History of Chobe

The Chobe Game Reserve is one of the world's most famous national parks. It is where Elizabeth Taylor married Richard Burton for a second time, and is home to a high concentration of African wildlife.

Around 1911 the original inhabitants of the area were called the Basarwa. This group of people was of San descent, and they were hunter-gatherers who lived by moving from one area to another in search of water, wild fruits and wild animals. Over the years they were joined by the Basubia and Sekgona people.

When the land was divided up into different tenures by the colonial administration late in the last century, the vast majority of the area formerly classified as belonging to the crown became the Chobe National Park.

In 1931 the ideology of creating a national park came about with the idea of preserving the indigenous wildlife and creating a sustainable initiative by attempting to promote tourism to the Chobe region.

The following years 24 000 square kilometres within the Chobe district was designated as a no-hunting area and was further expanded in 1932 to an area 31 600 square kilometres in size.The unfortunate Tsetse fly infestation in 1943 meant that the whole idea was abandoned. It was only in 1957 that the national park project was proposed and the area was reduced to 21 000 square kilometres and eventually became the Chobe Game Reserve in 1960.However it was only in 1967 when the reserve was officially declared as the first national park in Botswana, primarily due to the large settlement situated in Serondela. These people were moved out of the park in 1980 and 1987, and the boundaries were altered to increase the size of the park to its present size.
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