Wildlife at Chobe Under Canvas
Renowned as one of the top wilderness reserves in the world, Chobe National Park is home to the largest concentration of elephant on the African continent. The vast elephant population has had a significant impact on the park, thinning out the dense riverine thickets on the banks of the Chobe River. The huge bulk of these majestic animals requires almost 150 kg of fodder each day, with grass, leaves or even tree branches making up their diet. Elephant herds rely upon their matriarch to lead them to the best feeding and water sites, with individuals seldom straying from each other and ready to come to the aid of a family member who is in trouble.
Chobe also boasts two antelopes rarely encountered elsewhere in Botswana - the puku and the Chobe bushbuck. The puku, with their shaggy orange-brown coats and V-shaped horns, can be spotted grazing the floodplains. Always on the lookout for predators, a repetitive whistle is used to warn fellow herd members. In contrast, the Chobe bushbuck is nocturnal and rarely forms groups of more than one pair. Rarely seen, this shy antelope, with its short, spiral horns relies on a sharp bark as an alarm call when threatened. Both the puku and the bushbuck have a number of predators to contend with, from lion, hyena and leopard, to African wild dog, civet and caracal.
With an incredible wealth of species, Chobe is a haven for birding enthusiasts. Striking colonies of carmine bee-eaters build their nests in the exposed sandy banks of the river. Water birds, including many species of duck and the rare red-billed pratincole can be spotted in their thousands, and guinea fowl and francolin dart through the grasses on the river’s edge. A quintessential African sound, the haunting call of the fish eagle can often be heard echoing over the Chobe River. With their striking chestnut and white colours, these intensely territorial birds challenge competitors to regular calling duets.