Reviews of Savuti Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Savuti Camp review
Savuti was the fourth and last stop on my 11 day safari in Botswana and I thought it would be impossible to have it top the other lodges. But it did. It was overall, the best place I stayed, mainly because of the game viewing, which is at the end of the day, what we are there for!
The lodge was absolutely beautiful, the "tents" were gorgeous, right on the channel (only outdoor showers are missing and I don't really need one), the service was spectacular - my eating safari just continued with 4 meals per day with massive amounts of delicious food. But lilke I said the highlight was the game drives. Because Savuti is part of a 3 camp "team" in the Linyati reserve (the others being Duma Tau and King's Pool), the guides can communicate with each other when game is spotted. But they have a rule of no more than 3 vehicles at a sighting, so you get a great balance of loads of viewings, but still an intimate setting. We had an amazing leopard-in-a-tree veiwing as the sun set on the branch, two other separate leopards and also found a pack of 18 wild dogs devouring an impala. Again, through pure chance, I had a day and a half of private game drives, with just me and my guide Onx in the vehicle!
The camp also organized a dinner in their gorgeous Boma for us, complete with traditional song and dance show that the staff took part in with great skill and energy. What an unexpected treat! All in all, Savuti was just incredible. If this is a "classic" camp, I can't even imagine what a "premiere" camp involves.
Different - and better than ever
We had stayed twice before at Savuti when the channel was dry. so it was with interest and a little trepidation that we returned, wondering if it would live up to our prevous wonderful experiences. Happily, it far exceeded them. The camp has been refurbished, with the tents now covered by thached structures (no more baboons bouncing up and down on the tent) and now looks down upon a flowing river. We were warmly welcomed, our previous visits having been noted, and began what has to be our best experience ever.
The area around Savuti abounded with wildlife - elephants, large herds of giraffe, hippos unexpectedly wandering around the bush, leopards and wiid dogs. We also saw lion, cheetah and two antelope that had not been seen the area for four years - eland and roan.
Highlights of the camp included an unexepected and magical dinner in bush one evening, lunch in the bush on an all-day trip; the birthday party - complete with cake - laid on for my husand and another guest; and our final dinner in camp, set in a private area by the pool, decorated with lanterns and tealights. The food at Savuti is the best we have ever had - and that is exceeding a very high standard.
Abbie and the team have created a very special place and atmosphere and we cannot wait to return to Savuti.
Savuti was probably a mistake for us
The camp itself is beautiful and the mixed male/female local staff make it a home from home. The guides also work like slaves to make your stay enjoyable. However as our main aim of going to Botswana was to view and photograph a similar wealth of animals that we had seen in an earlier trip in Chobe, the game drives were disappointing.
We did see animals including the big cats but the terrain is very boring as it never seems to change very much with lots of stunted trees (thanks to the elephants) and underfrowth. We were hoping for more scenery and greater numbers of animals.
Full marks to Ace our guide who lived up to his name.
Expert Africa comments
We are pleased that these travellers enjoyed Savuti, although sorry that they found the game drives and terrain not what they expected.
The team at Savuti Camp comment to us that that most of their drives concentrate up and down the channel, which is picturesque with diverse flora and fauna. However, to access the eastern part of their concession, a band of thick mopane woodland needs to be traversed. This can be boring, but it needs to be driven through in order to reach the game viewing areas to the east.
To put the game-viewing in perspective, we were very pleased to learn that during their drives from Savuti, these travellers saw lion, elephant, buffalo, as well as cheetah... and of course general game.
Savuti Camp review
As with the other camps, our holiday was more than a safari because ALL the staff made us so welcome and though only there just three days, we felt tha we were leaving friends behind when we had to go.Read more about the whole safari
Savuti- A Preview of Paradise?
After many visits to the Okavango with Expert Africa this was our first visit to the Kwando/Linyanti area. We chose Savuti as it met our usual requirements of small, Wilderness Safaris Classic. The publicity photos do it little justice as most are taken of the camp looking in whereas the major impact on arrival is from the camp looking out. The site is simply stunning now that the Savute Channel is flowing again.
We were warned that the changed environment and expanse of mopane forest somewhat limits the game viewing but that overlooked the skills of our guide Ace. He worked tirelessly to seek out all that there was and provided us with great sightings of big game, small game, birds and insects galore.
Our room was huge and, perched on the edge of the channel, had a view to die for. The staff are a delight and the management, courtesy of Abbie and Small Ben served up a continual stream of surprise dinners and lunches. The traditional evening in the boma was an absolute triumph of fantastic song and dance. We were extremely lucky in that our guide was an 'extra' while we were there so we effectively had a private vehicle for the full 4 days. This was the Wilderness Classic experience in spades and reinforced our view that their formula is spot on as a balanced safari holiday experience. They 'know how to do it'.
