Stretching from the waterways of the Linyanti all the way to Savute Marsh, the winding waterways of Savute Channel have pumped life into the western section of Chobe National Park for many thousands of generations. But this fickle and unpredictable channel has a fascinating history of flooding and drying up independently of good rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere – a mystery that has intrigued geologists and other researchers for many years.

When David Livingstone discovered the Savute Channel in 1851 it was flowing. Thirty years later the channel had disappeared and the Savute Marsh had dried out, remaining this way for almost 80 years. It flowed again in the late 1950s, continuing until the early 1980s when it again receded, gaining the channel its reputation as ‘the river which 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. No-one knows how long the water will remain…