Chobe National Park is the first ever and third largest national park of Botswana, and features a very diverse animal population. The Chobe River that flows through the park is so massive that it is known by multiple names in the different regions it crosses. Linyanti River, Itange River, and Cuando River are some of the names this river is referenced by.
This massive park is divided into four distinct areas, each with its own ecosystem. This makes it an excellent location for a getaway, as tourists and visitors can take in dozens of different sights. If you’re looking for exciting and exotic terrains, or simply as many different species of animals as possible, Chobe National Park has you covered.
History of Chobe National Park
The land currently declared the national park has signs of ancient human civilization as well as the various animals that call it home. Artifacts from long ago – though mainly paintings – show that this park was once settled by the Basarwa people. The Basarwa people were nomads by nature which means they migrated to this area in search of food and water, and probably vacated it once they had exhausted what the land could provide.
The idea to declare this piece of land a national park, mostly to protect endangered species from extinction, was first floated in the year 1931. The following year a large portion of land was dedicated to the park, though at the time it wasn’t known as such and was only considered a non-hunting area. This area continued to be expanded in the coming years. The Chobe Game Reserve was created in 1960, and the park was finally officially declared a national park seven years later. The years after this point were mostly spent moving human industries out of the park, and it wasn’t until 1975 that the park was completely cleared.
What Can You Expect to Encounter?
Chobe National Park is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Africa, and for good measure. A trip to the park ensures that you will get to witness some of nature’s finest work. From massive herds of zebras and wildebeest migrating across the plains, to lions stalking elephants.Chobe National Park won’t disappoint if its animalistic action you’re looking forward to witnessing.
If you’re a fan of getting up close and personal in a vehicle, Chobe National Park has an even more exciting offer. Though conventional safaris in jeeps remain as an option, the Chobe River also has boating facilities for a new twist on animal watching. Take a boat out into the river’s waters and you’ll be surrounded by animals on all sides as herds make their way to the banks to drink. What’s more, you can glimpse terrifying beasts such as crocodiles and hippopotamuses from the safety of your boat and much closer than would have ever been possible from land.
Lastly, Victoria Falls – one of the seven natural wonders of our world – is extremely close by to Chobe National Park. Most trips to the park usually involve an additional trip to the waterfall as well. As it’s only a short drive away, you can plan ahead and get to enjoy a long picnic next to the scenic tidal rush of water crashing to the Earth. You might even get lucky and get to witness a miniature rainbow contained within the waterfall’s boundaries if you’re there at just the right time of day.
The Exotic Terrain of Chobe National Park
As we mentioned above, Chobe National Park can be divided into four separate areas, each with its own contained and unique ecosystem. If you’re looking forward to seeing new kinds of terrain that you might not be familiar with back home, Chobe National Park has got a lot to offer.
The park features vast rolling plains of flat Earth where large herds roam in formation. These plains occasionally sport a lone tree that contrasts against the backdrop of the sky in an otherwise uninterrupted line of sight of the horizon. Water bodies touch the plains every now and then, where you will find predators and prey alike basking under the sun.
The park also has large forests, which provide a completely different environmental experience to that found in the floodplains. The forests might be a scarier trek if you’re claustrophobic or like to see something before it sees you. Then there’s the Savuti Marsh Area. This used to be a lake in ancient times, but tectonic activity cut off its supply of water. This area remained dry for a long time before further tectonic activity solved that problem. Due to its nature, this area is teeming with all sorts of wildlife, and could probably substitute for the whole park if watching animals was your main goal of visiting. Between the Savuti and Linyanti marshes is hot and very dry part of the park, a great spot for encountering elands.
Being one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Botswana, you won’t have to look hard to find a lodge to stay at. However, all of these lodges are present outside the park save for one; the Chobe Game Lodge. This lodge is the only accommodation actually inside the boundaries of the park, so demand is high. It features 44 rooms and each room comes with its own bathroom and air conditioning. Each room also has a private terrace with a view of the Chobe River.
For more adventurous sorts, the option for roughing it in a tent is also available. Public campsites around the park make for excellent places to set up a tent close to mother nature. For people of a more discerning taste, the luxurious option of staying aboard a houseboat is available too. These boats are probably the most stylish way to spend your vacation in Chobe National Park.
Seasons and Climate
With Chobe National Park, it is advised that tourists visit during the dry season, as roads are much easier to drive on during that time of year. Also, visiting during the rainy season might end up with you spending all your time indoors as the rain refuses to let up for days at a time. The months between May and October are generally regarded as the best time to visit, as the days are dry and warm with the nights not being crazy cold.
The beauty of Africa’s national parks is the diverse choice of options and experiences they provide. Each park has something unique to offer visitors. Chobe National Park is an excellent choice for a vacation destination and you can be certain that you won’t be let down, and that it would be a vacation to remember forever.