The Chobe National Park is the second largest national park in Botswana. Located in the north of the country, it boasts of Africa’s highest concentration of elephants and is not to be missed by anyone interested in elephants and other big game. Furthermore the park has a very rich and diverse concentration of animals like; lion, buffalo, zebra, leopard, puku, oribi, roan, sable antelopes, tsessebe, impala,eland, kudu,waterbuck, reed buck, lechwe and Chobe bushbuck, and many others. The bird life is no less profuse with sightings of species like Pel’s Fishing Owl, Carmine bee eaters, ground hornbill, African skimmer, African finfoot, halfcollard kingfisher, malachite kingfisher almost guaranteed. Some of the species are near endemic to the area.
Chobe Celebrity History. The Chobe National Park is certainly a park not to miss for nature lovers visiting Botswana. It makes it into the list of Patricia Schultz's 1000 places to see before you die travel guide book. It was the place where Hollywood celebrity Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor remarried in 1975. This is how the BBC then captured the event;
' Liz Taylor and Richard Burton remarry.
"Actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor have secretly remarried in Africa only 16 months after getting divorced. The couple who split last year after nearly 10 years of marriage were reconciled in August and have been enjoying a second honeymoon in Chobe Game Park in Botswana. The couple first met when they were starring in the film, Cleopatra, in Rome, when their onscreen romance quickly turned into an off-screen love affair.They married in 1964. Richard Burton was her fifth husband, she was his second wife.They arrived in Johannesburg in September ostensibly to attend a charity celebrity tennis tournament. They then flew by private jet to the Rhodesian border near Victoria Falls where they were met and driven to the Chobe Game Lodge. The private wedding ceremony was conducted by African district commissioner Ambrose Masalila and witnessed by the manager of the game lodge where they were staying, Fred Knoessen, and Brian Graham, who runs tours from the lodge. Mr Masalila said: "The bride wore green, with lace frills and guinea fowl feathers."Champagne toast Burton was in a red shirt, white trousers and red socks. The simple service, which took just 20 minutes to perform, was held at 1530 local time in Mr Masalila's office in the remote village of Kasane. The couple exchanged rings and held hands and later they asked Mr Masalila to join them for a champagne toast on the banks of the Chobe river. He said: "They looked very excited but composed. I don't think they had a party afterwards because I think they would have invited me if they had. They are very nice people."The Burton’s stay at Chobe exceeded 6 weeks and they were riveted by the spectacular wildlife they encountered while on safari.
The former United States President Bill Clinton and the then First Lady, now Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton also enjoyed themselves in the Chobe National Park in 1988.
Other celebrity visitors were Prince Bernhard of Netherlands and renowned wildlife commentator Roger Attenborough.
What not to miss in Chobe National Park;
1. Boat cruise on the Chobe River, excellent for spectacular sunset views, and watch the fish eagle in action.
2. See Baobab tree that was used as a holding cell (prison) in Kasane.
Highly recommended accommodation for ambience, location, service, history and unforgetableness.
1. Mowana Safari Lodge
2. Chobe Chilwero
How to get there;
By Air. Air Botswana has regular flights from Gaborone, Maun and Johannesburg to Kasane International Airport then a short drive into the Park.
2. By road. From Gaborone take the A1 to Francistown, then take the A3 to Nata and branch into the A33 to Kasane. Its also possible to get to Kasane by regular bus service along this route. Bear in mind that the distances are long, eg Gaborone Francistown 440km, Francistown Kasane 504km.
Where to stay;
Kasane is the main town that is near the Chobe National Park and has a good variety of accommodation facilities, from budget guest houses to luxury hotels fit for royalty and the well heeled. (see the list of accommodation facilities).
For a more thorough and up close and personal tour of the park, there are camping sites at different places, some are developed and some undeveloped. Camping facilities; Serondela developed facility with ablution, Ihaha public campsite.
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