Chobe National Park - Riverfront Area 2015

White-Headed Vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis)


The last stretch took us to Chobe Riverfront, an area I also visited in 2004. From Savuti it was a relatively long and partly bumpy drive. But the stretch along the Chobe River is one of the highlights of northern Botswana. In the dry season animals converge on this stretch of water from the whole of northern Botswana. Elephant and buffalo, especially, form into huge herds for which the park is famous. Here we were going to spend two nights, with a boat trip the second afternoon.

On top of my most anticipated sighting here was two bird species. Especially since we did not see it in Savuti, the most likely place to encounter the species, I hoped to see the White-Headed Vulture here. Secondly, I was also hoping to see the Southern Carmine Bee-Eater, a colorful species common in the region during summer, but rarely seen in the winter. Luckily, the guide was able to find them both.

We also found an old Eland carcass with feeding hyenas and surrounding vultures. So I finally got some photos of the vultures, of which we had encountered surprisingly few earlier. Of the predators, we saw two prides of lion at this location, one on a ridge in the distance, the other one feeding on a deceased elephant. The guide thought anthrax killed the animal, and that it was not the victim of the cats. We also found a freshly deceased buffalo, also presumely an anthrax victim, and went back to it early the next morning expecting lots of predators. But although some animal had fed on the carcass, possibly a lone hyena, there were unfortunately no action there when we reached it about 6.30 the next morning.

The boat trip was great, as we got to see many new bird species, and get out of the car for a while.

White-Headed Vulture


Lappet-Faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotos)

Lappet-Faced Vulture


Lappet-Faced Vulture

Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)


Hooded Vulture


African Harrier Hawk (Polyboroides typus)


Black-Chested Snake-Eagle (Circaetus pectoralis)

White-Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) at the carcass before sunrise


White-Backed Vulture and the Eland

Heading into Chobe National Park



Southern Carmine Bee-Eater (Merops nubicoides). Birds don't come more colorful than this


Southern Carmine Bee-Eater

White-Fronted Bee-Eater (Merops bullockoides)


Swallow-Tailed Bee-Eater (Merops hirundineus)

Purple Roller (Coracias naevius)


Pearl-Spotted Owlet (Glaucidium perlatum)

Some km inland from Chobe River, near where we saw the White-Headed Vulture


Termite mound

Squacco Heron (Ardeola ralloides)


Yellow-Billed Stork (Mycteria ibis)

Green-Backed Heron (Butorides striata)


Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) with catch of the day

Chobe River



Half-Collared Kingfisher (Alcedo semitorquata)


African Spoonbill (Platalea alba)

African Skimmer (Rynchops flavirostris)


African Skimmer

Crowned Lapwing (Vanellus coronatus)


Kittlitz's Plover (Charadrius pecuarius)

Reed Cormorant (Microcarbo africanus)


White-Breasted Cormorant (Phalacrocorax lucidus)

Nesting birds Chobe River


Chobe River with Papyrus

Grey-Headed Gull (Chroicocephalus cirrocephalus ssp. poiocephalus)


Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer)

White-Faced Duck (Dendrocygna viduata)


Marabou Stork (Leptoptilos crumenifer)

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax)


Red-Billed Teal (Anas erythrorhyncha)

Female White-Bellied Sunbird (Cinnyris talatala)


Water Thick-Knee (Burhinus vermiculatus)

Arrow-Marked Babbler (Turdoides jardineii)


Dark-Capped Bulbul (Pycnonotus barbatus tricolor)

Blue Waxbill (Uraeginthus angolensis)


White-Browed Robin-Chat (Cossypha heuglini)

At the old Eland kill


Spotted Hyena (Crocuta crocuta)

Bone-eating Spotted Hyena. Hyena scat is often white of calcium due to their diet


Hyenas feeding in the early hour

Over-eating lion (Panthera leo), feeding on an athrax-dead elephant carcass near Chobe River


Elephant carcass

A Black-Backed Jackal (Canis mesomelas) feeding on what appears to be a Kori Bustard


Chobe River

Burchell's Zebra (Equus quagga burchellii) taking a dust-bath


Drinking South African Giraffe (Giraffa giraffa giraffa)

Buffalo and Puku Antelopes (Kobus vardonii) in the distance on the floodplain


The usual suspects at an old elephant carcass

African Cape Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)


Waterfront buffalo

Typical Chobe Riverfront view


Elephants swimming

African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)


Baby Elephants

Another animal overloaded with oxpeckers. It tried to shake them off, so it was clearly an irritation


Common Sable Antelope (Hippotragus niger niger). Four subspecies are usually recognized: Common Sable Antelope (H. n. niger), Western Zambian Sable Antelope (H. n. kirkii), Roosewelt's Sable Antelope (H. n. roosevelti) and the isolated Giant Sable (H. n. variani) from Angola.

Sunset over Chobe River


Famous red African sunset

Baboons at sunset


Setting sun and Chobe River

Nile Crocodile (Crocodylus niloticus)


Nile Crocodile baby

Nile Croc


Nile Monitor (Varanus niloticus)

Nile Monitor


Rock Monitor (Varanus albigularis)