Jump to content




See all Safaritalk Special Offers

Message to Guests.

Welcome to Safaritalk where we have been talking Safaris and wildlife conservation since 2006. As a guest you're welcome to read through certain areas of the forum, but to access all the facilities and to contribute your experience, ask questions and get involved, you'll need to be a member - so register here: it's quick, free and easy and I look forward to having you as a Safaritalker soon. Matt.


Photo

Let's talk Chobe National Park. (Botswana)


  • Please log in to reply
24 replies to this topic

#1 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 24 May 2014 - 10:37 PM

So who has been, where did you stay, how was the accomodation and tourist infrastructure? What sightings did you have? What are you recommendations for the Etosha National Park? Feel free to post anything which you think will be of interest to those visiting below, including photos.

Also, I have a few queries of my own that I hope can add to discussion of this park.
- As it is a national park, is self drive allowed and do the crowds ever reach the traffic jam levels of the Kruger or Serengeti-Mari?
- To those that have been to both, how similar is the topography of the Kwando Lebala and Lagoon concessions to that of the park?
- When not flowing, to those that have been in that time, does the Savuti area change very significantly?

- Are the elephant herds, lion prides and hyaena clans quite as prodigous as some guide books say?

Thanks and hoping for interesting discussion and sightings, recent and historical! :)


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#2 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 10,021 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 24 May 2014 - 11:01 PM

I was in the savuti area on a mobile safari. You can self drive if you wanted to ..... Same on the chobe river side.

Some parts are similar to lagoon. Other parts very different. The river trips are very rewarding for the elephant viewing.

Not the big lion pride that used to hunt elephant a decade ago- definitely good area for them.

More crowded compared to the concessions ..... Nothing close to Mara or seronera at their worst.

www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#3 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 25 May 2014 - 09:23 AM

Thanks @madaboutcheetah !
Very interesting stuff and thanks for fulfilling all the queries. Which bits are similar to Lagoon?
I think the elephant hunting lions never stopped...or at least, have taken it up again. There was a recent and good Natural World episode on them.
What is savuti like for the smaller predators too? Wild dogs, leopard and your favourite? :)


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#4 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 10,021 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 26 May 2014 - 12:22 AM

All those other predators are around, but, you need luck. A few days before and after my trip they saw dogs and leopard. I saw lions, roan etc etc.,

Some general terrain similar is what I meant.

www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#5 Safaridude

Safaridude

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,019 posts
  • Local time: 09:47 AM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 11:01 AM

I have been to Chobe twice.  Once to the riverfront area (stayed at Chilwero Camp) and once to Savuti (mobile camping).

 

The riverfront area is slightly different from Kwando.  More closed canopy (a lot of elephant damage though) on the inland side with lots of teak, slopping down to a narrow floodplain and to the Chobe River.  A tremendous number of elephants in the dry season.  It is quite crowded, and at times, I think, just as bad as the Mara or Seronera because there is basically one main river road.

 

The Savuti area is entirely different looking, with open plains and dead lead wood trees dotting them.  I went there in March (off-season, sort of), and it wasn't crowded, but I understand it can get crowded.

 

In the dry season, one can expect to see lions.  Decent chance of wild dogs at both places.  In the dry season, very good chance for sable on the riverfront, as they come to drink.

 

There is a third major biome in Chobe:  the mopane and its pans.  I have not been, but the area is similar to Hwange, I hear.



#6 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 07:15 PM

Very interesting, thanks @Safaridude. Were any notable sightings had at either?
What is the park like for the spotted cats too, if anyone knows or has herd?


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#7 graceland

graceland

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,379 posts
  • Local time: 09:47 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:River Life, Virginia
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 26 May 2014 - 07:30 PM

Chobe was the first park/game drive for us back in '07. We went for 2 n after 2 n in Vic Falls before flying to the Sabi Sands /Timbavati areas for 10 days.

