Guests per Safari Vehicle
Savute Safari Lodge is set along the Savute Channel stretching from the Linyanti River all the way to Savute Marsh. All nestled within the Chobe National Park this riverside paradise offers great game viewing opportunities and an escape from your everyday life. The Savute Channel is known for being very fickle and unpredictable, featuring a fascinating history of flooding and drying up, independently of good rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere. It has mystified local inhabitants, geologists and others for many years.
When David Livingstone, the first European to visit the area, saw the Savute Channel in 1851 it was flowing. Thirty years later it had disappeared and the Savute Marsh had dried out, remaining this way for almost 80 years. It flowed again from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, when it again receded, hence its reputation as ‘the river that flows in both directions.
In 2009, after another extended hiatus, the channel began flowing again and by January 2010 had spilled into the Savute Marsh for the first time in three decades, but for how long – no one knows.
Savute Safari Lodge offers a private and relaxing environment and accommodates up to 24 guests. The accommodation is set on elevated thatched chalets built of local timber and one family room which consists of two double bedrooms. All chalets feature elegant furnishings with a calm and neutral tone that blend with the natural environment. The expansive private decks connect the accommodation and boast a combined bedroom and lounge area with en-suite facilities.
Relaxation is the order of the day at Savute. At the end of the day sink into one of the numerous comfortable leather, wood or wicker sofas in the lounge, library or bar. All facilities are situated upon the shaded viewing deck coupled with an alfresco dining area and swimming pool. From the swimming pool, you can watch numerous wildlife pass through the channel.
All activities are organised around game drives throughout the Savute area in open 4×4 safari vehicles. Game drives at Savute are definitely a bucket-list activity as the guides incorporate a visit to the Savute Marsh to give you a chance to see the historic presence of the Savute Channel with a background of teeming wildlife. For those seeking a more historic adventure, visit the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills – a small hilly outcrop that forms a prominent landmark in the otherwise flat landscape.
Within the Savute you will find the second-largest summer Zebra migration in Africa. The timing is determined by the rains but generally occurs between November and December, and then again in February and April. The Zebras move from the rivers in the north in search of the rain-ripe grasslands and full waterholes in the southwest of the park. The migration is always followed by large numbers of predators – making it a spectacular adventure
Northern Botswana contains a bounty of odd hydrographic phenomena. For instance, the Selinda Spillway passes water back and forth between the Okavango Delta and Linyanti Marshes. Just as odd, when the Zambezi River is particularly high, the Chobe River reverses the direction of its flow, causing it to spill into the area around Lake Liambezi. Historically, there was also a channel between the Khwai River system in the Okavango Delta and the Savuti Marshes.
But the strangest phenomenon of all is perhaps the Savuti Channel, which links the Savuti Marshes with the Linyanti Marshes and – via the Selinda Spillway – the Okavango Delta. Most confounding is the seeming complete lack of rhyme or reason to the flow of the channel. At times it will stop flowing for years at a stretch. As of 2016 the Savuti Channel was again dry and the Savuti Marshes likewise.
When flowing, the channel changes the entire ecosystem, creating an oasis that provides water for thirsty wildlife herds and acts as a magnet for a profusion of water birds. Between flows, the end of the channel recedes from the marshes back towards the Chobe River, while at other times the Savuti Marshes flood and expand; as a result, many of the trails shown on many maps were impassable at the time of writing. What’s more, the flow of the channel appears to be unrelated to the water level of the Linyanti–Chobe River system itself. In 1925, when the river experienced record flooding levels, the Savuti Channel remained dry.
According to the only feasible explanation thus far put forward, the phenomenon may be attributed to tectonics. The ongoing northward shift of the Zambezi River and the frequent low-intensity earthquakes in the region reveal that the underlying geology is tectonically unstable. The flow of the Savuti Channel must be governed by an imperceptible flexing of the surface crust. The minimum change required to open or close the channel would be at least 9m, and there’s evidence that this has happened at least five times in the past 100 years.
Savute Safari Lodge, Botswana