Chobe, Botswana – Wild & Wonderful (01.05.16)
Enormous, sprawling and remote, southern Africa’s Chobe National Park covers an area of 10,566 square kilometres. Traversing northern Botswana, this dramatic, wild and wonderful conservation area reaches from the Chobe River in the north, down to the Savute Channel, Moremi Game Reserve and Okavango Delta.
Its prolific wildlife, horizon-stretching scenery and magnificent eco-systems rival anywhere in Africa. Flying in a light aircraft across the vast expanse of the National Park, you soon feel about as significant as termite. It is home to over 440 species of bird as well as a swathe of other wildlife including lion, buffalo, hyena, wild dog, zebra, giraffe, hippo, eland, wildebeest, kudu, tsessebe, eland, waterbuck, impala, sable, crocodile, cheetah, bat-eared fox, jackal and Africa’s largest surviving continuous elephant population (numbering over 120,000).
Furthermore, dotted across the four differing sub-divided eco-systems (Serondela, Linyanti, Savuitia and Nogatsaa hinterland) is a smattering of remote and charming luxury safari camps and lodges, like diamonds amidst one of Africa’s most impressive tourism crowns.
I first visited this region over thirty years ago, but to this day I still find one of the most endearing features about travelling in Chobe is the feeling of being trapped in a time warp. Human development has thankfully made little to no impact on Chobe. Wilderness still rules on a grand scale.
Indeed the original hunter-gatherer San-bushmen would find this vast expanse of national park as unchanged and challenging as ever. As many a returning Nomadic Thoughts client has remarked, the wonderful feeling of losing yourself in such a vast natural eco-system is difficult to beat. Even when travelling by land, you soon appreciate the rawness of the environment, as much as your lowly position in the predator food chain.
The ever-evolving landscape also keeps visitors on their toes, as, year round, weather switches back and forth between dry and rainy seasons. This influences the patterns of animal movements, which change as dramatically as the colour and density of the local flora.
Dry season (May to October) This season majorly benefits game viewing opportunities with less foliage, dry river beds and dense gatherings of wildlife surviving the heat around the spare and limited water reserves.
Rainy season (December to March) By contrast, this season sees a dramatic rise in water levels, creating a larger number of watering pools, dramatic grasslands and carpets of stunning wild flowers. Birdlife numbers explode and the animal calving and lambing season creates a feeding frenzy among predators.
Staying in one of the National Park lodges or remoter safari camps, you soon slip into Africa time: rising with the cool crisp sunrises; exploring the bush in the early morning; and chilling out in the midday heat. Twilight animal movements, sundowners and night-time safaris are another way to enjoy the abundance of bush life thriving throughout Chobe’s extensive, diverse and dramatic landscapes.
An African treat ready and waiting. Especially when factored in with Victoria Falls, The Okavango Delta and Kalahari regions.