Chobe National Park
Chobe is BotswanaÂs first established national park, and one of the most diverse and important wildlife conservancies in Africa. It is situated at the four corners region where the boundaries of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola, Zambia and Namibia meet, and is adjacent to the wetland confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers, in one of the most productive natural ecosystems on the continent. Chobe is also famous for its vast herds of elephants, some 60 000 individuals at the last count, which makes this park host to the largest concentration of these creatures in Africa.
The protected area of Chobe can be divided into four distinct ecological zones.
The first is the Serondela, or the riverfront on the south bank of the wide and languid Chobe River, which is where most of the main lodge and camp facilities are situated. This is the main dry season drinking area for most of the larger species, and within the dense teak forests that line the river the proliferation of birdlife is extraordinary. It is here that some of the loveliest vistas of Africa pass before your eyes, as you enjoy a game cruise on the river, or sundowners on the terraces and decks that line the rivers edge.
The Savuti Marsh region is a large area of grassland savannah situated along the western edge of the park, and comprising an area 10 878 kmÂ² in extent. Thanks to the rich and varied habitat Savuti is famed for its quintessential African aspects and dense concentrations of antelope, lion and elephant. Most notable is the largest annual zebra migration on the continent, with the consequent presence of many predators.
The Linyanti Marsh is situated in the northwest corner of the park and in an area of concentrated wildlife conservancies both in Botswana and Namibia. The landscape is characterized by pristine riverine woodland, open grassland as well as inland lagoons and floodplain. There are healthy populations of the big cats as well as the beautiful sable antelope, red lechwe, sitatunga and roan.
Situated between these two wetland zones is a hot and dry hinterland characterized mainly by grass/woodland. This is a remote and scarcely visited region known principally for eland and kudu populations.
The park contains three main camps sites all of which are fully equipped with ablutions, but require advance booking
These are situated in the Serondela region at Ihaha, Savuti, 172 km southwest of Sedudu Gate, and a smaller facility situated at Linyanti about 39km northwest of Savuti.
In addition to these Linyanti has a handful of private concession where luxury tented camps and lodges provide a more established and comfortable option for non traditional campers.
Each of these facilities has a unique flavor, which makes them all worth visiting during a Chobe wildlife safari. The road system within the park is primitive, and so 4×4 transport is usually obligatory, and the best way to get the most out of a trip to Chobe is to hire the services of a local Tour operator to arrange and expedite a trip. The park is nonetheless accessible to all and any who have the right equipment, and is a wonderful option for free range overland travel.
Near the town of Kasane and along the south bank of the river a variety of commercial lodge and campsite options are available, from where many different tour operators pick up and drop off, and indeed where many are based.
What to do
If you visit Chobe then the one and only things to do is indulge yourself in some of the best wildlife safaris available in Africa. Facilities are good, and the travel industry is generally slick and well organised. Multi-day safaris or day, morning and evening game drives are easy to arrange. Once you have drunk your fill of fabulous nature then it is time for a booze cruise on the river, or simply to relax in any one of the wonderfully appointed lodges and river side camps. Fishing can be arranged
When to Go
Wildlife adventure in Africa is always best during the cool and dry winter months between May and August. The reason for this is not only the cooler weather and reduced humidity, but because during the dry season the chances of seeing wildlife is always higher thanks to the fact that herds tend to concentrate around permanent water at that time, and are more easily located in large numbers.
How to Go
Botswana is a drive destination and the road system from the south of the country, from east via Zimbabwe and Zambia, or north and west via Namibia is very good. The main jump off point for Chobe is the nearby town of Kasne, and here there are any number of travel facilities and hospitality options. Close to Kasane is the Victoria Falls adventures center, and easy transit thereafter into all the neighboring countries. The nearest commercial airport facility is Kasane, and then Maun on the Okavango and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, but air strip facilities for light aircraft are available in and around Kasane.