Botswana: Safari fun in Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park in northern Botswana boasts one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa and that was apparent even as I drove into the park from Kasane! The main challenge with driving in this part of Botswana was whether to drive over that foot-high pile of elephant dung or to swerve around it!

Sitting outside my tent in the Savuti campground I could see a large elephant and hippo grazing in the lush floodplains on the opposite bank of the river.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

A cheeky warthog seemed right at home in the campground…

Chobe National Park, Botswana

And the sunset was magnificently African, although not quite my best sunset in Africa!

Chobe National Park, Botswana

A Chobe game drive

An hour into an early morning safari game drive (simple to organise upon arrival at any of the hotels or accommodations in Savuti) I had been wondering where Chobe National Park’s estimated 50,000 elephants were hiding when at last a big group was spotted. The family was in the water and we all piled out of the truck and peered through the trees down the bank to take photographs.

These are Kalahari elephants, the largest in the world and watching them reach up to effortlessly strip branches from large trees I could understand the concern at their damaging precious woodland in Chobe National Park. There were a number of youngsters and they seemed oblivious to us for a long time. Then they carefully moved the babies to the rear of the group.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

This was a most rewarding game drive and watching buck impala clashing, hippos gnawing at each other and storks stepping lightly and fishing at the edge of the river were only highlights.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Another huge group of elephants crossed the dirt road ahead of us, at least 30 or 40 of them, moving towards the water.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

On the way back near the entrance to the park a group of baby jackals scampered like lightning into the trees, left by their mother to learn to fend for themselves.

Chobe evening riverboat cruise

A riverboat cruise along the Serondela, or Chobe National Park waterfront is an amazing way to see wildlife. The boat got very close to groups of hippos grunting and groaning and made the acquaintance of an ornery hippo who climbed out of the water to avoid the boat and the cameras.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

There were more hippos grazing on the island in the Chobe River (which is disputed territory between Namibia and Botswana), a crocodile glaring from the bank and a magnificent Fish Eagle.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Finally, a herd of elephants were down on a wide river beach, kicking up the ground and throwing the mud over themselves. Then it came on to rain – a real squall had suddenly arrived. The elephants huddled together but continued to enjoy themselves in the water.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

I spent the cruise back shivering and trying to keep my camera dry up my shirt but it was worth it because there is something so incredible about seeing African wildlife in its natural habitat!

By Natasha von Geldern

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Game drive and river cruise Chobe National Park Botswana

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14 Replies to “Botswana: Safari fun in Chobe National Park”

  1. Sophie

    Must have been a wonderful experience. This part of Botswana I’ve yet to see and would love to. The cheeky warthog does look a bit on the thin side… or perhaps that’s normal?

    Reply
  2. Leigh

    I had three nights in Botswana after 3 weeks of cycling on the Tour d’Afrique. It was welcome luxury after camping and the wildlife was good – not great probably because of the time of the year. Still you can’t be a ride in a dugout canoe with hippos roaring in the distance or an elephant coming up to your cabin to gnaw on the vegetation or…. I would go back in a heartbeat. Looks like you had an equally wonderful time.

    Reply
  3. Bret @ Green Global Travel

    I cannot even begin to tell you how badly we want to go to Chobe. We actually had a press trip tentatively set up, but couldn’t work out the airfare to get there (and, unfortunately, don’t have $3000 lying around). Hopefully we’ll find a way to get there next year. Thanks for whetting our appetite!

    Reply
  4. Sherry

    I’ve yet to go on safari. I never thought of doing so in Botswana. Ah, the things I learn from people. Love it. And also loving your second photo; I’m very jealous.

    Reply

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