Chobe National Park: A Photo Essay

I found myself somewhere the other day that I hadn’t been planning: Botswana.  I guess I never realized the ease of crossing borders in this part of Africa.  Before, borders meant three days waiting in a capital.  This border was crossed on a whim. My destination in Boswana was Chobe National Park.were I hitched on with Kalahari Tours for a 2 day safari.  It was essentially a wildlife photographer’s dream location.  When we first entered Chobe National Park, I asked our guide to stop for an elephant I spotted while up on the hill.  He responded with “sure, but we’ll see lots more.”  Still, I didn’t want to risk it and took about 10 snaps of the elephant about a kilometer away.  Over the next two days in Chobe National Park, I would estimate I saw some 500 elephants.  Moreover, we saw dozens of giraffe, loads of hippos, a couple lions, and a wild variety other animals. What I’m showing you here is a mere collection of photos I took while on safari in Chobe National Park.  One could easily spend months shooting the park and not take a single bad image.  I hope you enjoy looking at the photos half as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Chobe National Park

How close do you get to elephants in Chobe National Park? I shot this image with an 18mm wide angle lens. I could have reached out and touched it.

Monitor Lizard, Chobe National Park

This is meant to be a monitor lizard… I’m fairly sure it’s actually a dinosaur. Or a dragon

elephant, mud bath, Chobe National Park

Elephants take baths the exact same way I do… with mud.

There is so much wildlife in Chobe National Park that after a while you aren't satisfied with photos of just one animal.  These are a couple impala hanging out with an elephant

There is so much wildlife in Chobe National Park that after a while you aren’t satisfied with photos of just one animal. These are a couple impala hanging out with an elephant

If you've been following my on twitter @brendanvanson, you'll know how I feel about hippos: #WarOnHippos

If you’ve been following my on twitter @brendanvanson, you’ll know how I feel about hippos: #WarOnHippos

bird and elephant, Chobe National Park

Little meets big

Hippo, Chobe National Park

Oh you fancy, huh? Hippos kill more people than any other any animal in Africa… and for what? They are vegetarians! #WarOnHippos

A couple warring male elephants

A couple young bulls having a bit of a battle on the beach.

Look at the hippos just laying around in the water... get a job already #WarOnHippos

Look at the hippos just laying around in the water… get a job already #WarOnHippos

Baby elephant Chobe National Park

Spot the baby elephant

Chobe National Park

Run Dumbo, run!

Chobe National Park

Cuteness along the Chobe River in Botswana

Sable, Chobe National Park

A male sable, perhaps the coolest of the many antelopes in Chobe.

Lilac-breasted roller, Chobe National Park

This is a lilac-breasted roller, one of the most beautiful birds in Africa

Chobe National Park, camping

The camp in Chobe National Park. No fences here, just you and nature.

impala, Chobe National Park

An impala in the morning light.

water buffalo, Chobe National Park

A herd of water buffalo crossing the river.

Chobe National Park, giraffe

So many giraffe in Chobe.

Chobe National Park

I wanted them to make a heart shape with their necks like in cartoons, but this will do

Chobe National Park

Another lilac-breasted Roller

Chobe National Park, lion

A young lioness waiting to hunt

zebra, Chobe National Park

What’s cooler than a zebra? A baby zebra!

stork, Chobe National Park

I can’t remember the name of this stork, but it was rad. Here it’s stomping through the waters trying to bring fish up from the mud.

Giraffes, Chobe National Park

Jed and Jeff the Giraffes

Baboons, Chobe National Park

Baboons are bastards, but at least they don’t try to act like they’re not. You gotta respect them for staying true to who they are!

Author: Brendan van Son

Author: I am a travel writer and photographer from Alberta, Canada. Over my years as a travel photographer, I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and more countries than I have any desire to count. If you want to improve your skills, be sure to check out my travel photography channel on Youtube . Also, check out my profile on . to learn a little bit more about me and my work.

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  1. Classic set photos. In fact the best I have seen so far. The first photo of the elephants are very close indeed.

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    • Thanks Shalu, loved Chobe, would love to go back and photograph it again.

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  2. Tremendous pics! What an adventure!

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    • Thanks Pat, although Chobe does deserve most the credit!

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  3. Seriously awesome photos! You’re making me want to get on the next plane to Botswana.

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    • Take it Jim, Chobe was brilliant and has been the whole region!

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  4. Chapeau Brendan! Magnificent photos.

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    • Thanks for the hat Colleen, I lost mine the other day!

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  5. Looks like an incredible part of the world complimented more so by cute looking animals. I find that not knowing what’s going on is such a gift. Just to be there and totally present. Thanks for sharing I’d love to go there sometime!
    I’m planning on visiting the Africa at the end of the year. Now I know what to expect!

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    • Thanks Jacob, and good luck with Africa it’s such a great and diverse place.

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  6. Looks amazing – I think any photographer who loves wildlife even a little bit would have Africa fairly high on their list of places to go, although I have to admit I’d never considered Botswana before. I will now…

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    • Yeah JP. Actually, Botswana might have the best wildlife photography options in Africa. Not only do you have Chobe National Park but the Okavango Delta as well!

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  7. beautiful photographs! love the baby elephant poking up out of the water. very intrigued by botswana now.

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    • Thanks Eva, if you do go you’ll have to give Chobe a shot. Lots of baby elephants like this around there 😀

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  8. Incredible shots. I like how you feature some of the big 5 as well as some of the beautiful birds and other animals. I am going to check out the war on hippos hashtag.

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    • Thanks Ted, and just so you know… the war on hippos is a serious movement, only for serious people.

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  9. How awesome are elephants?! Great photos, Brendan. Makes me want to get back to Africa.

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    • Go back brother! It’s amazing down here. There are so many elephants in Chobe. Literally, you’re constantly surrounded by them.

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