Savuti Region

Savuti Wildlife

An Incredible Sight

A well-watered oasis in a vast swathe of impenetrable woodland, Savuti has long been a sanctuary for wildlife and a must-see destination for safari travellers looking for extra-large game viewing. It is especially good for close-up encounters with elephants and lions, animals remarkably tolerant of our presence, as well as excellent sightings of plains game such as impala, giraffe and buffalo. Great for wildlife all year round but exceptionally rewarding in the well-watered Green Season, Savuti is a predator paradise and also home to a dazzling zebra migration in summer. It remains famous for its ‘anything can happen’ game drives – sightings of Kalahari wanderers like gemsbok or eland or perhaps an African wild cat, striped weasel or porcupine. Wildlife viewing in Savuti takes the form of morning and afternoon game drives; lodges set in the more watered area to the north of the region offer drives into Savuti as well as boating activities.

SAVUTI LIONS & HYENAS

The subject of a seminal 1992 wildlife documentary, the eternal conflict between Savuti’s top two land predators still goes on today: prides of lions defending kills and territory from large, aggressive packs of spotted hyenas. The enmity is deep; they kill each other’s young on sight and – depending on numbers – chase their enemies from food and water sources. At night you can often hear the rivals fighting – deep-throated lion roars punctuated by the yelps and shrieks of hyenas. Large and fearless, Savuti’s male lions are especially magnificent and are usually at ease with being photographed from a 4X4; indeed, on hot days they are known for their habit of lying in the shade of a 4X4!

SAVUTI ELEPHANTS

Permanent water all year round, forests and lush grassland – no wonder Savuti has a reputation for elephant sightings. This is where you may see some of the biggest elephants in Botswana – huge bull elephants moving in bachelor herds or as single giants, lost in thought as they drift across the landscape. These male elephants are exceptionally habituated to our presence which allows for amazing close-up views and photography. The more cautious breeding herds generally arrive in the wetter summer months, led by a watchful matriarch and comprising female and young elephants ranging from teenagers to toddlers, complete with floppy trunks and squeaky trumpets.

SAVUTI ZEBRA MIGRATION

The November rains bring not just fresh gazing to the Savuti grasslands but large numbers of zebra too, moving down into Savuti from the remote Linyanti wetlands to the north. They are ultimately on their way further south to the Kalahari which is green and well-watered in summer but Savuti is a good staging post on the journey there and back. The zebras travel in small family herds, gathering in large numbers at waterholes and on the Savuti Marsh to feed. The air is filled with their strange whistling call and it isn’t long before they attract predators – lions and hyenas as well as cheetah and wild dog.

SAVUTI BIRDLIFE

Savuti’s mix of woodland, wetland and savannah means a diverse bird population. The most obvious are the large numbers of ostrich and kori bustards – one of the world’s heaviest fliers – stalking around on the Savuti grasslands and there are many raptors, especially large eagles and vultures. Bird watchers will appreciate the number of Kalahari species that make their way to Savuti but are not found – for example – on the Chobe River but for the best birding, go during the green summer season when migrants arrive. Highlights include flocks of carmine bee-eaters, wildfowl and waders at waterholes and the spectacle of hundreds of kestrels and other birds of prey feasting on summer termite swarms.

SAVUTI PREDATORS

Lions and hyenas make the headlines but Savuti’s grasslands are good hunting for cheetahs too, occasionally moving in for a day or two, as well as leopards, the more elusive residents of Savuti’s thickly-vegetated hills and riverbanks. Black-backed jackals are the most easily seen predator but Savuti has a reputation for the unusual ones as well: look out for side-striped jackal, bat-eared fox and African wild cat. It is also an area covered by several overlapping packs of African wild dogs, regularly seen coursing across the Savuti Marsh in pursuit of prey. Predators can be seen all year round in Savuti but December and January are especially rewarding; it is the birthing season and there are thousands of baby antelope around, greatly improving your chances of seeing a kill.

