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What Is Chobe National Park?

Chobe National Park is in northern Botswana, which is an African nation located north of South Africa.
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  • Written By: P.M. Willers
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 August 2014
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Chobe National Park lies in the northern portion of Botswana. The national park is noteworthy for its concentration of wild game, one of the largest in all of Africa. It was the first national park to be created in Botswana and is the country's third largest national park. Botswana is a landlocked nation located to the north of South Africa. The country is bordered to the west by Namibia and the east by Zimbabwe.

Though the idea had been discussed for a few decades, Chobe National Park was officially created in the late 1960s. Named after the Chobe River, the park features wilderness areas that are distinct from each other. The Chobe River is surrounded by floodplains which are a major source of water for wildlife during the dry season. In the dry winter months, large groups of elephants and buffalo may be seen drinking from the river.

Two other distinct ecological regions within Chobe National Park are the Satuvi Marsh area and the Linyanti Marsh. The Satuvi Marsh area is what remains of an inland lake whose water source was cut off long ago by tectonic activity. Occasionally, water still flows into the Satuvi Marsh. This unpredictability leads to a diverse and competitive variety of wildlife present in the area.

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The African wildlife is perhaps the biggest draw to the park. Visitors may embark on a river cruise, where they can see wildlife such as hippopotamuses and crocodiles. Additionally, many visitors come to Chobe National Park to view the more than 460 species of birds that have been spotted in the park.

In the rainy season, lasting from November to March and peaking in January and February, large numbers of birds of a wide variety of species may be viewed in the park, particularly in the Satuvi Marsh area. The dry season, which spans the months of May to October, brings the largest amount of game, and consequently visitors, to the park. This is perhaps owing to the lack of water available, which thereby forces animals to search and compete for precious resources.

Elephants are truly the main attraction at Chobe National Park. With an existing population believed to be around 50,000, the park may have the largest continuous elephant population in the world. Conditions allow them to thrive, though in some areas damage caused by the elephants is evident. This evidence usually consists of fallen trees which the elephants sometimes knock over in an attempt to rip off the bark.

There are three main camping areas within Chobe National Park, and all three feature showers and toilets. Campsites may be reserved by visitors before their arrival at the park. One of them, the Linyanti, houses luxury style camping for visitors who so desire it. Additionally, the Chobe Game Lodge is a permanent sleeping facility.

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