Photographer's Note

Botswana has the dubious honour of hosting about 120,000 elephants, many of which have emigrated to Botswana while escaping rampant poachers in neighbouring countries.I use the word dubious as so many elephants are causing an ecological headache for the park administrators who have been toying with the idea of culling and even sterilization.
It is exhilarating to see hundreds of elephants along the floodplains and the Chobe River itself. The river has a number of islands and the elephants cross Chobe in order to get to the tall grasses.
We were on a boat cruise awaiting the crossing. Time ticked by as countless elephants waited for someone to take the first step into the currents. After a long wait these three males from the bachelor contingent of the herd took the initiative. Behind them followed many of those assembled along the riverbank. It was a privilege to see such a wondrous sight and thanks to our wonderful boat operator, we had the best POV.

Chobe National Park

The original inhabitants of what is now the park were the San People, otherwise known in Botswana as the Basarwa.Chobe Accommodation - Chobe National Park - Chobe Lodges They were hunter-gatherers who lived by moving from one area to another in search of water, wild fruits and wild animals. The San were later joined by groups of the Basubiya people and later still, around 1911, by a group of Batawana led by Sekgoma. When the country was divided into various land tenure systems, late last century and early this century, the larger part of the area that is now the national park was classified as crown land. In 1931 the idea of creating a national park in the area was first mooted, in order to protect the wildlife from extinction and to attract visitors. In 1932, an area of some 24,000 square kilometres in the Chobe district was declared a non-hunting area and the following year, the protected area was increased to 31,600 square kilometres. However, heavy tsetse fly infestations resulted in the whole idea lapsing in 1943. In 1957, the idea of a national park was raised again when an area of about 21,000 square kilometres was proposed as a game reserve and eventually a reduced area was gazetted in 1960 as Chobe Game Reserve.
Later, in 1967, the reserve was declared a national park - the first national park in Botswana. There was a large settlement, based on the timber industry, at Serondela, some remains of which can still be seen today. This settlement was gradually moved out and the Chobe National Park was finally empty of human occupation in 1975. In 1980 and again in 1987, the boundaries were altered, increasing the park to its present size.
The park can be broken into 4 main areas:
The Chobe River Front, near to the town of Kasane. This area borders on to the Caprivi Strip of Namibia and has very high concentrations of game – especially in the dry season when it teams with animals dependent on the water. The area is made up of seasonal flood plains and relics of large riverine forests. A boat cruise on the Chobe river with many hundreds of elephants feeding on the floodplains and huge buffalo herds will be etched in ones mind forever.

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


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Additional Photos by Klaudio Branko Dadich (daddo) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3581 W: 114 N: 6351] (28698)
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