous it to keep away from dehydration as the warmth in Botswana will be intense.

There’s a non-public clinic within the city of Kasane on the sting of Chobe and most lodges can manage on-site medical therapy.

Chobe National Park Botswana Visas

Holders of most European passports don’t require a visa to enter Botswana for as much as 90 days.

The same goes for US residents in addition to South Africans and most different SADC passport holders.

For these passport holders that do require a visa to go to Botswana, discover your nearest Botswana Embassy or Consulate right here for extra particulars.

Visa functions ought to be made not less than 4 weeks earlier than your departure.

In some situations, visas will be issued on the Botswana border if pre-approved by Botswana immigration companies.

NOTE: Most overseas nationals planning to additionally incorporate Victoria Falls into their journey (both the Zimbabwean or Zambian aspect) would require a visa for this. Click on right here for full particulars on Zambian visas and for Zimbabwean visas.

The way to Get There

Most guests to Chobe National Park should come by way of the city of Kasane, no matter mode of transport they select.

For these which are self-driving, roads in Botswana are typically fairly good and heavy site visitors will definitely by no means be a difficulty!

If you are coming from Johannesburg, it’s a 1300km drive by way of Francistown and Nata.

Cross the border at Martin’s Drift and keep it up straight by way of to Francistown, then the A3 runs from Francistown to Nata, then from Nata, you are taking the A33 right through to Kasane.

If driving throughout the border from the Zambian aspect of Victoria Falls, you’ll be able to take the ferry over the river on the Kazangula border.

You get to the border by way of the M10 from Livingstone.

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It’s rather less than 80kms and may take about 1hr 45minutes. It’s the same distance however normally somewhat faster from the city of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

This route takes you through Zambezi National Park and into Kasane on the A33.

Kasane additionally has a small however surprisingly busy worldwide airport. Air Botswana offers scheduled companies between Gaborone and Kasane. SA Airlink additionally flies between Johannesburg and Kasane.

Chobe National Park Botswana Local Weather and Climate

There are two distinct seasons in Chobe National Park, and each provides really totally different but equally spell-binding safari expertise.

The wet season runs roughly from November by way of till the top of March and brings with it common temperatures of 350 to 400 Celsius within the day and a balmy 250 or so at night time.

The rain normally falls in the late afternoon and night, so a lot of the day stays dry and the humidity just isn’t too oppressive regardless of the warmth.

The dry season runs roughly from April by way of till October and common daytime temperatures are a way more manageable 27o or so, although they begin to rise pretty rapidly in October earlier than the onset of the rains.

At night in the dry season, it will probably get fairly chilly. If setting out on early morning sport drives right now of yr, make sure to wrap up the heat.

The wet season is the very best season to expertise Chobe’s spectacular birdlife in all its glory, and the plush, inexperienced vegetation is gorgeous; this season additionally brings with it the Savute zebra migration.

The dry season is the very best time of yr to see big herds of Chobe’s well-known elephants within the Chobe River, in addition to equally huge herds of buffalo and the park’s many predators, all of which are drawn to the river’s banks.

When to Go at Chobe National Park Botswana

The dry season (May to October) is conventionally considered the very best time to go to Chobe National Park.

The times are sunny, heat, and dry, whereas the nights, can get chilly. The roads are simply navigable for safari autos and self-drive automobiles alike, and mosquitoes are at a minimum.

Better of all, the dearth of accessible water elsewhere within the park encourages animals to remain across the river, making it straightforward to identify wildlife in a brief time frame.

Nonetheless, there are advantages to touring within the sizzling, humid, moist season, together with spectacular birding, fewer vacationers, and cheaper lodging charges.



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