Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Nature's Paradise: Chobe, Botswana

During our recent stay in Zambia's Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park for the SAIMM Copper-Cobalt Conference we spent a day in Botswana in the Chobe National Park.

The Zambian side of the border at Kazungula
The excellent Bushtracks Safaris drove us the 70 km from Livingstone to Botswana, and dealt with the chaos at the border crossing at Kazungula on the north bank of the Zambezi. The island in the middle of the river, which we crossed by ferry, is the quadripoint where Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana meet. Long lines of trucks line the road on both banks of the river, and until the planned road bridge is completed wait for up to two weeks to make the ferry crossing!

A short drive took us into the Chobe National Park, named after the river which empties itself into the Zambezi. Botswana's first National Park, it has one of the highest populations of game in Africa, being particularly famous for its numerous huge herds of Kalahari elephants, the largest in body size of all living elephants. The Chobe region contains an estimated 120,000 elephants, the highest concentration in the world. Damage caused by these high numbers is obvious in this wonderful landscape and culls have been considered, but are too controversial and have thus far been rejected.

Elusive Sable Antelope

We were lucky to visit in the dry season where the huge herds were in profusion along the bank of the Chobe River. Barbara and I have visited most of the great National Parks of Africa over the years, in East Africa, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia, but never have we been to an area where wildlife literally teems, and apart from elephant we saw more hippo, crocodile and buffalo than anywhere else, and even managed to sight one of the shyest and most elusive of antelopes, the magnificent sable, only our second sighting ever, the first being 44 years ago - in Chobe!

During our day in Chobe we spent the morning on a cruise on the river, and after an excellent lunch at the Chobe Safari Lodge, an afternoon drive along the river bank.

The real purpose of this blog posting is to highly recommend this visit to any of you who are staying close to the area, be it in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia or Botswana. It is a truly great experience in what is our favourite African National Park.

Below are more photos taken during our day, including very close encounters with elephants when we became completely surrounded by a huge herd.

Cape Buffalo in the dramatic scenery

A very large Nile Crocodile takes to the water







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