Savuti has an almost desert-like landscape and the one of the most beautiful features is the stunning dead trees which is evidence of the erratic flow of the Savuti Channel and low rainfalls.
The channel was dry when we were there, which was very sad as I could remember when I was much younger, actually swimming in it, now the only water the animals had, was from artificial water holes dotted around.
The waterholes were always busy, it didn’t matter what time you went. We had excellent sightings of both elephant and buffalo at them.
On one occasion we even watched as two bulls confronted each other for battle, over one hole. Lucky enough one of them backed down, the one which looked muddy and had obviously already drunk.
One afternoon we headed out to Harvey’s Pan as we heard that this was a good place to see lion. When we arrived there, a filming vehicle was parked just off from the pan. They pointed in the direction of a big bush.
We looked hard and close at the bush and could just make out lions.
We had sat there for some time when a small breeding herd of elephants walked right passed the bush, they didn’t seem to notice the lions at all. After an hour or so, a bull elephant entered the scene, he walked straight up to the bush to feed off it. One lioness got such a fright and ran away. The elephant got a fright and he was gone too.
This woke the lions up and all our waiting was well rewarded as they all came out.
The following morning we were also fortunate enough to see lion. Even though it was far, we watched as a lioness protected a buffalo carcass from a persistent jackal. It was getting hot and she probably just wanted to get to the shade and sleep, but had this annoying jackal keeping her in the hot sun.
In the heat of the day, yes it was hot, our hottest being 51.9 C, we stayed in the shade offered by a large camel thorn tree in our campsite. We kept ourselves cool with spray bottles and Jan had rigged up a hose pipe with a sprayer to the camp tap. So we could take impromptu showers.
We were well entertained by all the visitors to camp. A band of dwarf mongooses were fun to watch, as they dug in everything and even jumped into Kim and Jan’s caravan and our car. After scuffling around they would just collapse in a shady spot. Tree Squirrels also raced all over and one found an apple quite a challenge, not only to eat, but to defend.
Then there were the birds and as at most camps we got the starlings and yellow-billed and red billed hornbills, but then I noticed something strange – one looked like it had an orange bill. No it was not a cross breed, nor do you get an orange-billed hornbill.
I quickly looked it up and it was a Bradfield’s Hornbill. A first for us, I didn’t even know it existed.
Probably the highlight was a Yellow-billed Kite that flew in and scooped some food that somebody had accidently dropped.
Every night we had hyena in camp, looking everywhere for food, knocking over pots and trying to pull rubbish from the well fortified dustbin.
One evening just after dark we had elephant just skirting our camp as well.
For me Savuti had been such an amazing place and felt totally privileged to have been there. I just felt that the 3 nights, that we had been there, was far to short and I hope to return for a longer stay.
But for now it was onward to the Chobe River, a drive quoted as 150 Km of soft and highly corrugated sandy roads – a day I was not looking forward too.