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What To Do

Savuti Activities to Look Forward to

1. Track Big Cats

Welcome to Predator Country: Savuti’s lions, made famous by their eternal battles with spotted hyenas, take centre stage but this region is famous for leopard & cheetah too.

2. Sit with Old Tuskers

Most often encountered near water, the giant bull elephants of Savuti are generally calm & tolerant of our presence, making for amazing up-close photography.

3. Watch the Migration

Travel in early or late summer & you’ll witness Botswana’s zebra migration. The stripy herds pass through on their way to remote grazing lands – Savuti’s big cats, hyenas & wild dogs are waiting for them.

4. View Rock Art

San Bushmen hunters left enigmatic paintings on the isolated Ghoha Hills that stand out on the flat Savuti savannah; local guides lead you to the best sites.

5. Go Bird Watching

An amazing birding destination in general & always great for raptors, it’s during the summer months that Savuti explodes with colour & noise as migrant species such as carmine bee-eaters arrive.

6. Expect the Unexpected

Home to some of Botswana’s most rewarding game viewing, Savuti is an ecological crossover zone with savannah & desert animals, many predators & a reputation for unusual & rare sightings.

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Reviews

A great tour operator that was a pleasure to deal with.

We used Safari Online to put together a mid-range Botswana trip for a group of four going to three different camps and then onto Vic Falls. We asked several operators to provide options (through this great safari bookings website) and Walter Kohrs from Safari Online was easily the most responsive and quickest to provide different but realistic options and at good prices. In the end it was a no brainer to go with Safari Online. Walter always responded to my queries quickly, with honest and valuable responses that were clear and made sense. From our perspective he tailored a good mix of places for both our budget and standard of facilities that suited us perfectly, with enough information and links to help us make our decisions. In the end each camp was different and had different aspects and strengths that made each unique. We loved it.

Shane
They kept us fully informed and updated throughout planning, travel, etc.

It was excellent all around. Everything worked out well. An experience of a lifetime! The game viewing rides were fun and very informative.

Karen
Excellent service and support for our Africa vacation

Working with Walter was a great experience. He listened to us and helped us build a vacation that exceeded all of our expectations. We really appreciated his professionalism and attention to detail.

Dan
Karina was absolutely instrumental to our safari success.

Our experience with Safari Online was excellent. After becoming very frustrated trying to search for a safari destination on our own, we turned to Karina for help and she was a lifesaver. She responded to our requests promptly and gave us several options with links to each option; we ultimately chose Lukimbi. She then coordinated our flights to and from the property, arranged the drivers necessary to get us from the airport to the lodge and back again, and sent the appropriate paperwork to each of us to verify each step of the process. We had an amazing safari adventure at the lodge–the experience of a lifetime–and are so grateful for her help. We literally couldn’t have done it without her!

Chris
Professional, patient, efficient and responsive. Met all our travel needs and requirements spot on

Communication was excellent – I asked A LOT of questions and did a ton of research myself and Walter was extremely patient with me and very responsive. he was straight forward and extremely professional.  Tour itself was excellent – an incredible experience and one never to be forgotten. Everything was spot on.

Neena
Perfect

We are six older but experienced travellers who usually do our own planning. Luck led us to Safari Online and Walter. His ideas proved spot on. Throughout our planning Safari Online have been helpful, always answering emailed questions, no matter how basic, straightaway. We’ve had probably our best ever holiday in years of travel, everything went smoothly. Pickups and transfers were on time. Staff in all the places we stayed were friendly and helpful. I can’t think of one adverse remark except maybe seeing a lion that wasn’t asleep, though I think if it could have been arranged Walter would have done so.

Jennifer
Above expectations

Excellent communications and service. We dealt with Sabrina and she is awesome. The safari tour was amazing, i can highly recommend going to Elephant Plains. Its a very special place run by awesome people.

Werner