Chobe National Park is Botswana’s first national and third largest park, located in the north of the country.
The original residents of this area were the San Bushmen – nomadic hunters who were constantly moving from one place to the other to find food, water, fruits and wild animals. Chobe consists of different smaller ecosystems, with different vegetation and animal population.
All year round, Chobe’s big game includes zebra, impala, baboon, blue wildebeest, kudu, and giraffe. Lions and the spotted hyena are also very common. Together, they are the dominant predators, bringing tourists spectacular encounters with big buffalo herds. The riverfront is also a perfect spot to see hippo, crocodile and the leguvaan (the second longest lizard of Africa).
The park can be divided up to 4 areas, each corresponding to one distinct ecosystem:
The first is the Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront), located in the extreme Northeast of the park, and has its main ecological features. It is made up of lush floodplains and dense woodland of mahogany, teak and other hardwoods. The Chobe River, which flows along the Northeast boundary of the park, is a major watering spot, especially in the dry season for large breeding herds of elephants, as well as families of giraffe, sable and buffalo. When in flood, various species of storks, ducks and other waterfowl flock to the area. This is Chobe’s most visited section, because of its proximity to the Victoria Falls
The second is the Savuti Marsh area, which constitutes the western area of the park. The Savuti Marsh is the remnant of a large inland lake whose water supply was cut a long time ago by tectonic movements. It is presently flowing again and because of this variable flow, there are hundreds of dead trees along the channel’s bank. The region is also covered with wide savannahs and rolling grasslands, which makes wildlife particularly unique in this section of the park. During dry seasons, tourists going on a trip often sight rhinoceros (both black and white), zebra, and a herd of elephants. During rainy seasons, the birdlife of the park that is over 450 species in the whole park, is well represented. Prides of lions, hyenas, zebras or more rarely cheetahs are sighted as well. This region is reputed for its annual migration of zebras and predators
The third is the Linyanti Marsh, located at the northwest corner of the park and to the north of Savuti. On the westside of this area is the Selinda Reserve and on the northern side is Namibia’s Nkasa Rupara National Park. Around these two rivers are riverside woodlands, open woodlands as well as lagoons, and the rest of the region mainly consists of flood plains. There are large concentrations of lions, leopard, African wild dog, antelope and herds of African bush elephant here.
Between Linyanti and Savuti Marshes lies a hot and dry area, mainly occupied by grass woodland, the fourth of the ecosystems. This section is little known and is a great place for spotting elands (species of South African antelope).