Chobe National Park is the second largest national park in Botswana and covers 10,566km² with one of the highest concentrations of animals in Africa. The park is divided into four separate eco systems: the Serondela with its lush plains and forests, the Savuti Marsh, the Linyanti Swamps, and the hot dry rural area in between.
The Basarwa or San people inhabited the area. They were hunter-gatherers and nomads who would move from one area to another in search of water and animals for food. In 1960, Chobe was declared a game reserve and in 1967, it became the first National Park of Botswana. Chobe has a large elephant population of about 35,000 and an amazing variety of game and bright colored birds such as the Rollers and Bee-Eaters. There is a natural beauty to this part of Africa with its floodplains, baobab, mopane, and acacia trees and the golden grasslands that border the Chobe River.
Our safari drive north to Kasane brought us in view of many birds and elephant before we reached our camp at the edge of the Chobe River. We made camp near the Chobe Safari Lodge, an upscale lodge with all the amenities one would want. The camp sits in the northern part of Chobe and is part of the Serondela ecosystem. A sign in front of our camp near the water said, “Beware of crocodiles.” There was an optional boat safari down the river but after seeing the swimming pool at the lodge, my mind was made up that that would be my optional excursion. I swam and enjoyed the warm African sun. Hippos in the river serenaded us and baboons played in the trees above us. Two warthogs entertained us running back and forth and one raided our camp. We met a woman at the pool that has been in Botswana for 23 years as a missionary. She said that you can’t be in this country for that long and not be involved in the AIDS/HIV cause. Botswana has a 47% rate of AIDS, the highest of anywhere in the world. She was working with an aviation company evacuating people with emergencies. I made a comment that she must love it here to stay that long. Her comment was, “It’s a love-hate relationship.” The group came back from the boat safari and said they saw elephants, baboons, and a few springbok. The birds were beautiful and they saw crocodile and hippos. I was happy I spent the day as I did.