Elephants of Chobe National Park

I adore elephants. They’re my favourite animals I think, and I find their intelligence and social skills absolutely fascinating. One of the best places in Africa to see a lot of these wonderful animals is Chobe National Park in Botswana.

I went to Chobe just over 2 years ago. It was a long weekend trip, combined with Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe – two days in each place. Chobe is just an hour’s drive from the Falls so it’s very easy to combine the visit to both. There is only one lodge situated inside the park, Chobe Game Lodge, and that’s where we stayed. It was a fabulous experience as the location of the lodge is hard to beat: right by the Chobe river, with a boardwalk alongside it so you can have your afternoon tea on the deck and watch elephants play in the water, buffalo graze on the river banks, crocodiles float past silently, and hippos chuckle nearby (yes, hippos do sound like they’re guffawing!) The lodge itself is beautiful and stylish, and offers 5-star accommodation and services, including great food and a spa. Safari drives and river cruises are also included in the stay, and interestingly they employ only female guides, all of whom are fantastic. Some of the ladies have funny stories of surprised and distrustful tourists (well, predominantly male tourists) who found it hard to accept that a woman can tell them anything interesting about the African bush and wildlife. They were all proved very wrong! Kudos to the Lodge for dispelling myths 🙂

Chobe is known for the highest concentration of elephants in all of Africa: it is estimated that there are about 50,000 of them in the park, but some reports claim the number might be as high as 100,000! They’re the Kalahari type, the largest of all elephant species. Chobe boasts a great variety of wildlife: buffalo, lion, leopard, different species of antelope, as well as lots of hippos, giraffes, baboons, monkeys, crocodiles, hundreds of birds, and many more. The park is huge, about 11,000 sq km, so there’s plenty of space for everyone! But elephants are definitely the highlight, and you’re basically guaranteed to see hundreds of them. Here are a few shots of these magnificent animals 🙂

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The view from the Chobe Game Lodge boardwalk. I sat there with a cold Savanna (South African cider) and simply enjoyed the scene!

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Baby elephants are just too cute! This one was enjoying the splash 🙂
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Two of the Big Five hanging out together 🙂
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This was one of the most moving moments I’ve experienced in any game park. The baby elephant died of natural causes apparently, and the lioness and her cubs were feeding on the carcass when this elephant bull appeared. He stopped short, looked at the scene, and quickly withdrew, clearly moved by what he saw…

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A bit of a roadblock!
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A matriarch of a herd is extending her trunkg to say hello to another matriarch, the boss of a different herd. She was approved and her elephants followed her and started to cross the river to join the other group. The big ellie in the background is a solitary male, he roams the park on his own.
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The ellies crossing the river to follow their matriarch and join another herd.

I have hundreds of photos from Chobe National Park, including quite a few close-ups of the lions feeding on the baby elephant and a vulture circling over it, a buffalo with a broken leg, giraffes having a mock fight with their necks, and many others. But I’ll leave that for another post! 🙂

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