Travel to Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park

The Chobe National Park, which is the second largest national park in Botswana and covers 6,565 square miles, has one of the greatest concentrations of game found on the African continent. Its uniqueness in the abundance of wildlife and the true African nature of the region, offers a safari experience of a lifetime.
 
A major feature of Chobe National Park is its elephant population. First of all, the Chobe elephant comprise part of what is probably the largest surviving continuous elephant population. This population covers most of northern Botswana plus northwestern Zimbabwe. The Botswana’s elephant population is currently estimated at around 120,000.

Kasane is the main city in this region.

Overview

Botswana is one of the touristic jewels of Africa.  In addition to an abundance of natural beauty, shortly after achieving democratic rule from the British in 1966, three of the world’s richest diamond-bearing formations were discovered there. This has led to a high standard of economic stability, education and health care. Despite this, much of the country remains remote - a destination for the intrepid and relatively high end traveler.

People

The term “Batswana” refers to the ethnic group of people who speak the Setswana language and share the Sotho-Tswana culture, while in its common contemporary usage, it refers to all citizens of the Republic of Botswana, regardless of their ethnic background. The singular is “Motswana”: a citizen of the country. “Tswana” is used as an adjective - for example “Tswana state” or “Tswana culture”.

Language

The national language is Setswana however the official language is English.

History

Batswana, a term also used to denote all citizens of Botswana, refers to the country’s major ethnic group (the “Tswana” in South Africa), which came into the area from South Africa during the Zulu wars of the early 1800s. Prior to European contact, the Batswana lived as herders and farmers under tribal rule.

In the 19th century, hostilities broke out between the Batswana and Boer settlers from the Transvaal. After appeals by the Batswana for assistance, the British Government in 1885 put “Bechuanaland” under its protection. The northern territory remained under direct administration and is today’s Botswana, while the southern territory became part of the Cape Colony and is now part of the northwest province of South Africa; the majority of Setswana-speaking people today live in South Africa.

In June 1964, Britain accepted proposals for democratic self-government in Botswana. The seat of government was moved from Mafikeng, in South Africa, to newly-established Gaborone in 1965. The 1965 constitution led to the first general elections and to independence in September 1966. General elections serve to elect members of parliament, and the presidential candidate from the party that wins the most seats in the general election becomes the president. Seretse Khama, a leader in the independence movement and the legitimate claimant to traditional rule of the Bamangwato, became the country’s first president, was re-elected twice, and died in office in 1980. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Ketumile Masire, who was elected in his own right in 1984 and re-elected in 1989 and 1994. Masire retired from office in 1998. The presidency passed to the sitting vice president, Festus Mogae, who was elected in his own right in 1999. Mogae won a second term in elections held October 30, 2004 and stepped down in accordance with national term limits on March 31, 2008. On April 1, 2008 former Vice President Ian Khama assumed the presidency. Khama was elected as President in his own right during the general election held on October 16, 2009.

Travel Guide

Currency

The currency in Botswana is the Pula (P) which is made up of 100 Thebe.  Pula means ‘rain’ in Setswana while thebe means ‘shield’ in Setswana.

Time Difference

9 hours ahead of Los Angeles
6 hours ahead of New York

Best Time to Travel

Game viewing is at its peak during the dry winter months of May to October when animals reliably concentrate at year round water sources. In particular, many experts regard the cooler months of June to August as the best time of year for a Botswana safari - the game viewing is consistently excellent, there’s virtually no rain and the weather is comfortable.  Prices are at their highest during these prime months.
Wildlife disperses and becomes harder to locate when the rains begin in January through April. However, several destinations such as Chobe’s Savute region and the Kalahari offer excellent game viewing at this time. One reason is that they lie on the path of migrating animals – such as zebra.
A year-round birding destination, bird watchers will find the migrant-filled summer months of the rainy season the best time to visit Botswana for both numbers and diversity of species.
December is a particularly good month as many antelope give birth then which means more predators come around to hunt.

Weather

Summer is from November to the end of March and usually brings very high temperatures. It is also the rainy season and cloud coverage and rain can cool things down, although only usually for a short period of time.
The winter season begins in May and ends in August. This is also the dry season when virtually no rainfall occurs. Winter days are invariably sunny and cool to warm; however, evening and night temperatures can drop below freezing point in some areas.
The in-between periods - April/early May and September/October - still tend to be dry, but the days are cooler than in summer and the nights are warmer than in winter.
Summers (particularly from December through to February) can become exceptionally hot, and rain may make some roads muddy and impassable.

What to Wear

Layers are best - you will be in open, moving vehicles before sunrise and after sunset, so even in summer it will be cool. Jackets, caps and gloves also recommended year round.

Health Requirements

No vaccinations or medications are currently required for entry to Botswana from the United States.

Africa Answers is unable to give personalized medical advice and requests that travelers contact their travel clinic regarding recommended medications.

Visa Requirements

A passport with at least six months of validity remaining is required. U.S. citizens are permitted stays up to 90 days total within a 12 month period without a visa. Passports must have 2 blank visa pages available.

Tipping & Porterage

Tipping guidelines will be issued with final documents.

Credit Cards

International Visa and MasterCard are usually accepted throughout Botswana but American Express and Diners Club are often not accepted.

Electrical Appliances

220-240 volts AC, 50Hz.

Water

The country’s tap water is safe to drink. Most supermarkets, shops, camps and lodges also have bottled water available. When road traveling it is recommended to carry sufficient water at all times.

Destinations

Explore the rest of our Botswana destinations:

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This Destination

Chobe National Park

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