Saturday, February 24, 2007

Afro Trek Safaris To Chobe

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park is divided into four main focal points. The Chobe Riverfront with floodplains and teak forests; Savute Marsh in the South West; the Linyanti Swamps in the North West and the hot, dry hinterland in between.

The Chobe National Park covers 10,000 sq. km., which is about 4,000 sq. metres and one of the major features is the elephant population. The Chobe elephant comprise part of what is probably the largest surviving continuous elephant population, which covers most of northern Botswana plus northwestern Zimbabwe and is estimated to be well over 100,000 strong. The Chobe elephants are migratory making seasonal movements of up to 200 km. from the Chobe and Linyanti river systems, where they concentrate in the dry seasons.

Game viewing is at its best during the dry months of May through to September, when the majority of natural pans have dried up and the game concentrates around the permanent water sources. Most wildlife activity occurs along the banks of the Chobe River. Hippos bathe, crocodiles sun themselves and wildebeest, zebra and buffalo gambol freely.

The buffalo herds are invariably accompanied by attendant lions, which can result in, the much sought after viewing of a lion kill. Sadly, such a sight in Chobe these days may have to be shared with many other tourists in game viewing vehicles (most of these vehicles now fitted with radios for communication with each other), gridlock could be experienced. However, maybe the awe of the spectacle outweighs any distraction from other game viewing vehicles in the immediate vicinity, some may not agree.

Many baboons and the elusive Chobe bushbuck can be spotted along the riverbank. Not to be missed by party animals is the afternoon boat9or booze) cruises available from most of the riverside lodges in Kasane. The Chobe riverfront offers beautiful scenery and stunning, dramatic sunsets.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Best Time to Safari in Botswana

The Best of Times - Botswana

Each period of the year offers different highlights, though May through to October / November are the months offering the best general wildlife viewing opportunities. The drier months result in better game viewing as the animals are forced to visit the fewer remaining water holes and pans in order to drink each day.

The predators merely have to wait at these water sources, being fewer in the drier months and therefore more crowded, for the animals to approach and commence drinking. For the wildlife enthusiast with limited time to spend, the period June to November is the wisest choice of times to go on safari in the Okavango Delta or Moremi Game Reserve.

In May, the flood waters from Angola are still making their slow and deliberate progress through the Okavango Delta. The rains have now ended, the nights are significantly cooler with temperatures averaging around 15 Celsius (60 Far) and day temperatures peaking at just over 30 Celsius (90 Far).

Breeding herds of elephant increase in density as they visit the perennial rivers of the Okavango, Chobe and Kwando. The seasonal pans begin to dry up. The lush greens, so evident in the wet season, begin to fade quickly into the duller dry season colours, allowing the predators to take full advantage of the fact that their coats now blend in with their surroundings again. The migrating birds commence their annual flights to winter feeding and breeding grounds in distant lands.

In June, temperatures reach their lowest, night temperatures towards the months end can drop to below zero (32 Far) but day temperatures still hit around 30Celsius (75 Far ) . Dry and dusty conditions now dominate with pans and water holes now resulting in the animals drinking at permanent water sources, closely followed by the predators

However, the wet months of December through to March offer other spectacular highlights which should not be overlooked. Obviously the vegetation at this time of year is rich with lush green growth evident everywhere.

Many of the antelope family have young ones during this period to take advantage of these nutritious grasses for grazing. This again offers predators rich pickings - these very young antelopes being easy prey for lion, cheetah, leopard or wild dog. For the birding enthusiasts the wet months can be a delight with many males of the various species displaying their full breeding plumage.