The Chobe National Park is bordered by the Chobe River and the Moremi Game Reserve and encompasses 11,000 sq km of river flood plains, open pans and riverine woodlands. It is one of the largest wildlife protected areas in Botswana and Africa. Chobe park eco-system is comprised of 4 unique habitats.
Chobe Botswana tours
The Chobe River rises in the northern Angolan highlands and travels enormous distances through Kalahari sands before reaching Botswana where it is known as the Linyanti and
then the Chobe. Like the Okavango and Zambezi, the Chobe’s course is affected by fault lines, which are extensions of East Africa’s Great Rift Valley. These three mighty rivers carry more water than all other rivers in Southern Africa and naturally attract a huge quantity of wildlife.
Serondela Marsh, wetlands and dense forests areas that lie next to Chobe River in the northeast. The lush plains are a popular spot for African elephants and buffaloes, particularly in the dry season and is perhaps the most visited area in Chobe game reserve. Not far from this area is Victoria Falls, a major tourist attraction on any African safari. Other important habitats within the park include Linyati swamps and Savuti marsh in the west end of the park.
Savuti marsh is covered in dry, dead trees that lie along the banks of Savuti channel which feeds the marsh. The region is also covered in sizable savannah grasslands, which attracts several animals and wildlife. Regular sights for the dry season include warthogs, kudus, impalas, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, impala, roan and sable antelopes, buffalo and above all elephants bullying each other. Predators enjoy Savuti marsh thanks to its abundant prey that pounces on any animals that loiter around aimlessly. Lions, spotted hyenas, jackals, cheetahs, bat eared fox and wild dog comprise the set of Savuti night predators. The rainy season draws more than 450species of birds to the plains. This Chobe region is indeed reputed for its annual migration of zebras and predators.
Linyati swamps that fringe Linyati and Kwando river make game reserve to the north of Chobe National park. The riverbanks are also inscribed in open woodlands, lagoons and scanty savanna grasslands, home to large concentrations of leopards, African wild dogs, roan antelopes, lions, hippos, lechwe, sitatunga, elephants and crocodiles. In such varied habitat bird life is prolific and there are 440 bird species found in the river area, including many rare and unusual species. Keep an eye out for the African skimmer, the tiny and exquisitely colored malachite kingfishers and Pel’s fishing owl.
Chobe elephant encounters
Chobe really is one of the wildlife parks with large concentrations of the African elephants with over 10,000 elephants visiting Chobe and Linyati rivers during the dry season. You’ll often encounter elephant calves on trails with their mothers near a water hole, some coated with mud, other rubbing on tree trunks and some crossing the shallow river in the afternoon.
Chobe elephants are dark with short tusks; many of them migrate from the dry Kalahari deserts in search of water and breeding grounds that are near the rivers.take a boat cruise along Chobe river and find many elephants and with calves trumpeting along the trail, schools of hippos, water birds and crocodiles gapping on the river bank.
Find a variety of overnight and accommodation options from and near Chobe National park. Luxurious Chobe Chilwero is on eoptions with delightful facilities like private gardens, serene views of the coursing Chobe river. Down the banks of Chobe river is Chobe Safari Lodge with affordable family suites and rooms one of the budget Chobe accommodations that offer great value for money. Other overnight options include Chobe Grand Dame Game Lodge located within the park and some bush and tented camps. Ihaha camp has some exclusive modern facilities.
When to go
Chobe Game viewing is at its best during the dry season, when the majority of salt pans, plains and wetlands have dried up. All game makes its journey to the banks of Chobe and Linyati rivers in search of water around May to October. Elephant sights are rather common during the dry season and so are the predators like lions, cheetahs and hyena that gladly wait to have a kill along the riverbed.
Chobe river floods during the heavy rains from January to March, fewer elephant sights but more birds are sighted in the park. Be sure to pack your Malaria drugs and long sleeved clothing to prevent mosquito bites for the rainy months.
Remember to hire 4WD vehicle if you intend to have game drives through the park, carry extra fuel supplies, food, drinking water, flash light and everything you may need on outdoor camping adventures. Roads through the park especially in Linyanti area are not clearly signed at this time, so visitors should carefully plan their route before setting out and it is advisable to inform park wardens and staff before arrivals.