Chobe National Park, along the northern edge of Botswana is one of the most ecologically diverse parks in all of Africa, making it the ideal location to witness local animals in their natural habitat.
Chobe National Park is the oldest national park in Botswana. The prospect of dividing the land in Botswana to create protected areas was first discussed in 1931. The following year, the government declared tens of thousands of square kilometres as non-hunting land. Over the following decades, the area was expanded geographically with increased protection until it was declared a national park in 1967.
Despite the declaration of national park, industrial settlements remained in the area. The settlements were gradually moved out of the park and, in 1975, the park was officially protected from human activity.
Chobe National Park is made up of four distinct ecosystems, making it one of the most ecologically diverse parks in all of Africa.
The Serondela area, or the Chobe riverfront, is located in the northeast corner of the park. The area is made up of lush marshes and woods. Much of the woodlands are made up of mahogany and teak trees, though they are receding due to the large elephant population.
To the west is the Linyanti Marsh alongside the Linyanti and Kwando rivers. Due to the waterways, this area is made up of lagoons and woodlands.
On the west bank of the park is Savuti marsh area, which is rarely an active marsh. Long ago the local water channel dried up due to tectonic plate movements in the area. Most recently, the Savuti area is covered in savannahs and rolling grasslands speckled with dead trees.
The Chobe riverfront is a popular watering hole for local wildlife, especially during the dry months between May and October. Visitors can hope to spot a wide array of animals including giraffes, buffalo, antelope, many species of birds, and perhaps most excitingly, large herds of elephants.
Near the water in the Linyanti Marsh, it’s common to find hippos, herds of elephants, and crocodiles. Lions, leopards, antelope, and wild dogs roam the rest of the Linyanti Marsh region.
During the dry months, visitors of the Savuti Marsh area should look for zebras, warthogs, rhinoceros, impala and wildebeests in the area. In the wet months, lions, zebras, hyenas, and sometimes cheetahs will roam the marsh. The area is most well known as a vast migration ground for local zebras and their predators in between seasons.
To spot the large African antelopes of the savannah – elands – head to the vast dry grasslands located between the Linyanti and Savuti Marsh areas.