Chobe


If you want to cruise down a river and watch thousands upon thousands of elephants and buffaloes set against spectacular sunsets, if you want to see big cats may be seen stalking buffalo on the grassy floodplains whilst 440 species of birds flit around, if you want to spot the rare Pel’s Fishing owl at night or the small flocks of African skimmers, only found in this region or if you want to fish on the Chobe for the incredible tiger fish whilst enjoying exceptional photographic opportunities then Chobe National Park is where you need to be.

The park is created by the Chobe River which has its origins in the highlands of Angola. Once it enters Botswana, it goes through several name changes. The Kwando River becomes the Linyanti, then the Itenge and finally the Chobe River. The park has an interesting variety of habitats and is rich in plant life, with mopane woodland, mixed combretum, sandveld, floodplain, grasslands and riverine woodland. Elephants need to travel over 40 km to water from their feeding grounds every day. Many trees have suffered considerable damage from the high numbers of elephants, who push them over and rip off the bark – and some woods have been totally denuded.

Notwithstanding the elephants, Chobe has some of the finest game viewing in Africa. It is notable for huge herds of buffalo and zebras, lechwe, Chobe bushbuck and the puku. There is a good chance of seeing large prides of lions which laze around in the shade all day only to hunt at dusk. Hyena and leopard move around at night while cheetah run their prey down in the day.

It rains form November to March with a peak during January and February. Rains often only begin in mid-December making travel on clayey soil before that possible albeit challenging soon thereafter much of the Chobe River area becomes accessible. These are the warmest months with temperatures and humidity high and mosquitoes abundant. The wild flowers that emerge during the rains are quite stunning and bird life is abundant. Many animals give birth during this period of abundant grazing and if you are prepared to negotiate some mud, the rainy season in Chobe is a delightful time.

May to October is dry and as the months progress and water dries up inland, animals congregate in huge numbers along the river. Game is at its most dense and easily visible during the dry season. October is the hottest month and although it is the best for game viewing, it is also the most uncomfortable as the expectation of rain is high and the heat can be oppressive.

 

Facts

  • In line with many of Africa’s national parks, off-road and night driving is not permitted.
  • Chobe National Park covers 7 270 square miles (11,700 square kilometres)
  • This is a malarial area.
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