Elephant come right into camp at Savute Safari Lodge.

Savute Safari Lodge | Chobe National Park Luxury Botswana Safari Lodge

In the west of Chobe National Park, the Savute Channel or ‘Stolen River’ floods and dries up on its own mysterious schedule. Set on its banks, Savute Safari Lodge overlooks migrating zebra, elephant and other game quenching their thirst during dry season – providing superb wildlife sightings in an intimate setting.

The place

As our small plane flies over the Savute Channel, we gaze out the windows, tracing its meandering route into the Savute Marsh. We soon spot Savute Safari Lodge on its banks, a traditional thatch and timber lodge that blends into the arid landscape, particularly dry at this time of year. Botswana’s many large pans, normally a reliable source of water, have dried up, forcing wildlife to the channel.After a safe landing, we bounce along dusty roads with our guide, who tells us more about this fickle river, which stretches along the waterways of the Linyati River to the Savute Marsh. Although it has pumped life into the western section of Chobe National Park for generations, we learn that it has a fascinating history of flooding and drying up, independently of good rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere.As we approach our luxury Botswanan safari lodge, with its sparkling pool and two waterholes, it seems like an oasis. No wonder large herds of elephant make Savute their home during dry season – even wandering through camp!

As our small plane flies over the Savute Channel, we gaze out the windows, tracing its meandering route into the Savute Marsh. We soon spot Savute Safari Lodge on its banks, a traditional thatch and timber lodge that blends into the arid landscape, particularly dry at this time of year. Botswana’s many large pans, normally a reliable source of water, have dried up, forcing wildlife to the channel.

After a safe landing, we bounce along dusty roads with our guide, who tells us more about this fickle river, which stretches along the waterways of the Linyati River to the Savute Marsh. Although it has pumped life into the western section of Chobe National Park for generations, we learn that it has a fascinating history of flooding and drying up, independently of good rainy seasons and flood levels elsewhere.

As we approach our luxury Botswanan safari lodge, with its sparkling pool and two waterholes, it seems like an oasis. No wonder large herds of elephant make Savute their home during dry season – even wandering through camp!

The room

One of 12 thatched chalets on stilts, our room is built from local timber and glass, with a modern, contemporary feel like a hotel room with a safari twist. Decorated in earthy browns and whites, its interior is bright and airy, complementing the views outside. My partner opens the panoramic patio doors and walks out to an expansive private verandah, which lets in a pleasing gust of cool air.I seat myself on one of the armchairs and cast my eyes around, noting the vanity unit, desk and coffee- and tea-making station, somehow out of place in this setting of immense wilderness. The bed, draped in a walk-in mosquito net and cooled by a floor-standing fan, looks appealing after our journey, but my partner is calling me with increasing urgency to come outside.We look on in astonished silence as a herd of elephant wades through the reeds and across the deeper waters of the channel, watching with barely held breath as a baby makes it across, clinging to the matriarch’s tail.

One of 12 thatched chalets on stilts, our room is built from local timber and glass, with a modern, contemporary feel like a hotel room with a safari twist. Decorated in earthy browns and whites, its interior is bright and airy, complementing the views outside. My partner opens the panoramic patio doors and walks out to an expansive private verandah, which lets in a pleasing gust of cool air.

I seat myself on one of the armchairs and cast my eyes around, noting the vanity unit, desk and coffee- and tea-making station, somehow out of place in this setting of immense wilderness. The bed, draped in a walk-in mosquito net and cooled by a floor-standing fan, looks appealing after our journey, but my partner is calling me with increasing urgency to come outside.

We look on in astonished silence as a herd of elephant wades through the reeds and across the deeper waters of the channel, watching with barely held breath as a baby makes it across, clinging to the matriarch’s tail.

What sets it apart

Renowned for its population of bull elephant, the large summer zebra migration and the many predators that accompany them, the Savute Channel is the perfect location for Savute Safari Lodge to set up camp!It’s virtually impossible to come here and not see elephant eat, drink and play and the lodge takes full advantage of this with an eye-level viewing deck over the waterhole, where we enjoyed scrumptious brunches and candle-lit dinners.The wide open scenery is in stark contrast to that of the Okavango Delta, more open and vastly more arid. A day excursion to Gubatsaa Hills, a hilly outcrop in the normally flat Botswana, allowed us to see ancient rock art and photograph elephant passing this landmark backdrop. With its down-to-earth feel, chatty evenings by the fire and almost-guaranteed wildlife sightings, Savute Safari Lodge has been one of our favourite lodges, and we can’t return soon enough!

Renowned for its population of bull elephant, the large summer zebra migration and the many predators that accompany them, the Savute Channel is the perfect location for Savute Safari Lodge to set up camp!

It’s virtually impossible to come here and not see elephant eat, drink and play and the lodge takes full advantage of this with an eye-level viewing deck over the waterhole, where we enjoyed scrumptious brunches and candle-lit dinners.

The wide open scenery is in stark contrast to that of the Okavango Delta, more open and vastly more arid. A day excursion to Gubatsaa Hills, a hilly outcrop in the normally flat Botswana, allowed us to see ancient rock art and photograph elephant passing this landmark backdrop. With its down-to-earth feel, chatty evenings by the fire and almost-guaranteed wildlife sightings, Savute Safari Lodge has been one of our favourite lodges, and we can’t return soon enough!

At a glance

  • Exclusive safari lodge with 12 luxury chalets on raised, private decks (11 twins and one family suite) and a swimming pool and curio shop.
  • Private location in Chobe National Park, superb river frontage, on the zebra migration and individual dining.
  • Game drives, swimming, waterhole, San rock-art excursions and zebra migration sightings (in season).
  • Children welcome from age six. The lodge provides one two-bedroom family suite and offers tailored family packages. Certain activities are age-restricted and must be booked privately at an additional cost.

  • Exclusive safari lodge with 12 luxury chalets on raised, private decks (11 twins and one family suite) and a swimming pool and curio shop.
  • Private location in Chobe National Park, superb river frontage, on the zebra migration and individual dining.
  • Game drives, swimming, waterhole, San rock-art excursions and zebra migration sightings (in season).
  • Children welcome from age six. The lodge provides one two-bedroom family suite and offers tailored family packages. Certain activities are age-restricted and must be booked privately at an additional cost.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is peak safari season – and, from end July, peak flood season. The in-creeping waters, which fall as rain in Angola in the previous summer – bring new life to northern Botswana. Confusingly, you’ll see much more water in this cooler, drier season. Fresh early mornings and evenings pair with warm days for a pleasant winter climate, and the encroaching waters reduce the land available, concentrating the wildlife. Animals are also easier to spot, as the vegetation recedes due to lack of rain. Water-based activities complement the more conventional game drives and guided walks, especially when the water depth peaks.

Botswana’s summer or green season is traditionally quieter, meaning you’re even more likely to have pristine swathes of wilderness to yourself. As the heat builds up, so too do the clouds, resulting in short but sharp afternoon electric storms. The bush bursts into life almost overnight: plants grow rapidly, many baby animals are born (and many are taken by predators) and migratory birds arrive en masse. As the flood recedes, floodplains become accessible again, expanding the reach of game drives. It’s a busy time for the wildlife, and a beautiful time to visit.

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