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Located in the far north of Botswana, Chobe National Park has an impressive list of accomplishments. Established as a game reserve in 1960 to protect the wildlife and promote tourism, the area later became Botswana’s first national park in 1967.
Since then, it has become the third largest and most visited national park in Botswana, renowned for hosting the largest herds of elephants in the world. There are an estimated 120,000 elephants in Chobe National Park, and you’ll also have little trouble spotting the massive herds of buffalo that roam the park.
Chobe is a sanctuary for scores of animals including lion, leopard, cheetah, antelope and the endangered African wild dog. Head to the beautiful Chobe River to spot hippos, Nile crocodiles, waterbuck and the rare red lechwe antelope.
It’s also a birders paradise, with over 450 recorded species, and the highest density of many raptor species including the lappet-faced vulture and the bateleur eagle. Other special sightings include the African skimmer, the Southern carmine bee-eater, the Pel’s fishing owl, the pallid harrier, and the kori bustard, the largest flying bird in Africa.
The best way to experience Chobe is with a magical river cruise on the famous Chobe Riverfront, where floodplains and mopane forests hold the highest concentration of wildlife in the park. You can also take a classic safari game drive through the plains or the Linyanti Marshes in the northwest, an area packed with predators.
As it’s a highly popular park, we recommend exploring the more remote Savuti area, for a tranquil experience away from the crowds.
Chobe National Park can be visited all year round, with each season offering different treasures. The best time for wildlife viewing is the dry season of May to October, when animals are forced to gather around the retreating water sources. The game viewing reaches a peak from August to October, however these are also the hottest months of the year.
The wet season runs from November to April and is the best time for birdwatching and to see newborn animals. You can also watch the mass migration of Burchell’s zebra leaving Chobe and Savute and heading towards Nxai Pan. Depending on the rains, the zebra begin their journey in November or December, and stay there until the end of February or early March, before slowly making their way back to Chobe between April and early July.
The Chobe National Park features on our Botswana Off the Beaten Track holiday, with three nights spent exploring the remote Savuti area and beyond in the national park. With a reputation as one of the best national parks in Botswana, Chobe is an excellent addition to any Botswana holiday. As tailor made holiday providers, Wayfairer can include Chobe National Park on any bespoke Botswana tour, or extend your time here according to your preferences.
As one of the most popular national parks in Botswana, we recommend getting off the beaten track with a stay at Savute Under Canvas in the remote Savuti area of the park. An authentic mobile-camp, with all the amenities of a permanent campsite, Savute has five Meru-style tents with comfortable beds, ensuite bathrooms, and bucket showers filled with warm water each evening. In compliance with national park regulations, the camp moves to a different private campsite in Chobe National Park every five days.