Botswana ~ Chobe National Park

Sunday February 1st ~ Chobe National Park, Botswana

Birds on the giraffes neck will help by eating the ticks and other bugs.

Birds on the giraffes neck will help by eating the tics and other bugs.

Up early and on the road by 7:30 for an hours’ drive to the border crossing from Zimbabwe into Botswana.

Botswana

Landlocked, the country is bordered by South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Namibia. Botswana is the world’s 48th-largest country, similar in size to Madagascar or France, but is one of the most sparsely populated in the world with just over 2 million people. The fact that 70% of the country is covered by the Kalahari desert may be a contributing factor in the low population numbers.

In the late 1960’s Botswana was considered one of the poorest countries with a GDP (purchasing power parity) per capita of about US$70 per year. Today they have made an amazing turnaround with one of the fastest growing economies. The biggest contributor to the GDP is tourism and diamonds. They can now boast a GDP per capita of about $16,400 per year as of 2013.

Young male Impala

Young male Impala

But despite political stability and economic growth, the country has been brutally harmed by HIV/AIDS with around 1/4 of the population estimated to be infected.

Traveling in the country is relatively easy with decent tarred roads, however traveling at night is not recommended. The animals, large and small roam freely and with no road lights, you can come across a herd of elephants or a crash of hippos at any time.

Hippos on land and in the water

Hippos on land and in the water

I am reminded that a couple of days earlier we were stalled in “traffic” for a short time as we made our way past a car still in the road that was completely crushed. The driver had hit two large cape buffalos. The animals had not survived and were being towed to the side of the road. We have no information as to whether or not the driver and/or passengers survived, but I can only hope so as it did not look good.

“Botswana is known to be one of the best places in Africa to naturally experience wildlife. The national parks make up a large percentage of the country. The government supports to keep Botswana as a major tourist destination. Chobe National Park, Moremi Game Reserve, the Okavango Delta, Makgadikgadi Pans and the Central Kalahari are all major tourist attractions…” ~ Chobe National Park.co.za

Chobe National Park

Today we are visiting Chobe NP. It is the third largest of the National Parks in the country and the oldest. I am always excited to see the animals, and Chobe is famous for having the largest concentration of African elephants.

African Elephant, up very close and personal

African Elephant, up very close and personal

We broke the day up into two parts, a morning game drive and an afternoon cruise on the Chobe river.

How close you may get to the animals on the game drive

How close you may get to the animals on the game drive

“Elephants living here are Kalahari elephants, the largest in size of all known elephant populations. They are characterized by rather brittle ivory and short tusks, perhaps due to calcium deficiency in the soils.” ~ Wikipedia

But enough “words”, I really want the animal pictures to speak for themselves. So with no further ado, here are just some of our favorite shots of the day:

Impala

Impala

Monitor lizard

Monitor lizard

Cape buffalo

Cape buffalo

Kudu?

Kudu

Elephant and warthog having a showdown

Elephant and warthog having a showdown

Lioness relaxing in the shade

Lioness relaxing in the shade

Look at those lips!

Look at those lips!

Mother elephant guiding her baby by holding it's trunk

Mother elephant guiding her baby by holding it’s trunk

Could not identify this little bird. Anyone know?

Could not identify this little bird. Does anyone know?

Update: I think this is a wire tailed swallow. A special thanks to Clara@expatpartnersurvival.com for identifying it for us.

Impala nursery. The adult females stand guard, one facing each direction with the babies in the center

Impala nursery. The adult females stand guard, one facing each direction with the babies in the center

And I’ll finish this post off with a couple of pictures of us on the river cruise:

Tim

Tim

Joanne

Joanne

Gratitude Moment:

Today I am grateful for all that I am learning along the way, from politics to animal facts, from local customs to ancient histories. We were only in Botswana for the day, but I am so glad we got to see so many magnificent animals. The large herds of elephant stood out, as the day before the river boat captain said that there were ZERO elephants to be seen. What a difference a day makes!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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17 Responses to Botswana ~ Chobe National Park

  1. kalison0515 says:

    Outrageously good photos – thanks for sharing!

    Like

  2. Beautiful photographs! Looks wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  3. f-stop mama says:

    Love the photos in this post. You really captured the animals’ essence. Nice!

    Like

  4. Is the bird a wire-tailed swallow? The description in our bird book is “tiny blue-backed swallow with a chestnut crown and white underparts. Long, very thin tail streamers, often difficult to see,”

    Like

  5. leggypeggy says:

    Chobe is one of my favourite game parks. Love your pics. Thanks for the like on my travel blog.

    Like

  6. Beautiful post and amazing good shots 😀

    Like

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