The Chobe National Park is the second largest park in Botswana and is known for its superb game viewing all year round as it has one of the largest populations of game on the African continent.
The park is located in the northern part of Botswana and comprises an area of approximately 11,000 km². The park lies along the Chobe River, which borders Botswana and Namibia. Numerous luxury bush and safari lodges are found inside the park next to the Chobe River, with a handful of lodges located centrally, at Savuti, where also the famous Savuti Campsite can be found. All the lodges are accessible by flight and road transfer from Maun or Kasane, and or road transfer from the Caprivi Strip in Namibia.
The Chobe River supports the largest concentration of elephant found anywhere in Africa and it is not uncommon to encounter herds in excess of a hundred. The Chobe River has its origins in Angola, where it is known as the Kwando River. When it enters Botswana, the Kwando River becomes the Linyanti and then near Ngoma Gate it becomes the Chobe River. The Chobe River meets up with the Zambezi River near Kazangula at the border of Botswana.
The Sedudu gate near Kasane also gives access to a public road that passes for 54 kilometres through the park to Ngoma gate. Ngoma is the entrance used by visitors from Namibia, with the border crossing nearby. The southern entrance to the park is at Mababe gate, along a route that connects with the Moremi Game Reserve. Mababe gate is some 56 kilometres south of Savuti and many visitors enter from Kasane, camp at Ihaha Campsite and then at Savuti Campsite, exit through Mababe and on through to Moremi - or the other way around. Apart from this circuit and the charming camp ground at Linyanti, another route within the park, which intrepid visitors take, is south from Sedudu for 68 kilometres to Noghatsaa and then across to Savuti, which is a further 140 kilometres. Roads through this area are not clearly signed at this time, so visitors should carefully plan their route before setting out and it is advisable to inform park staff of intentions to visit the Noghatsaa area.
It is wise to note that no fuel supplies are available within the park and visitors travelling between Kasane and Maun via the park should ensure that they are self-contained for the entire journey. All drinking water should be boiled or chemically treated. Mosquitoes are prevalent throughout the park and visitors are strongly advised to take an anti-malarial prophylactic before, during and for four weeks from visiting the park, especially during the rainy season.
Chobe National Park offers four distinct different ecosystems:
Serondela area (or Chobe riverfront) in the north east has lush plains and dense forests which attract huge numbers of elephants and buffalo. The Serondela area is the most visited part of Chobe National Park, as it is situated near Victoria Falls.
Savuti Marsh is situated in the west of the park. The Savuti Channel bisects the Chobe National Park and empties into the Savuti Marsh. The Savuti Marsh area is well known for its coverage in a number of popular wildlife documentaries, especially the National Geographic films by Dereck and Beverly Joubert. Savuti has rich grasslands, savannah woodland and a large variety of trees and vegetation.
Linyanti Swamps are situated on the western section of Chobe. The Linyanti River and marshes are complimented by the contrasting dry woodlands. The Linyanti Wildlife Reserve area is renowned for predators and large concentrations of game, particularly Elephant and Buffalo which move down to the Linyanti River at the start of the winter months.
The Nogatsaa and Tchinga, a hot and dry hinterland - this area is for the adventurous traveller. The hinterland area holds water well into the dry season and attracts a profusion of game between August and October. This area is particularly good for viewing eland.