The area is marshy due to the fact that it once contained a very large lake. Many years ago, plate movements beneath this lake caused its main supply of water to be cut off, but it continued to be fed by a channel, named the Savute Channel.
The Savute Channel is described as mysterious, as it alternates seemingly at random between flowing freely and drying up. Geologists explain that this too is because of plate movements. Since January 2010, the channel has been flowing, but the hundreds of dead trees lining its banks are a reminder that it has experienced much drier times. For example, it was dry from 1880 until 1957 – and more movement beneath the Earth’s surface might well bring about another drought in future years.
Today, in 2017, camelthorn sandveld sprawls either side of the channel. Beyond that lies savanna, providing great grazing for herbivores such as elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, tsessebe, and kudu. Excitingly, the green season witnesses the migration of thousands of zebra from northern Botswana! This is a truly spectacular sight.
The impressive concentrations of herbivores attract a lot of big cats to the area – lion, leopard, and cheetah – and you can also expect to see other predators such as hyena and wild dog. There are over 450 bird species too, including the secretary bird, the kori bustard, the red-billed francolin, and, in April, vast flocks of quelea finch.
At some of the area’s camps and lodges, guests are invited to visit ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills, a small outcrop that forms a striking feature within the flat landscape.
We think this wildlife-rich area of Chobe is well worth a visit. Please take a look at our property pages and get in touch with a member of our team to start planning your Savute safari!