The Savute Marsh area of Chobe 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 the Savute Channel. The Savute Channel flows seemingly at random, alternating between flowing freely and drying up. Geologists explain that this too is because of plate movements. In January 2010, the channel started flowing again before the area’s water level dropped once more – and the channel now runs dry in its fossil form. The hundreds of dead trees lining the channel’s banks are a reminder that it has experienced much drier times. For example, it was dry from 1880 until 1957 – and further movement beneath the Earth’s surface might well bring about another drought in future years.
Today, camelthorn sandveld sprawls either side of the channel. The much larger surrounding area ranges from dense mopane woodland to wide savanna, providing great grazing for herbivores such as elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, tsessebe, and kudu. Excitingly, the green season witnesses the migration of hundreds of zebra from northern Botswana! This is a somewhat unpredictable but truly spectacular sight.
Wildlife in Savute
Dereck and Beverly Joubert’s filming of the amazing duels between lion and buffalo in the Savute region helped the area’s tourism, but the impressive lion pride shown in the films has since disbanded. Nevertheless, the area retains impressive concentrations of herbivores that attract plenty of big cats – lion, leopard, and cheetah. 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 part 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!