Saturday, 25 July 2015

Botswana Chobe National Park, Wildlife Sightings

Chobe National Park from the Light Aircraft, Water and Land ©Solange Hando

Rich in wetlands, savannah and forest, the Chobe National Park lies in Botswana, a haven for wildlife, close to the border with Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

This is the only place in the world where four countries meet and it happens in the middle of the Chobe river, at the Kazungula crossing.

 Fun in Chobe ©Solange Hando

In the dry season, wildlife migrates from across the borders, attracted by the river and surrounding wetlands.

Elephants come top of the list, with up to 160,000 recorded at that time, the world's highest concentration. You find them in the forest and along the banks of the Chobe where in the late afternoon, some swim across to Sedudu island for the night.

Having a Snooze on Sedudu Island ©Solange Hando

Sedudu means the 'hippo pod' and there are plenty of these massive and seemingly placid creatures both in the water and on land. This mother and her 6 months old young took no notice of us but the ranger was as excited as we were. This was the first baby hippo he had spotted in 10 years.

The island was once disputed territory with Namibia but when the channel on the Botswana side was measured and proved shallower, it was granted to the latter.

Giraffes by the Chobe River ©Solange Hando

Theses giraffes were also spotted by the river, the young one splaying its legs, as giraffes do, to drink or nibble short wet grass.

The iconic entwining of necks often seen at mating time is not romantic at all but indicates rivalry between two males.

Too Close for Comfort? ©Solange Hando

Rather more awesome are the myriad crocodiles swimming in the river or sunning themselves on the banks, mouth wide open to cool down.

The picture was taken from the relative safety of a small boat but these crocs have been known to snatch humans who strayed too close to the water. This is no place for riverside picnics, or even a stroll.

Prowling in the Sunset  ©Solange Hando

The park supports large numbers of birds, impala, buffaloes, baboons and other creatures, large and small, but for many visitors, the greatest thrill is seeing a lion, or lioness as above.

After a kill, scores of vultures gather in the tree tops, waiting for their turn to feed, and on any game drive, looking up, not down, is probably the best way to find the king or queen of the Chobe jungle. 

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