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Savute

Savute

Savute – the place where lion prides predate elephants in times of drought with many acclaimed film documentaries having been made in this south west corner of Chobe National Park.

Savute is special, wild and remote with almost a desert like landscape.  Fly in safaris mean Savute is accessible for the lucky few and the game viewing is exceptional.  It boasts several prides of lion including coalitions of dominant males, packs of wild dog, clans of hunting spotted hyena, large herds of buffalo, there are estimates of 30,000 elephants and cheetah are occasional visitors. Smaller mammals such as bat eared foxes make their dens on the dry plains.  During the rainy summer season, Savute hosts the annual zebra and wildebeest migration when vast numbers arrive to graze on the fresh sweet grasses.

Superb camps deliver an excellent wildlife experience in the Savute Marsh with some overlooking the Savute channel which has a history of drying up and flowing again. Savute means “Unpredictable – Something that cannot be explained” – and refers to the history of the Savute channel, flowing like a river into the Savute Marsh. and then, without warning or reason, drying up again.

It is also well worth making a trip to the Gubatsaa hills formed 980 million years ago during volcanic movement and rising 90 metres high out of a completely flat landscape.  Here you will see the rock paintings created by the nomadic San people and perhaps even spot a leopard in the rocky outcrops.

 

at a glance

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Introduction

Recognised as a principal game viewing area situated in the south west of Chobe National Park, Savute is a paradise of water and grassland encircled by Botswana’s extensive wilderness. Home to a range of terrains and interesting landscapes, the Savute Channel is the dominant feature, linking the Linyanti swamp and the Savute marsh with flat grasslands and lush river floodplains of the Mababe Depression which are ideal environments for wildlife to thrive in. In this area of contrast, some of the most thrilling wildlife interactions in Africa take place. As game does not disperse during the wet season, this enables good wildlife sightings all year round, which are primarily seen on game drives. The hills display evidence of early hunter-gatherers’ rock art, which archaeologists have studied alongside the famous Okavango’s Tsodilo Hills.

Often described as one of the best wildlife viewing area in Africa, Savute is home to the majority of big game species which largely accumulate around three main waterholes within the reserve. Every year, huge migratory herds of elephant, zebra and impala travel through Savuti on their trip south and accumulate near water sources. In the wet season, buffalo and wildebeest are often seen grazing on the marshes, in contrast to the dry season when tsessebe, Oryx and kudu populate the mopane woodlands and giraffe cluster around acacia trees on the edge of the marsh. Lions are often seen lying in the sun; however packs of spotted hyena are one of the most common and successful predators of the region. Leopards are plentiful in the rocky kopjes habitats. Possibly the most unique species to the area are the rare klipspringers; a small species of antelope which primarily reside on the Qumxhwaa Hill.

The area’s extensive range of vegetation supports an abundance of birdlife. Over 300 species inhabit the area including the rare Marico flycatcher, pennant-winged nightjars and crimson boubou capped wheatears. Amazing spectacles of the skies are huge flocks of quelea in their thousands. The acacia woodlands attract racket-tailed rollers and outstanding displays of male broad-tailed paradise whydahs in breeding plumage between February and April. In contrast, the open plains are populated with lonesome secretary birds, kori bustards and Carmine Bee Eaters. Ostriches can often be seen here, along with white storks which congregate during the summer.

When To Visit

The dry season is May to October, whilst the wet season is November to April. As only game drives are conducted in Savuti, the best time for wildlife viewing is during the dry season, when animals congregate along the channel and visibility is excellent. Birding is best during the summer as migrant species have arrived.

January to April – Migration time peaks by March, where the greatest populations of Zebra, Buffalo and Elephant are present. March and April represent peak birthing season. This offers spectacular predator-prey viewings as the herbivore populations attract lion, hyena and leopard. This is also the best time for birding, as many species hitch rides with migrating mammals during these months. Many species are in full breeding plumage between February and April which offers spectacular sights. Ostriches and storks become regular sighting during these summer months. By early March, migratory species start to migrate north to the Linyanti.

May and June – This period marks the transition from warm wet summer to cool dry winter. The pans begin to dry up and animals begin to accumulate around waterholes and the Savuti Channel by late June.

July to October – This is the peak of the dry season, and most popular time to visit. Elephants are the dominant species around waterholes, along with tsessebe and oryx. Game drives are the only form of excursion offered in Savuti at this time. September and October can be extremely hot, but game viewing is very rewarding as predators congregate around waterholes. Humidity and temperatures are at their peak (40°C max) by the end of October/early November.

November and December – The rains begin to arrive in the form of light showers in November, at which times animals make their way to grassy pastures. Thousands of zebra and buffalo begin to migrate south from the Linyanti through to the Savuti grasslands of the Mababe Depression.

Temperature & Rainfall

N Botswana temperature chartN BOTSWANA RAINFALL CHART

Savute Highlights

Rock Paintings

Rock Paintings

Rock Paintings

Visit to the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills – a small hilly outcrop which forms a ...

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Rock Paintings

Rock Paintings

Visit to the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills – a small hilly outcrop which forms a prominent landmark in the otherwise flat landscape.

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Savuti Prides

Savuti Prides

Savuti Prides

The lion prides in Savute are famous for their unique hunting habits. In the harsh conditions of ...

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Savuti Prides

Savuti Prides

The lion prides in Savute are famous for their unique hunting habits. In the harsh conditions of the dry season lions will take down young elephants.

Photo credit: Mike Myers

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Zebra Migration

Zebra Migration

Zebra Migration

The little known second largest Zebra migration is a must for visitors. The best times to ...

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Zebra Migration

Zebra Migration

The little known second largest Zebra migration is a must for visitors. The best times to experience this is between November or December when zebra migrate south to the grasslands of Mababe Depression. By February they start to head north again.

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Waterhole Game Viewing

Waterhole Game Viewing

Waterhole Game Viewing

Hides are great for photographing elephants up close. Lodge decks give a great vantage point to ...

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Waterhole Game Viewing

Waterhole Game Viewing

Hides are great for photographing elephants up close. Lodge decks give a great vantage point to watch them as they come in to drink at the waterhole and the savute channel when flowing.

Photo credit: Mike Myers

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Luxury Mobile Camps

Luxury Mobile Camps

Luxury Mobile Camps

A fully serviced luxury camp This is a true African experience, with fully serviced luxury camps in ...

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Luxury Mobile Camps

Luxury Mobile Camps

A fully serviced luxury camp This is a true African experience, with fully serviced luxury camps in remote areas where guests can expect to see few other people or vehicles.

Photo credit: andbeyond

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Birdlife

Birdlife

Birdlife

Kori Bustards and Secretary Birds are spectacular to see - often found strutting on the open plains ...

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Birdlife

Birdlife

Kori Bustards and Secretary Birds are spectacular to see – often found strutting on the open plains of the Savute Marsh.

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camps & lodges

Camp Savuti

Camp Savuti

Camp Savuti is located in the Northern part of Savuti Marsh along the famous Savuti Channels with all the tents over looking the water system flowing ... Read More

Savute Safari Lodge

Savute Safari Lodge

Savute Safari Lodge is situated in the south west of the world-famous Chobe National Park, overlooking the Savute Channel.   To ensure a ... Read More

Savute Under Canvas

Savute Under Canvas

Savute Under Canvas is a private semi-mobile safari camp, located in the Savute corner of the game-rich Chobe National Park.   Using secluded ... Read More