Savute Marsh (Western Chobe)Another popular destination in Chobe National Park is Savute, also called Savuti, which is an approximate midpoint between Kasane and Maun and classed as the western region of Chobe National Park. The Savute Marsh is fed by the Savute Channel and attracts a large number of wildlife at certain times of the year, with some of the Zebra and Wildebeest migration passing through around April-May (this varies according to the rains). When heading to Savute you can expect to see open grasslands and savannah surrounded by large amounts of dead trees, that drowned in flood-waters many years ago.
The Savute Channel mysteriously dries out for longer periods of time, and was once the reason for some of the wildlife to leave this area, including most aquatic life. There are now 3 permanent waterholes, which has attracted permanent residents including lion, spotted hyena and the endangered wild dog. This takes me back to my first visit to Savute, where I was the lucky enough to witness a pack of wild dog, unsuccessfully attacking a lone elephant a short distance from our room at Savute Safari Lodge. Nature at it's best!
The channel last dried out in 1982 and has been receiving water again for the first time in 2009.
Things to do in Savute (Western Chobe):
Savuti is restricted to game drives, which is the main activity offered by the different accommodations. Alternatively you can self-drive in the area, considering you have 4x4 driving experience, since the area is covered with deep Kalahari sand. If you are self-driving, do ensure you have a detailed map with you and ideally a GPS, as the network of small roads can quickly turn to confusion. Satellite phone and extra fuel canisters are essentials.
How to get to Savute (Western Chobe):
The easiest way to get here is on a fly-in safari landing at the Savuti airstrip, where your accommodation will collect you. If you are planning to self-drive, you should consider your driving skills before making such a decision. Savuti is only accessible by 4x4 and the region is covered in deep Kalahari sand, which requires 4x4 driving experience. The distance from Kasane is around 175km and considering that you may be driving not much faster than 40km/h on some of the stretches, you should expect the journey to take a good 4-5 hours. The road from Savute to Maun is around 204km with a similar driving time.
Where to stay in Savute (Western Chobe):
The Savuti area has a limited amount of accommodation, offering space at only one campsite and a handful of lodges and therefore books out relatively quickly. Although I haven't seen it since its last renovation, Savuti Safari Lodge remains one of my favourite places to stay in this region.
Click on the blue link for a full list of accommodation.