Whether arriving by air or road, the first glimpse of the river - deep and dazzling in the sandy terrain - is always breathtaking. It appears as a swathe of brilliant, peacock blue ribbon, winding its way through the tiny town of Kasane, and ensuing wilderness - the Chobe National Park.
Undoubtedly one of Africa's most beautiful rivers, the Chobe supports a diversity and concentration of wildlife unparalled anywhere else in the country.
Established in 1968, the park covers approximately 11 7 00 sq kms, encompassing floodplains, swamps and woodland. The Chobe River forms its northern boundary. There are four distinct geographical areas in the park: the Chobe Riverfront, the Ngwezumba pans, Savute and Linyanti.
The most accessible and frequently visited of Botswana's big game country, the Chobe Riverfront is most famous for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which during the dry winter months converge upon the river to drink.
During this season, on an afternoon game drive, you may see hundreds of elephants at one time. You may be surrounded by elephants, as the main Serondella road becomes impassable and scores of family herds cross the main road to make their way to the river to drink bathe and play.
Driving the loops that hug the river's edge, you may see up to 15 different species of animals on any one game drive, including waterbuck, lechwe, puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen), giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys and baboons, along with the accompanying predator's lion, leopard, hyena and jackal.
Take a river cruise - and you'll experience the park, and the animals, from another vantage point. Here you'll get up close and personal with hippo, crocodile and a mind-boggling array of water birds.
The Chobe River runs along part of its northern boundary; the Nossob River at its south western boundary; the Molopo River at its southern boundary; and the Marico, Limpopo and Shashe Rivers at its eastern boundaries. With the exceptions of the Okavango and Chobe areas in the north, the country has little permanent surface water.