Two areas slightly worried us. The first was a curious absence of management at dinner. In most other Wilderness camps it is normal for at least one of the managers to dine with the guests but I do not think that either Abbie or Ben dined with us on any of our 4 nights. Had they joined us our second gripe might have been avoided? This was a depressing repeat of the tough, almost uncuttable meat we experienced with Wilderness last year. As we report later and as we know from previous experience with Wilderness, this need not happen. Someone in the Wilderness chain of command really must address this issue and soon. We hope that our fellow guests, who also experienced this, make the effort to complain. I certainly did on my camp questionnaire before we left.
However, none of these criticisms should put others off Savuti. It is a gem and the staff really make it work. Given decent meat it would be right up there with the very best.
Expert Africa comments
While these travellers had a great stay at Savuti, they found the meat tough and difficult to cut. We contacted the camp who were very sorry to hear this, especially as they told Expert Africa that they tenderise the steaks before grilling them. However, they discovered that they did forget to set the table with steak knives. They assured Expert Africa that their meat supplier has been contacted and they will be keeping an eye on the meat supply to ensure that the cuts are of high grade.
Elephants everywhere at Savuti
Again a long way to the furthest room - with no indication of this in brochures. Our room was pleasant and spacious, right on the channel, with elephants in front and crossing at all times of day.
A lot of wildlife, including a cheetah, wild dogs hunting and killing eland, and ground hornbills.
The boat ride was a bit nerve-racking - very close to a herd of elephants crossing the channel with a big, rampant, bull in charge, but followed by a good sundowner with a pod of hippos.
Very enjoyable last couple of drives with private vehicle and guide Ace.
Very nice souvenir shop.
Savuti Camp review
Beautiful camp. Excellent staff.
Carlton was our guide and he was amazing. He is truly passionate about wildlife and will go the extra mile to get the best picture and make sure you get the most out of your time. We were very lucky to see many leopards at this camp. We saw 4 in one day!
We were also lucky enough to see a wild dog on a kill. It was interesting to contrast the different behaviors of the wild dog pack here and the pack at Lagoon.
Another excellent camp, with a beautiful position overlooking the Savuti Channel. Staff and facilities were top class, and guiding and wildlife viewing brilliant. We saw a wide range of animals, including leopard, buffalo and wild dog.
Mornings were very cold, but we were well provided for with hot water bottles and ponchos
First class safari experience
Excellent high end camp
The nicest accommodations of the 4 stops during my trip. Very nice rooms including electricity in the rooms and a great view of the Savuti Channel from each room. I could see elephants across the channel regularly. Had one elephant stop by to have lunch next to my front porch (within 5-10 feet) one afternoon. Went on a nice late afternoon boat trip and got to check out some hippos. Click here if you are interested in viewing a quick tour of my room.
The staff was great and very friendly. I spent 3 nights at each of my camps except this one. I was only at Savuti for 2 nights, but wished I could had stayed one more. I don't feel I gave it enough time to do it justice. Still, I got to see many lions, hippos, zebra, wild dogs, giraffe and LOTS of elephants! I got to see lions feeding on a small dead elephant. That was quite interesting. One afternoon, a herd of elephants wandered into camp and I was able to get quite close to them for some great pictures. The elephants were pretty mellow in this area as long as you kept a reasonable distance from them (10-20 feet).
My one small complaint about Savuti was that they did not use a tracker on game drives as all my other camps did. Now, our guide seemed to be very good at spotting game and even small animals while driving, but I have to think we might have missed some things that we wouldn't have missed had they used a tracker. I don't know if this is the norm though. Maybe they were just understaffed when I was there.
One of the highlights of Savuti was a walking safari. It was about a 3 mile hike for 1.5 hours. Our guide, Silas, was very knowledgeable. We heard lions roaring for much of our walk. He said it was nothing to worry about until at one point, he stopped, told us to get behind a fallen tree and sure enough a lion wandered by about 3 minutes later. Luckily, it was far enough away that it paid us no attention.
All in all, a very good experience. If you prefer nicer accommodations, this is an especially good choice. Click here for pictures and short videos of my trip (from 4 different camps). I hope this review is helpful for you.
Expert Africa comments
Just for information: neither the team at Savuti Camp, nor its sister-camps in the Wilderness group, have used of trackers in Botswana for over 10 years and they have no plans to reinstate them.
A Great Introduction to Safari Life
Our first camp experience was a very positive introduction to the safari experience. We cannot say enough about our guide, Goodman, who operated very expertly without a tracker and took time to explain both the flora and fauna patiently. He took very good care of us in every aspect and we used him as our basis for judging later guides.
The management team of Beatrice and Aaron worked well together and the whole operation ran very smoothly. The camp had a slightly more formal atmosphere than subsequent camps which might be attributable to the fact that the management team was temporary.