 

We had heard it was crowded but since we were so close we though we ought to go. Though Chilwero was a bit large and full of groups,  it was our first African lodge and we were just happy to be there!

 

Fortunately there was just one other couple on our game drive and we were pleasantly surprised to see lion, leopard, dogs, buffalo and a rhino the first day. I thought this must be the daily routine!. We saw much more game in Chobe than the last 4 days we were at Exeter Leadwood in the Sabi area.

 

Of course at Exeter we had 3 male lions think our jeep was  a  large bush, so it was quite thrilling to have them right at our tires, opening their large mouths and roaring so loudly I shook....thank goodness they ran the opposite way. Have never forgotten that one either.

 

What totally blew us away was getting on a rather small boat with 4 others in the Chobe river and watching hundreds of elephants and their young snorkel their way across at sunset. It is an image I've never forgotten and what brought us back for the second safari....and on going since then. So to us it was special in that we have that image always in our hearts and minds. We've since been to more remote parks and seen so much more game ~but you never forget your first!


Edited by graceland, 26 May 2014 - 07:31 PM.


#8 Safaridude

Safaridude

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 2,019 posts
  • Local time: 09:47 AM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 07:45 PM

Very interesting, thanks @Safaridude. Were any notable sightings had at either?
What is the park like for the spotted cats too, if anyone knows or has herd?

@ Big_Dog  @Paolo

 

August, 1993 - Chobe Riverfront (Chilwero Camp) - 13 lions on a buffalo kill, two separate sable sightings, one roan bull, hundreds and hundreds of elephants, lots of vehicles.  The most notable sighting was Paolo and his father.  It was years later that we figured out that we met there at Chilwero.

 

March, 2011 - Savuti - one lion, a female leopard, missed a pack of wild dogs who made a kill near our campsite the day before we arrived.  Game was scant… wet season and a very wet year at that… we could not really use the Savuti Marsh for game drives due to the road conditions.  Another sighting of Paolo and his father (actually we went together this time).

 

Very hard to see cheetah in Chobe.  Better odds with leopard.



#9 bettel

bettel

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 571 posts
  • Local time: 09:47 AM
  • Gender:Female
  • Location:Ottawa, Canada
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:00 PM

I was in Chobe (Riverfront) in December 2013 for 3 nights. It was a wet season so no huge herds of elephants but we still saw a lot of them. No crowds, partially because I was in Chobe under Canvas (and Beyond camp) so we had some time in the morning and some time in the afternoon only for us as the majority of visitors would be driving out of the park. A few lion sightings (couple of them very close to roads), one leopard, lots of giraffes, lots of hippos and crocs, honey badgers (but quite far from roads), a lot of birds. 



#10 Paolo

Paolo

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 3,883 posts
  • Local time: 03:47 PM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 08:06 PM

@Big_Dog

I have been to Chobe three times: August 1989 (riverfront), August 1993 (both riverfront and Savuti) and March 2011 (Savuti)

In 1989 it was marvellous - no predators, but fantastic, immense elephant herds. Great hippo action too in the river. My first good bushbuck sighting. Only a few vehicles around.

In 1993 sightings in a (then dry) Savuti Marsh were plentiful: amongst others lions (including Nitchwa Dumela of "Eternal Enemies" fame), wild dogs, spotted hyenas, wild cat, a beautiful Roan bull, lots of elephant bulls (no breeding herds)

At the riverfront the most important sighting was of @Safaridude. Then everything he mentioned, but no Roan for us. Very good Sable instead. Lots of vehicles

As for March 2011 and a wet Savuti I refer to what Safaridude said.

#11 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 09:10 PM

Thanks @Safaridude and @bettel - sounds like quite the sightings!

@Paolo - The early years sounds excellent! From what you saw would it be safe to say Savuti is a predator highlight area?
In this thread, may we perhaps get the photos of Ntchwadumela? Even if not that high quality, would be good for the novelty. :)


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#12 Paolo

Paolo

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 3,883 posts
  • Local time: 03:47 PM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 26 May 2014 - 10:02 PM

Thanks @Safaridude and @bettel - sounds like quite the sightings!

