Botswana 2022/23: Savuti Paradise

The Savuti is a region within the heart of the Chobe National Park that is secretly located away from the peak season crowds at the Chobe riverfront. It is the remote homeground of Camp Savuti, positioned on the banks of the dry Savuti Channel and close to the famous Savuti Marsh. The Savuti lions switched to preying on elephants during the late dry season (August-November) between 1985–2005. A pride of 30 lions killed one elephant every three days! It is still wild but the ablutions are now like a prison preventing the elephants from using their trunks to drink from the showers while you are under it as they did in recent times!

🙂 Savuti lions! Cheetahs!

🙁 Busier and more built up than expected.

Monday 2 January 2023 – Savuti Paradise Camp 35C

We left Magotho on a bit of a high after spending time with the young sub adult male lion. We followed our garmin and headed onto the Chobe Cutline which looked like the most direct route to Savuti. We spotted this little chap!

A little further on and we found this road block – we were a little nervous to pass but he gave way gracefully!

All was going well …until….! Caitlyn was a little tooo relaxed when driving and we got stuck! LOL

After a bit of digging, it was time for a winch! Great Success!

We continued on our journey … it really was the road less travelled!

It wasn’t long before we were in yet more very deep sand but this time with a steep hill to ascend – we could see many attempts had been made before us! We thus opted for the road very much less travelled – ie. trees in the middle of it and managed to get through!

Finally we passed some elephant bones and were at the Entrance Gate to Savuti – a long awaited bucket list!

We were assigned Savuti Paradise and this is absolutely the BEST site in camp as it is at the end with a view over the river bed where ellies traverse throughout the day. The low numbers (1,2 etc) are in midst of the camp and least favourable. We were starving so cooked up a storm!

We hadn’t really noticed the time and headed off for a game drive, only to be told that the gates were closing in 10mins! So back to camp we headed! At Magotho we were not bound by gate times so it was a shock! It was actually a welcome respite and we sat by the fire listening to the elephants rumble as they wandered past us – magical…

The next morning we were up at 04h45 – we checked the web cam and can confirm that we had visitors in the guise of a genet, honeybadger, jackal, and mouse … I had woken up and heard the honey badger snuffling! Here is the evidence!

We headed off with eager anticipation of what the morning drive would yield. It was dry and we were able to drive on the river bed where we found fresh leopard tracks … the leopard however remained elusive! We made our way to the Rock Paintings and climbed up the cliffs feeling slightly apprehensive given the leopard tracks! Ollie was the first to spot the paintings. The artwork is found on the rocky outcrop on the south east facing cliffs overlooking the Savuti channel. The paintings are not carbon dated but are estimated to be 3000-4000 years old. They depict various animals including elephant, sable, giraffe, puffadder and eland. There are 22 known sites in the area. A mixture of plant juices, and animal fat coloured with the rusty oxide from the rocks were used. Amazing…

Stunning views ….We drove on and admired the old baobabs nearby.

We drove on and another vehicle stopped and told us that they had spotted lions the day before … we drove on and startled an old dagga boy who disappeared into a thicket not to be seen again. We loved driving with the bee eaters using our vehicle to catch insects as they flew off from the disturbance caused by the vehicle’s tyres – amazing!

The next safari vehicle told us they were following cheetahs! we joined them and found two males who were definitely interested in the young wildebeest – better pics to follow from our cameras but this is iphone….as well as some pretty wildflowers!

We spent about 30mins with them but they had lost interest and were resting so we decided to go for a little drive… the loop was further than we expected and we were just saying ‘this looks like a lion is going to pop out at any time’…and then two did!! We were elated! Maybe not the elephant hunting lions that I have read so much about, but never the less – two massive lionesses…so happy!

We spotted ostriches who provided great entertainment as they literally ran inn circles!!

An interesting observation was that the bee eaters also sit on the bak of the kori busteds so that they scavenge the insects which are disturbed by these big birds – amazing to see.

We headed back for a last look at the cheetahs which were still flat cats and decided to head back to camp for breakfast. We got back at 09h45 and the next person to move into our campsite was parked up and standing at our braai smoking…!! We had not made breakfast yet and were only supposed to vacate at 11h00…grrr … We packed up by 10h00 and stopped at the tuck shop… and then drove to the office and asked where we could make breakfast and the lady said we should just have told them to leave… anyway, we made breakfast at no. 9. The local scavengers picked all the remains!

All in all a great stay at Savuti!!

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