In such a wild area, you never know what you might see around the next corner, and when you aren’t exploring on game drives, even just enjoying the view from the sunken viewing bench of the lodge’s waterholes can bring some wonderful sightings.
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When people think of Chobe National Park, they might imagine its bustling riverfront in the north, which in peak season can be as full of visitors as it is with wildlife. However, this park is vast, the third largest in Botswana, and the country's first to be designated in 1967. It is thought to accommodate the largest herds of elephants in the World, and a diverse mix of other herbivores, predators and birdlife can be found in this varied ecosystem.
The Savute area is dominated by the mysterious Savute Channel, which runs from the Linyanti River further west and forms the Savute Marsh. The hydrology of this channel and the factors influencing its flow seem to be independent of rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere, somewhat mystifying experts and local inhabitants alike.
In the dry season, this area can promise fantastic wildlife viewing, and Savute Safari Lodge has two pumper waterholes in front of the lodge, which attract large numbers of elephants, particularly in the morning and evening.
This area is also famous for its predator populations, from large pride of lions specialising in attacking elephants (as documented in the BBC Natural World programme - Africa’s Giant Killers) to leopards who have picked up a usual fishing skill to exploit catfish caught in the drying channels.
The second largest zebra migration in Africa also passes through this region on its way south to the Great Salt Pans, and although the exact timing depends on the rains, typically, it is between November and December and then again between February and March.
Whenever you decide to travel, this camp works well in an itinerary with Savute Safari Lodge's sister properties, such as Camp Moremi, located in the Moremi Game Reserve.
Overlooking the Savute Channel and two waterholes, Savute Safari Lodge is a fairly permanent feeling lodge built using local timber and furnished throughout in neutral tones to blend in with the surrounding environment.
The main area and 11 thatched chalets certainly have more of a lodge feel than a safari lodge feel, with the use of sliding glass doors, for example, at the front of each chalet which opens up onto the private deck.
In the main area, there is a beautiful swimming pool and sundeck that overlook the waterholes as well as an alfresco dining area, a fire pit, lounges and the sunken viewing bench, which offers the best views for any visitors to the waterholes.
Activities from Savute Safari Lodge focus on game drives in the Savute region of Chobe National Park in open 4x4 safari vehicles, as this is a national park, walking safaris, night drives and driving off-road are not permitted. There is also a fascinating added cultural element that can be experienced in this region, and that is a visit to Gubatsa Hills, which is a prominent rocky outcrop in an otherwise flat landscape and contains ancient San rock paintings.
The facilities at Savute Safari Lodge include a swimming pool, eleven thatched chalets (including a family chalet), a library lounge, multiple dining areas, a fire pit and extensive views of the surrounding landscape.
All meals and house drinks are normally included in the room rate, and dining is usually done communally at either the indoor dining area or the alfresco deck. Private dining can also be requested.
The operator behind Savute Safari Lodge is one of the leading safari operators in Botswana, and at the heart of its philosophy is an initiative termed CARES, which summarises the effort and emphasis they put on sustainability and responsible travel. This stands for; C- career and community, A- advanced health care, R- responsibility to our environment, E- equality in the workplace, and S- soul and spirituality.