Botswana’s Savute is a truly remarkable Africa safari destination and the recently re-opened Belmond Savute Elephant Camp is quite gorgeous. A visit to this area highlights Savute’s natural beauty, its history (some of the great explorers visited Savute), prolific game and abundant birdlife.
Located on the bank of the Savute Channel in the southern part of Chobe National Park, the region is dry and harsh with an almost desert like landscape characterized by the Gubatsa Hills, a small hilly outcrop which forms a prominent landmark in the otherwise flat landscape, open savannah and extensive grasslands. The dominant feature is the Savute Marsh, a relic of a large inland lake that is fed by the erratic Savute Channel which has wound its way from the Linyanti River. Currently dry, the Savute Channel has a history of flooding and drying up independently of good rainy seasons and Okavango Delta flood levels.
The lodge boasts 12 luxurious tented rooms under thatch, each with a view of the Savute Channel and/or water hole (tent 7 has the best view). With an undoubted wow factor, the contemporary interiors have been designed with detail and comfort in mind. The bedrooms are furnished with a four poster bed, mosquito net, sofa, chair, writing desk and well positioned plug points. Well laid out bathrooms have a double vanity, huge indoor shower, outdoor shower, separate w.c, plenty of hanging space, yoga mat, digital safe and hairdryer. Encouraging relaxation, the private decks are furnished with a daybed as well as two comfortable armchairs, tables and a fully stocked cocktail mini bar fridge.
The main areas are designed to blend seamlessly into the landscape with open fronted public areas and stylish and beautiful designs. The fresh modern look incorporates soft woods, natural materials, canvas, eye catching furnishings and an earthy palette of sand, beige, grey and cream that perfectly complements the untamed natural surroundings. The lounge has a bar to one end, a seating area where daily high tea is served, lots of comfortable sofas and chairs and a small separate TV lounge with DSTV. Overlooking the water hole and channel is a raised dining room with steps that lead down to the heated swimming pool deck. Under the pool deck is a viewing hide which offers a birds eye view of game at the water hole below. Last but not least is the fire pit, traditional boma and attractive tented spa.
Activities: morning and afternoon game drives which may incorporate a trip to the 9 km long Savute Marsh and a visit to the Gubatsa Hills to view ancient San rock art sites. Between Nov-Feb bright sunshine and golden light is the stuff photographers dream of. One of the senior guides, Mighty, who appeared in the No 1 Lady Detective Agency series has been guiding in Savute for 25 years.
Game Viewing: after the first rains towards the end of November thousands of zebra migrate from the Linyanti and Chobe river fronts in the north through Savute to the ripe grasslands of the Mababe Depression in the south. In February they start their trek northwards. As with any migration predators follow closely behind in the hope of a quick meal. During the dry season months of June to October when the pans are dry the animals, especially elephant congregate around a handful of artificial waterholes. Raptors are present year round but are especially good in the rainy season which heralds the arrival of many species of water birds.