Kruger National Park borders Mozambique in the east and Zimbabwe in the north. It was declared a National Park in 1926. Its surface area is 19 633² km about 10% smaller than Etosha. Accessible from OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg it takes 5 hours by car to its nearest gate. There is an airport at Nelspruit and smaller airstrips in and around the park. Ideal for self-drive holidays it requires no 4×4 vehicles as the main roads are tarred and all secondary roads are well maintained gravel roads. Entrance and accommodation suits most pockets at many campsites although there are also many private, exclusive lodges around the park. Wildlife viewing is ideal at waterholes and river pools during the southern winter to spring months from July to October when many of the animals have offspring. The northern parts consist of thicker bush with big trees including the Baobab and elephants are in abundance.
Kruger is Big Five country
Kruger is also Big Five country and often offers surprise road crossings of herds of Elephants, Buffaloes and buck around the “next corner”. Tourists are visiting the south more often due to its abundance of buck and lions. Kruger’s booking system, large amounts of literature that is available and better sign posting makes it easier for tourists to plan their own day outings.
The Chobe National Park is located in Botswana’s north eastern district. It became officially a national park in 1967. It is similar in size to Kruger, Etosha and Serengeti. The Chobe River forms the park’s northern border. When in flood the Zambezi River pushes the Chobe River back to where it links with the Linyanti River to form a huge natural wetland. It is flanked in the south west by the Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve. Kasane airport allows for connecting flights to some of the Chobe’s best wildlife destinations in Botswana. From its north-east entry gate its 70 km to the Victoria Falls and Livingstone. The park divides into 4 distinct ecosystems: Serondela or Chobe riverfront area situated in the extreme northeast of the park; Savuti Marsh area, constitutes the western stretch of the park and is fed by the erratic Savuti Channel which dries up for long periods and then curiously flows again; extensive savannahs and rolling grasslands which makes wildlife particularly dynamic and Linyanti Marsh, located at the Northwest corner of the park and north of Savuti.
Grasslands which makes wildlife particularly dynamic
Access to the park is strictly by 4×4 vehicle and one needs to be prepared to get stuck in the sand at times during the dry season. There are a number of highly rated but expensive Safari lodges in and near Chobe, in Botswana and the Zambian and Zimbabwean sides. Camping sites are true wilderness camps with wildlife right at one’s doorstep, often with no fencing, allowing elephants, lion, hyena and buck unhindered access during the day and night. The elephant population is about 50,000, the largest of any national park in Africa, many of which migrate in the wet season 200km to the south-east of the park. Birdlife is unrivalled with over 450 species. Ancient San (Bushman) paintings can be found inside rocky hills of the park. In contrast with almost any other national park Chobe offers a wonderful variety of wildlife experiences from chartered flights to Chobe Safari Lodge on an island, staying overnight on the Chobe Princess river boat to explore the Chobe waterways, undertake self-drive tented or ranger-guided safaris in the dry seasons into areas where close lion and elephant encounters are inevitable. Chobe is often described as a paradise for wildlife photographers. Prices are more expensive than Kruger and in line with that of Serengeti.