3a. Chobe – Journey to Chobe N.P. & Sunset River Cruise part 1

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Route from Bagani to the border at Ngoma and further towards Kasane

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View over Chobe National Park and Chobe River…

After entering Botswana for the second time and dealing with the border formalities, The Wandelgek drove further eastwards towards Kasane and from a high cliff, on top of which the road lay, he had a magnificent view over the Chobe river and the pastures full of herds of buffalo, elephants and different gazelles…

 

There were lots of Baobab trees on top of the cliff too…

Chobe River

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Herds of buffalo roaming the vast pastures of Chobe Nartional Park…

The Cuando River is a river in south-central Africa flowing through Angola and Namibia’s Caprivi Strip and into the Linyanti Swamp on the northern border of Botswana. Below the swamp, the river is called the Linyanti River and, farther east, the Chobe River, before it flows into the Zambezi River.

Chobe National Park

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.

Geography and ecosystems

The park can be divided up to 4 areas, each corresponding to one distinct ecosystem:

  • 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, which flows along the Northeast border of the park, is a major watering spot, especially in the dry season (May through October) 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 town of Kasane, situated just downstream, is the most important town of the region and serves as the northern entrance to the park.
  • 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. Nowadays the marsh is fed by the erratic Savuti Channel, which dries up for long periods then curiously flows again, a consequence of tectonic activity in the area. It is currently flowing again and in January 2010 reached Savuti Marsh for the first time since 1982. As a result of this variable flow, there are hundred of dead trees along the channel’s bank. 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 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 and on the northern bank of Kwando River is Namibia’s Nkasa Rupara National Park. Around these 2 rivers are riverine woodlands, open woodlands as well as lagoons, and the rest of the region mainly consists of flood plains. 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.

Park history

The original inhabitants of this area were the San bushmen (also known as the Basarwa people in Botswana). They were nomadic hunter-gatherers who were constantly moving from place to place to find food sources, namely fruits, water and wild animals. Nowadays one can find San paintings inside rocky hills of the park.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the region that would become Botswana was divided into different land tenure systems. At that time, a major part of the park’s area was classified as crown land. The idea of a national park to protect the varied wildlife found here as well as promote tourism first appeared in 1931. The following year, 24,000 km2 around Chobe district were officially declared non-hunting area; this area was expanded to 31,600 km2 two years later.

In 1943, heavy tsetse infestations occurred throughout the region, delaying the creation of the national park. By 1953, the project received governmental attention again: 21,000 km2 were suggested to become a game reserve. The Chobe Game Reserve was officially created in 1960, though smaller than initially desired. In 1967, the reserve was declared a national park.

At that time there were several industrial settlements in the region, especially at Serondela, where the timber industry proliferated. These settlements were gradually moved out of the park, and it was not until 1975 that the whole protected area was exempt from human activity. Nowadays traces of the prior timber industry are still visible at Serondela.

Minor expansions of the park took place in 1980 and 1987.

Sunset River Cruise on the Chobe riverfront near Kasane – Part 1

From Kasane The Wandelgek stepped on board of a two decked river boat for a magnificently adventurous cruise around a huge flat grassy and swampy island in the river Chobe. This island lured all grass eating animals from the mainland through the river to it’s juicy grass plains. This was a predator heaven…

Sedudu

img_3076v3Sedudu Island (known as Kasikili Island in Namibia) is a fluvial island in Botswana, formed in the Chobe River adjacent to the border with Namibia which runs down the thalweg of the river immediately north of the island. The island was the subject of a territorial dispute between these countries, resolved by a 1999 decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which ruled in favour of Botswana. The island is approximately 5 square kilometres (2 square miles) in area, with no permanent residents. For several months each year, beginning around March, the island is submerged by floods.

While cruising the Chobe river The Wanelgek spotted lots of spectacular wildlife and birdlife of which you’ll see a first impression:

Birdlife

African Darter

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African Fish Eagle

Yellow Billed Stork

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Marabou Stork

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African Spoonbill

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Sacred Ibis

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Great White Egret

Little White Egret

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African Jacana

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African Skimmer

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Unknown birds

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Wildlife

Giraffe

Baboons

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Nile Crocodile

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African Elephant

 

 

Elephants crossing the Chobe Riverbotswana_choberivercruise_2015_img0125

 

 

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Hippopotamus

 

Yawn number 1:

Yawn number 2:

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African Buffalo

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Chobe… you’re wonderfull!!!

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See more in Part 2

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