Known as 'the Land of the Giants,' Chobe National Park is in the northern part of beautiful Botswana and is home to Africa's largest elephant population and one of the densest concentrations of wildlife in the world. Spot a pride of lions and leopards grazing or a pack of hyenas in their den. Find zebras lunching on their diet of grass and twigs – or perhaps an entire herd of buffalo roaming. You may even catch a glimpse of the elusive cheetah, the fastest land animal in the world. Cape buffalo, sable, warthogs, kudus, lechwes, wild dogs, jackals, gnus, roan antelopes, bat-eared fox and waterbucks are among the hundreds of other animals roaming the national park. It is also one of the only areas one can find puku antelopes in their natural habitat.
Birdlife is huge here too, with close to 500 different species including the fish eagle, marabou stork, carmine bee eater, helmeted guineafowl, grey lourie, great egret, African openbill and the jacana. But while the wildlife and birdlife are one of the park's main thrills, be sure to enjoy the sights and smells of the iconic African bush, sandy terrain and lush green river banks.
Stretching over 4500 square miles of rich landscapes, the Chobe National Park takes its name from the renowned Chobe River which flows along the park's northeast border. It is both Botswana's largest park and holds the honor of becoming the country's first national park in 1967. Along with visiting the breathtaking Victoria Falls nearby, legendary explorer David Livingstone visited the region in the 1850s. Millions of safari-goers have followed his lead ever since, making it one of the most visited areas in all of Africa.
After a full day of exploring the park through the Chobe River, AmaWaterways takes guests along other parts of the park via open-top 4x4 vehicles (the open-tops offering a chance for optimal, unobstructed photographs).
Each method of safari will give you a distinctive perspective and all-around feel for the park. Naturally, driving through the park allows the safari to search a wider span and more easily follow game in motion. It also gives closer consideration to the flora and fauna. The park is so massive it is usually categorized into four subdivisions. The Serondola area of the park, also known as the Chobe Riverfront, is flush with a dense woodland of mahogany, teak and other hardwoods – along with the lush floodplains near the Chobe River.
Another fun feature of this trip is enjoying a delicious picnic lunch served up under the trees. And you never know, perhaps a few small local guests may be seen nearby or overhead!
By Joan Casanova, Bonnie Plants,
Photographs courtesy of Bonnie Plants
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