National Parks

Chobe National Park in Botswana

Chobe National Park is Botswana’s third largest park and home to one of the greatest concentrations of game in all of Africa – including the largest population of elephants in the world.

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Everything you need to know about Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park is one of those evergreen safari destinations that crop up in conversation whenever seasoned adventurers recount their favourite African experiences. Mention this Botswana stalwart to hardened journeymen who take pride in their rough-and-ready travel repertoire, and they are bound to launch into mesmerising tales of witnessing cloak-and-dagger exchanges between predator and prey as the sun glinted along the silvery expanse of the Chobe River at dusk. Also, it happens to be pretty hardcore.

Chobe National Park is not for the faint of heart

Unlike the Okavango Delta located to its west, this park does not offer a cushy respite for thirsty herds. This is eat-or-be-eaten territory. Located in the North West district of Botswana, the 10,000km2 unfenced park lies within close proximity to the borders with Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia, which allows wildlife to roam free in their natural migration patterns. It is Botswana’s third largest park and home to one of the greatest concentrations of game in all of Africa – including the largest population of elephants in the world.

The region is quite arid, and offers a more ‘traditional’ safari experience, with 4x4s a prerequisite on the sandy roads. However, visitors still encounter rich ecosystems, diverse landscapes and an almost unparalleled abundance of wildlife and birdlife all centred around the stunning Chobe River. The best way to get there is to fly in to Kasane from Johannesburg in South African, with most lodges about 10 minutes from the airport.

The Chobe River creates an eco-system unlike any other

Due to its vast expanse and the impact of the Chobe River, the park actually has no less than four distinct eco-systems. This contributes greatly to its immense biodiversity. First up, there’s the Serondela, or Chobe riverfront in the extreme north-east. Here you’ll find fertile floodplains and thick forests of mahogany, teak and other hardwoods. Then there is the Savuti marsh in the west of the park, where open grasslands and savannah woodland holds sway. This used to be a vast inland lake, but these days it only received an intermittent water supply from the Savuti channel when it’s stimulated to flow by tectonic activity. This is where you’ll find most of the park’s predators and encounter the annual zebra migration.

The Linyanti swamp and wetlands is found in the north-west corner of the park, flanked by riparian woodlands. In between these floodplains and the Savuti marsh lies the hot, dry hinterland consisting mainly of the Nogatsaa grass woodland. This area is the wildest and least-explored in the park and is home to large herds of eland.

About the reserve

What type of wildlife will we see?

Chobe is perhaps best-known for its vast elephant population, which is estimated to be around 50 000, making it the highest concentration of these giants in Africa, and also one of the world’s largest continuously surviving populations. But that’s just the start of it. If you’ve ever wanted to see Africa’s teeth and claws in action, then this is as good a destination as you’re likely to get. Here, lions regularly take on herds of buffalo and clash with packs of hyenas. It’s also the setting for a spectacular summer zebra migration, a fertile wild dog hunting ground and home to abundant bird life. Put simply, a Chobe safari holiday offers some of the best, most close-up game viewing in Africa.

When to visit

Keen to get off of the safari truck and into the action? Step right up. Experience the region’s pristine wilderness and wildlife areas on camping safaris that offer a real escape into the wild, with wildlife roaming through unfenced campsites. Or enjoy guided bush walks with knowledgeable guides who will teach you more about reading tracks and understanding animal migration patterns. If you’re keen on photography and come kitted out with a variety of lenses to get the best shot, a photographic safari could be right up your alley. These excursions are conducted by professionals in open game drive vehicles, providing a combination of safari and river cruise that gives you a unique perspective and angle on photography. Alternatively, you could opt for a Chobe river boat cruise safari, or even cast a line to fish for African pike, tilapia, catfish or upper-Zambezi yellow fish in this iconic river.

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