Savute Safari Lodge is situated in the Chobe National Park in Botswana.
Savute Safari Lodge: Our full report
Perched on the banks of the Savuti Channel Savute Safari Lodge offers a great location from which to explore the nearby Savuti Marshes. The whole camp enjoys great views over the water which attracts vast numbers of elephant to drink in the afternoons and evenings. Savute Safari Lodge has a down-to-Earth feel about it and attracts an eclectic mix of guests who enjoy great hospitality, friendly staff and some great guiding all in a top game-viewing region.
Accommodation at Savute Safari Lodge consists of 12 thatched chalets all raised up on stilts providing great views of the animals coming down to drink in front of camp. Each chalet is large, and organised linearly along the tree line on the banks of the channel. At the front of each is a shaded private deck with a couple of chairs, perfect for escaping the heat of the day with a good book while keeping an eye on the water’s edge for any unexpected visitors that might come down for a drink.
Inside there’s a large twin bed with a mosquito net. There are a couple of comfortable chairs around a coffee table to the side providing a cool spot to relax in, perhaps while utilising the breeze of the freestanding fan. There’s ample storage space for clothes and luggage provided by a wardrobe at the back of the chalet. Next to this is a vanity unit and desk, perfect for penning a few postcards home. On a small table to the side there’s a coffee and tea-making station.
The en-suite bathroom is reached through a doorway to the side of the main bedroom. Completely tiled this is where his and hers washbasins are found beneath a large mirror. Complimentary toiletries are provided and there’s an open, walk-in shower. The common theme throughout the whole of Savute Safari Lodge is the glass sliding doors and the chalets are no exception. Both the bathroom and the bedroom take advantage of the panoramic views through doors which can be slid closed in the chillier winter months or kept open to allow a breeze to pass through the tent when it’s warm. There’s a separate gauze slide-door, which keeps the insects out.
Located in the main area there’s a library, a lounge area and the bar which all provide great locations in which to relax during the day or discuss sightings in the evening over a few drinks and some nibbles. When it gets hot (and it gets really hot in Savuti around September-October) there’s also a very welcoming swimming pool with a number of deck chairs dotted around the water’s edge. A short way down the banks of the channel from the main area is one of Savute Safari Lodge’s most entertaining features – an al fresco dining area at eye-level with the elephants which come down in the evenings to drink from the Channel. On our last visit to Savute Safari Lodge in October 2012 we found it a quite remarkable experience to be able to sit under the stars, enjoying some great food and a glass of wine while only 20-or-so meters away hundreds of elephants jostled for space along the water’s edge, all lit against a back drop of a far-off lightning storm. Truly Memorable.
When the weather cools or the rains arrive and meals on the viewing deck aren’t possible then brunch and dinner are taken in the dining area adjacent to the lounge and bar. For after-dinner entertainment there’s a fire pit which is kept stoked until the last guests decides to retire for the evening.
Activities at Savute Safari Lodge revolve exclusively around 4WD game drives in open vehicles, for the most part on and around the Savuti Marsh and along the Savuti Channel. There’s also the chance to visit the ancient San rock paintings at Gubatsa Hills. (Note that night drives, walking and driving off-road are not allowed in Chobe National Park). On our last visit to Savute Safari Lodge in October 2012 we found that although there were lots of elephants around camp the general game between camp and the marsh itself (probably about a 20-minute drive) was quite sparse. However, this was only a minor issue because the game viewing on arrival at the Savuti Marsh was spectacular. We saw numerous leopard, a large lion pride, a pack of wild dog, many elephant, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and other plains game as well as pelicans and flamingos in a three day stay in the Savuti area.
Savute Safari Lodge benefits from a great location above the Savuti Channel with fantastic views over the game, which comes down to drink at the water’s edge. It’s comfortable without being luxurious and in our opinion puts the right amount of emphasis on the quality of the safari-experience (i.e. the guiding and the activities) and the quality of the accommodation and hospitality, which are both very good indeed. The Savuti Channel and the marshes that it drains into are special places and the game viewing here is exceptional. Game viewing is inside the National Park and so this can be a little less exclusive than in the private reserves but on our last visit we were impressed with the guide’s knowledge of the area and how they managed to avoid the ‘crowds’.
Ideal length of stay: A stay of 2-3 nights would be typical, in combination with some of the other safari camps in northern Botswana.
Directions: Savute Safari Lodge is normally reached by a short light-aircraft flight from either Maun or Kasane – or one of the other safari camps in northern Botswana.
Owner: Desert and Delta Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On our last visit to Savute Safari Lodge the food was of a very high quality. Breakfast was a cooked affair with a selection of the usual eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato, mushroom and hash browns as well as the continental selection of cereals and fruit salad.
For afternoon tea there was a savory and a sweet selection – chicken satay wraps and a strawberry cheesecake.
Dinner was very nice without being spectacularly imaginative. A starter of pumpkin soup with fresh bread was followed by a main course of roast chicken with lots of vegetables and a very tasty tomato salsa. Dessert was crème brûlée with custard.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Bottled water, soft drinks, local beers and spirits and a limited selection of (usually) South African red and white wines are included. Champagne and imported wines and spirits will cost extra and may need to be requested in advance.
Attitude towards children: No Children under 6. Families with children aged 6-11 will be required to book private activities at an additional cost. Children aged 12-15 must share accommodation with a parent.
Property’s age restrictions: No Children under 6.
Special activities & services: None
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There are no telephone, fax, email or internet facilities at Savute Safari Lodge. There is also no cell phone coverage. However, Lodge Managers are in constant two-way radio contact with the Maun Operations Office through whom important messages can be relayed.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There are trained first-aiders on site and for serious incidents there’s a medical air-evacuation system in place.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are escorted to and from their rooms after dark as dangerous wildlife is known to wander through the camp. A thorough safety briefing is given on arrival. A ‘fog-horn’ in each tent is available to summon help in case of a medical emergency.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers around camp and fire assembly points are identified to guests on induction to the camp when they first arrive.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Included
Money: There are no currency exchange facilities at the lodge. Rand, Pula, US Dollars and Sterling are all accepted.
Accepted payment on location: MasterCard and Visa credit cards are accepted; Diners and Amex are not. Cash in the form of South African rand, GB sterling, US dollars, euros and Botswana pula is accepted.