Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana, has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. By size, it is the third largest park in the country, after the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and the Gemsbok National Park, and is the most biologically diverse. It is also Botswana’s first national park.
The park can be divided up to 4 areas:
- The Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront), situated in the extreme Northeast of the park, has as its main geographical features lush floodplains and dense woodland of mahogany, teak and other hardwoods now largely reduced by heavy elephant pressure. The Chobe River helps for large breeding herds of elephants, as well as families of giraffe, sable and cape buffalo. The flood plains are the only place in Botswana where the puku antelope can be seen. Birding is also excellent here. Large numbers of carmine bee-eaters are spotted in season. When in flood spoonbills, ibis, various species of stork, duck and other waterfowl flock to the area. This is likely Chobe’s most visited section, in large part because of its proximity to the Victoria Falls.
- The Savuti Marsh area, 10,878 km2 large, constitutes the western stretch of the park (50 km north of Mababe Gate). The Savuti Marsh is the relic of a large inland lake whose water supply was cut a long time ago by tectonic movements. The region is also covered with extensive savannahs and rolling grasslands, which makes wildlife particularly dynamic in this section of the park. At dry seasons, tourists going on safari often view the rhinoceros, warthog, kudu, impala, zebra, wildebeest and a herd of elephants bullying each other. At rain seasons, the rich birdlife of the park (450 species in the whole park) is well represented. Packs of lions, hyenas, zebras or more rarely cheetahs are visible as well. This region is indeed reputed for its annual migration of zebras and predators.
- The Linyanti Marsh, located at the Northwest corner of the park and to the North of Savuti, is adjacent to Linyanti River. To the west of this area lies Selinda Reserve.There are here large concentrations of lion, leopard, African wild dog, roan antelope, sable antelope, a hippopotamus pod and enormous herds of elephants. The rarer red lechwe, sitatunga and a bask of crocodiles also occur in the area. Bird life is very rich here.
- Between Linyanti and Savuti Marshes lies a hot and dry hinterland, mainly occupied by the Nogatsaa grass woodland. This section is little known and is a great place for spotting elands.
The park is widely known for its spectacular elephant population: It contains an estimated 50,000 elephants, perhaps the highest elephant concentration of Africa, and part of the largest continuous surviving elephant population. The elephant population seems to have solidly built up since 1990, from a few thousand.Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant populations.