@Paolo - The early years sounds excellent! From what you saw would it be safe to say Savuti is a predator highlight area?
 

 

It certainly was. Not sure about it now. We saw very little in 2011.

 

I should have some slides of Nitchwa Dumela in some box in another house, so do not hold your breath for them!



#13 madaboutcheetah

madaboutcheetah

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 10,021 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Coimbatore, India
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:Tourist (regular visitor)

Posted 26 May 2014 - 10:46 PM

I must have just missed you guys .... I was there savuti marsh feb 2011 ......

www.facebook.com/madaboutcheetah

Botswana in my blood .......


#14 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 03:35 PM

@ Paolo - Do you think you could chalk the lack of sightings up to being in the green season. I hope wildlife has not declined there.

I won't, but I'll still live in hope for some first hand photos of 'He who greets with fire!' ;)


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#15 Paolo

Paolo

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 3,883 posts
  • Local time: 03:47 PM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 04:26 PM

@Big_Dog

 

Wildlife has definitely declined in northern Botswana in general. According to @Michael Lorentz (who spent 15 years based in Botswana, and thereafter has been visiting the main areas multiple times each year), wildlife numbers have declined by 50-60% in the past 20 years.

 

When we were in Savuti in 2011 it was indeed very wet, so that must have been a factor too.



#16 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:27 PM

That's a dire shame. Hopefully the hunting bans and improvements in conservation will reverse some of the damage in in coming years.


"What, no hyaena pictures?"


#17 optig

optig

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,839 posts
  • Local time: 05:47 AM
  • Gender:Male
  • Category 1:Resident in Africa/Former resident
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 05:37 PM

The hunting bans in Botswana, and Zambia are myths because hunting still continues in private game farms. One only has to put hunting in google to see that it is continuing in both countries. I don't want to get into my opinion of it here.



#18 russell

russell

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 1,461 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Category 1:Wildlife Photographer/Artist
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:04 PM

@optig

Yes, where it should be noted that the animals are privately owned and some distance from national parks. The properties must also be fenced.

Whilst it is easy to blame hunting and poaching, you also have to consider the serious impact of the dry spell Botswana experienced upto 2010. These natural cycles will have also played a significant in game viewing.
  • Rwenzori likes this

Au revior ST - its been a pleasure, see you in 2015!


#19 Paolo

Paolo

    Order of the Pith

  • Members
  • 3,883 posts
  • Local time: 03:47 PM
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 06:22 PM

@Big_Dog

I believe that trophy hunting (whilst a non transparent industry in Botswana) has had very little role to play in the decline of Botswana's wildlife, which has particularly affected ungulates such buffalo, wildebeest (you seldom see a wildebeest herd in the Okavango these days), roan, sable etc... I am not saying it did necessarily have a positive effect either, though in those years when wildlife numbers were higher trophy hunting was much bigger than it has been in the past few years previous to the ban.

I would say that overall hunting (with probably the exception of lions) has been quite a neutral factor.

Main culprits have been loss of habitat, cordon fences, human/wildlife conflicts. Maybe even the growth of elephant population has been detrimental to other species.

And I would not bet my house that we have always been told the true story about poaching in Botswana.

#20 Big_Dog

Big_Dog

    Advanced Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 682 posts
  • Local time: 01:47 PM
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Great Britain
  • Category 1:Tourist (regular visitor)
  • Category 2:---

Posted 27 May 2014 - 09:35 PM

That is very depressing to know the most easily controlled threat is the most neutral...

I imagine cordon fences are very severe. To my knowledge habitat loss isn't as severe as in other areas and Botswana has a comparativley small population. The Owens and Estes reported in particular what a severe affect fences would have on wildebeest.


"What, no hyaena pictures?"






© 2006 - 2016 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.

Welcome guest to Safaritalk.
Please Register or Login to use the full facilities.